President Yoweri Museveni has urged Ugandans and the whole East African Community member states to embrace the use of the Swahili language as this will facilitate unity and regional trade.
“The community has since grown from the original 3 countries, we must take advantage of this regional market to grow and guarantee the prosperity of our people, our unity is the only insurance policy that we can reliably trust to secure the future of our citizens” Museveni noted.
Museveni made these remarks in a speech delivered by Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabanja at the commemoration of World Swahili Day in Kampala on Friday.
“In East Africa we not only have similarities and linkages, we above all have a neutral Swahili direct that is already spoken and has been of great value to us, this detribalized direct of Africa can also be easier learned and added to mother languages” Museveni further explained.
In this speech, Museveni also reechoed that the unity of East Africa and Africa as a whole is geared towards achieving prosperity, security, and fraternity and he advised that the Swahili language can easily aid in fostering this.
In 2022, the United Nations (UN) declared 7 th July as World Swahili language day making it the first African-originated language to be designated on the official languages of the UN.
In her remarks, the Minister of East African Community Affairs Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga thanked all the participants that honored the celebrations and she noted that Swahili being spoken at an official ceremony in Uganda has been a great landmark achievement.
Due to the huge turnup at the event, the Speaker emeritus also promised to urgently meet the inter-ministerial committee of the Ministry of Gender and that of Education to concretize the implementation plan of Swahili.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm, we need to build on this momentum to ensure that our Agenda moves forward” she highlighted.
In his speech delivered by Hon. Gerald Siranda the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) speaker Hon. Joseph Ntakirutimana called upon the community member states to include Swahili in their daily dealings as this will help the language to be made more dominant within the community.
“Let us for now develop Swahili as we strive to achieve good governance and building of peace in the region and for sustainable development” he noted.
The speaker also promised to spearhead the amendment of the East African treaty to fully integrate Swahili as the language of the community and he is optimistic that this will give the members of EALA the freedom to express themselves in the language they are most comfortable with.
In his remarks, the State Minister for Higher Education J.C Muyingo reassured their commitment as the Ministry to do everything possible to make Swahili the country’s first language.
At this function, Prof. Shan Omar from the University of Dar es Salaam announced that the University has offered Uganda and other poor Swahili-speaking nationals in the region scholarships to study Swahili in Tanzania and she called upon all community members to embrace this opportunity.
The 2023 edition in Uganda was organized under the theme “Kiswahili and Multilingualism; Achieving More Together.
The Prime Minister later handed off the EAC flag to the Rwanda delegation after they were announced as the host of the next celebrations.