Tuesday October 1 2013

A national language should be neutral and so far, Kiswahili is Uganda’s best option

By Jacob Ociti

Ms Betty Nambooze’s suggestions in the Sunday Monitor that Luganda should be a national language is not only misleading but a drawback.

For a language to be national, I believe it should be of neutral origin, like Kiswahili, otherwise each ethnic group would prefer their language to be the national language.

Buganda where Luganda is widely spoken is not even half of Uganda’s population. People from the entire northern region are not Luganda speakers.

The east has different languages though a few speak Luganda. Similarly, the west has understandably a co-related language with a few who may speak Luganda.

Beyond that, Luganda is not spoken in other East African countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi but Kiswahili is. People from all corners of Uganda are drawn to the central region in search of jobs as Uganda has no decentralised industries to stop this mass migration.

I welcome the proposal to teach Kiswahili in schools from primary to university level to enable Ugandans mix easily and do business with other East Africans, including DR Congo. Previous governments failed to look ahead or see the usefulness of Kiswahili as a regional language.

East Africa is blessed with a common language widely known and understood in most of the region so our government should promote Kiswahili in schools. Language is one of the most important unifying factors; that is why we need it to make the East African Community successful.

Jacob Ociti,