Kampala- East African countries should revive the use of Kiswahili to ease communication and promote unity, former Tanzania president Ali Hassan Mwinyi has said.
Mr Mwinyi was speaking yesterday after taking part in the Rotary Cancer Run at Kololo Airstrip, where he was the chief runner.
“There was an East African language committee but unfortunately, this committee was born in Tanzania, fell sick in Kenya and was buried in Uganda,” he said.
The former Tanzania president said he was in Uganda to witness the re-birth of the language.
“I’m pleased to tell you that I’m in Uganda to witness the re-birth of Swahili and so the next time you invite me, I will address you in that language.”
Swahili is already an official language in Tanzania and Kenya where it is spoken by the majority of the population. In Rwanda and Burundi, it is widely spoken but some Ugandans claim Swahili was used by harsh colonial officials and government law enforcement agencies and criminals, hence their dislike of the language.
President Mwinyi, who arrived in Uganda last Friday, was in the company of his wife Siti Mwinyi who also took part in the run.
East African Legislative Assembly legislator Mike Sebalu, the chairperson of the run, said it had created awareness about cancer among the masses and expects the cancer ward at Nsambya hospital to be opened to the public in January.
A team from Monitor Publications Ltd led by the Executive Editor, Prof Malcolm Gibson, took part in the event, which attracted more than 20,000 runners, with the organisers announcing more than Shs300 million in collections.