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KISWAHILI passport to sustainable development

Prof Malonga Pacifique, Writer and Independent Journalist (Photo/Panorama)

Considering that the promotion of Kiswahili as an African Cross border vehicular language for identify, regional integration and wider communication is an objective of African Union as expressed in the cultural charter for Africa (1976) the linguistic plan of action for Africa (1986) and the decade for education in Africa (1997-2006) and indeed well developed in the Dar-Es Salaam framework of action prepared by African Academy of Languages experts and academicians.

Aware of the role Kiswahili can play in the integration process as a factor of peace, Understanding and conflict prevention in Africa, provision of technical support for the formulation of Kiswahili and other languages policies in Rwanda and their implementation, particularly for Kiswahili having been adopted by the African Unions as its working language, it is necessary to invest in its promotion, development and use in Rwanda.  

The ministry having languages and culture in its attributions should conduct a reflection on all issues pertaining to African languages especially Kiswahili and Ikinyarwanda through the formulation and follow up of our Cross border vehicular African languages.   Exchange of views and information between Rwandans, relevant ministries, stakeholders pursuing similar objective need to be considered efficiently and effectively.

Dissemination and awareness campaigns and information on the benefit and advantages of using Kiswahili in Rwanda, the region and beyond should be given serious consideration by setting up a Kiswahili Council for its implementation, harmonization and facilitation of the exercise, especially to support the publication of books and other teaching materials and curricula development.  For the mission and plan to achieve the objective, the involvement of national experts with local experience is paramount.

A technical taskforce to set a national Kiswahili structure BARAZA LA KISWAHILI as it exists in other East African Community member states has to be envisaged.  Rwanda Government has to be represented in different Kiswahili regional, continental bodies such as KAKAMA it helped establish and play its active role and make use of the available resources and facilities, projects and programs.

For real integration and sustainable development in the East African Community, there is a need for a common identity and one passport. For any trade, business and cultural exchange to prosper in the region, the only way forward is Kiswahili as the cross border language and easy communication among East Africans.

In the north and south Kivu even beyond, the Democratic Republic of Congo bordering, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania Kiswahili is the daily language of business and day to day activities. 

For a land locked country with no access to the sea the need to open business outside Rwanda requires Kiswahili for easy communication in imports and exports of good not forgetting the sociocultural relationships among the neighbors.

 As the Rwandan saying goes “Ifuni ibagara ubucuti ni akarenge”, movements and visits among East Africans is more than necessary to create a sense of friendship and sustainable integration and identity, foster collaboration and easy communication.

Promoting Kiswahili as African Union working and cross border language in Rwanda is synonymous to strengthening cooperation and easier collaboration between Africans and more particularly our region that has the same history and same destiny. 

All educational sectors, harmonization of sociocultural development of our EAC member states as factors of integration, togetherness, mutual understanding peace and prevent conflicts.  Giving impetus to Kiswahili teaching materials, writing books and developing the Kiswahili in collaboration with all stakeholders and providing support and assistance to language researchers and national structures should be given serious consideration.

Indeed, the Government and other development institutions should allocate prizes and awards to organisations and persons contributing to the promotion of Kiswahili and Ikinyarwanda language as an act of patriotism and unity not only at national level but also regional and African level for wider communication and African identity.

That is when we shall talk of dignified regional integration &African Unity for economic and sociocultural sustainable development.

Indeed, together we can. PAMOJA TWAWEZA

As President Paul Kagame always says ” Sisi si migomba mifupi ” indeed, we can. Where there is a will there is a way.

Professor Pacifique Malonga,

Writer and Independent Journalist

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