EALA is to push for recognition of Kiswahili as one of the official languages of the Community, and has already passed a Resolution to urge the Summit of EAC to amend the Treaty for the establishment of the Community.
EALA also asked the Council of Ministers to allocate adequate resources to EAC Kiswahili Commission to effectively carry out its mandate.
The Resolution moved by Hon Abubakar Zein wants the Partner States to promote and allow the use of Kiswahili in official domains. The Resolution which received wide acclaim was seconded by Hon Shyrose Bhanji and Hon Abdullah Mwinyi.
According to the resolution, Kiswahili is the fastest spreading African language across the globe and the African Union has made it one of its official languages.
Hon Zein said embracing the Kiswahili language is also bound to increase the participation of the people of East Africa in the Affairs of the Community as well as promote African culture. Kiswahili is flexible and has its root in the bantu language which constitute more than 50 per cent of African population.
The regional legislators commended the Resolution saying its passage would enable the immediate negation of the perception that the Assembly is for the elitist population and instead embrace the principle of a people-centred Community.
Hon Dora Byamukama hailed the move as positive for the region. “The Assembly also needs to be practical to acknowledge that there are some Partner States such as Uganda have a large population that does not speak Kiswahili and in the Treaty there is a provision for development as a lingua franca”, she said.
On her part, Hon Dr Odette Nyiramilimo called for the establishment of a Kiswahili Learning Centre to enable staff, Members an all stakeholders involved in the integration process to fully comprehend the language.
Kiswahili is a Bantu language and the first language of the Swahili people. It is a lingua franca of the East African Community and the Great Lakes region.