Monday, 29 October 2012

Tanzanian Parliament to ratify Kiswahili protocol

The Tanzanian Parliament is scheduled to ratify a protocol on the establishment of the East African Kiswahili Commission on Thursday, a senior official said.

 Speaking on the phone on Saturday, Deputy Minister for Information Youth, Culture and Sports Amos Makalla said of the three East African countries which signed the protocol, only the Kenyan Parliament has ratified it. The Tanzanian and Ugandan parliaments are yet to pass the protocol for the establishment of the commission to be headquartered in Zanzibar. During a recent meeting with officials, Parliamentary Committee on Social Services Chairperson Margaret Sitta said for Tanzania, the sections that may need to be amended is the organizational structure of the commission.

Burundi and Rwanda have already placed their requests with the EAC secretariat to work for the promotion of Kiswahili as the region's lingua franca, but will have to wait until when the initial signatories of the protocol -- Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda ratify it, Makalla said. Kenya ratified the protocol way back in 2010, he said, adding that it is high time Tanzania also passed the protocol. The parliamentary committee met recently with high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports as well as other stakeholders to discuss the protocol.

Apart from developing the Kiswahili language, the commission is also expected to create jobs, commodities amongst Kiswahili speaking people in the East African region and beyond, the deputy minister said. "The commission will as well be tasked to ensure it develops the language as the leading medium of communication in East Africa, " he said. Kiswahili analysts said it is expected also that the commission will encourage teaching of the language at all levels of education besides fostering trade.In Tanzania, the process to prepare the protocol started in 2008 where stakeholders have been engaged in various stages to make it an inclusive organ.Once it kicks off, one of the sectors that are likely to benefit tremendously would be the audiovisual media, Kiswahili analysts said.Filmmakers in the East African region have been advocating for the use of Kiswahili and the translation of other regional films from their native languages to Kiswahili in order to tap the regional market potential. (Xinhua)

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