LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCE.
A DUMP NATION.
Dear sir I greet you in the name of Allah. Happy independence day your Excellency. Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate you on the success of your Bazukulu who made us proud in different disciplines of talent, that is in world athletics and music around East Africa.
That was a nice gift for independence. Thanks for a generation very well immunized.
Your Excellency, the other week some rumor went around on social media that the government spokesman Mr Ofwono Opondo tweeted that Luganda had been banned to be taught in Schools and Swahili will be fixed as the 2nd national language. Mr Ofwono came out clearly to deny the rumor. Cursing whoever started it. I was also sorry for him because he suffered many unpleasant insults.
– However your Excellency, on the other side I loved the rumor. It provoked me to think of our nation and hence this letter.
The many years you have been the president of Uganda, as a pan African and a patriotic Ugandan, Mr President you have failed to direct Ugandans to choose a second language.
In East Africa,I think Uganda is the only country without a stable second official language. Let us assume that this guy called Uganda was born in 1962. Today 57 years later the guy is not steady in speaking. The Baganda call it “okujobojja”.
The two languages we claim to be our National Languages ie English and Swahili are foreign. Of all the many Languages we have in Uganda, we’ve failed to pick any. This is because of the tribal sentiments. For example a Muganda will not support Lunyankole or Luo, and likewise.
– Asian countries adopted their local languages to be their first. which has greatly aided their economic, social and political well being. Here in EA Tanzania and Kenya who adopted Swahiri long ago are moving on first. Rwanda who have adopted their local Kinyarwanda are far better. Recently I was privileged to attend a court session in Kigali. All the proceedings are carried on in Kinyarwanda without interpreters. They don’t pretend like here in Uganda where a Muganda judge, listening to a Muganda accused, and Baganda lawyers will need the services of an interpreter. Its in Uganda where we laugh at each other for speaking broken English and praise a white man for his poor Luganda, Lunyankole or Luo. Neocolonialism of the highest oder.
– Mr President for long you have advocated for Swahili to be our second language after English. But believe me or not it has failed. In Uganda especially in the central Swahili is believed to be a language of torture, for robbers and thieves. For us who remember the road blocks of the 70s and 80s, Swahiri chills our bodies. A Muganda, Munyankole or a Luo robber will threaten you to open the door, with that notorious Swahiri word “Funguwa”. An angry security officer will turn to Swahili to express his anger even if you are of the same tribe. Children playing with toy guns will shout some Swahili words to make their game real.
– I remember one day I was choosing an optional subject for my son(rip), and proposed Swahili for him as he was good at it. However my mother who was listening chipped in angrily crying that; “Eeeeee omwami wange lwaki oyagala asome olulimi lwabatemu”‘(eee why should my grandson study the language of murderers”. I then remembered the special force and youth wingers raid on our home at Namulonge in 1982, they were shouting in Swahili as they tortured us my mother inclusive. I immediately backed off and chose another subject for her mwami. There many elders who lost their loved ones in the hands of Swahili speaking men in Uniforms. They will hate Swahili for ever. And you can’t force a language onto your people.
– Interestingly last year I produced a film in Swahili about the plight of refugees in Lwamwanja. When I presented it to the Uganda film festival managed by UCC, it was denied entry unless I subtitle it in English. Now if the masters of communication deny Swahili who will love it?.
There is a Swahili academician who said that; “SWAHILI WAS BORN IN TANZANIA, GREW UP IN KENYA, GOT SICK IN UGANDA, DIED IN RWANDA, AND BURIED IN CONGO”‘.
Mr President why should we make a sick language our official one.
– I would propose that because of tribal sentiments, lets be like Nigeria where after English each region speaks their own local dialect. The Baganda speak theirs as the rest of the tribes also speak theirs.
– Or we can be like Ethiopia. That country has many tribes of different languages, but they adopted “Emheric” as their first language because of its popularity country wide. Today Emheric is internationally recognised.
– I’m not saying this because I’m a Muganda, but Oluganda can serve the purpose. It is more popular locally, and its literature is well written. Our colonial masters already have put Luganda on their list of recognized languages in their county. Those who performed hijja this year witnessed on those big billboards as you enter Macca and Medina, the welcoming statements from the many Languages there was that one; “TUSANYUSE OKUBALABA”.
If other countries have reached that point why are we selfish to our selves because of tribal sentiments?.
Mr President, all is in your hands, its today or never. Lead the way and we solve this problem for ever. Otherwise Uganda will remain a “DUMP NATION”‘.
Hajj Ashraf Simwogerere.
For God and my country.
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