BY HANNAH OGWAPITI VIA UAH
I understand that in 1995 they abolished Swahili as the second official language, though a decade later it was re-introduced. Still, I did not find widespread use of it even in 2017.Could the re-introduction as second official language be part of political-placating in E.A. Community…?? You never know..!!
It is unfortunate that Swahili was associated with the military which for long had been an institution of oppression.When soldiers came to loot,rape,kill they spoke swahili,thus it has been hard to convince people especially in the central/south region to speak swahili.
Furthermore luganda being the language widely spoken in kampala,you can be understoood in many parts of uganda when you speak it,since it is widely used in commerce and in Kigali(Rwanda) you can hear luganda spoken.Personally i would advocate for swahili because of its wide coverage,you can hear swahili in kenya,tanzania,comoros,mozambique,rwanda,burundi,congo,mozambique and i hear even namibia!!!!not for getting sudan,somalia.
The language itself developed from the intermarriage of the dialect of these dwellers with Arabic. For historical reasons the language then spread further along the coast as well as in the interior, where it became lingua franca in one version or another.
But it remained a foreign language to most of the population in all places except the coastal origin. During the politicisation of the language issue during the mid-sixties, to a proposal for making Swahili as the sole national language of Uganda, Obote is reported to have asked: “Why Swahili? Why not Gujarati? Both are non-indigenous”.
With a number of their own local languages, Ugandans did not seem to want to put Swahili on a pedestal, especially if it was at the cost of abandoning English as the language of official communication. In academics, there were many with a view similar to the reason for Obote’s rejection of the proposal for making Swahili as the national language.Only political sloganeers loved to promote Swahili on to a pedestal.