THE government of Zanzibar is pledged to provide land for the construction of a permanent office for the East African Community Kiswahili Commission (EACK) in an effort to promote further growth of the language.
With that offer, the Isles government wants the region to treat the Kiswahili language with more seriousness, as its international use would be a source of pride and prestige for the region.
Speaking with the EAC Secretary General, Dr Peter Mathuki in Zanzibar, the Minister of State (Labour, Economy and Investment), Mudrik Ramadhan Soraga, also called for fast-tracking of staff recruitment.
Speaking at the Commission's temporary headquarters, he said he wants to see the staff get EACK up and running in executing its mandate that is to promote Kiswahili as the lingua franca of the region.
Dr Mathuki thanked the government of Zanzibar for the noble gesture, while observing that proposed EAKC permanent headquarters would enable other EAC organs and institutions to operate more easily on the island.
The SG said that development partners would be more interested in assisting the Commission, if it had land for establishing a permanent headquarters.
Dr Mathuki informed the minister that the EAC Heads of State at their 21st Ordinary Meeting held on 27th February this year had adopted Kiswahili and French to be official languages of the Community in addition to English, adding that EAKC was already working out modalities to implement the directive of the Summit in as far as Kiswahili was concerned.
Dr Mathuki urged EAKC staff to work hard to raise the profile of the Commission on the island and in the entire region, adding that East Africans expect nothing but the best from them.
“Teamwork and respect among staff are crucial at all levels to enable the Commission reach its goals. My tenure as the SG will be characterised by an open door policy to solving challenges. Let us all get committed to changing the face of the Community,” said Dr Mathuki.
“We need to take the Community to the people to cultivate a sense of ownership among East Africans,” he added.
On his part, EAKC Acting Executive Secretary, Dr James Jowi informed the minister that recruitment process for additional staff for the Commission was already underway, noting that that would address the serious shortage of staff currently facing the Commission.
Others in attendance were the East African Court of Justice President, Justice Nestor Kayobera; East African Legislative Assembly Speaker, Mr Martin Ngoga and other governments and Community's officials.