Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni is calling on Africans to use Swahili as their primary language.
He says it will help to unite the continent.
Museveni delivered the speech on African Integration Day.
In 2019, the African Union Heads of State and Government designated July 7th of each year as “the African Integration Day” to celebrate significant regional and continental integration processes. The day is also used to consider critical lessons learned to address challenges faced.
That same year, Museveni commended a decision by African leaders to adopt Swahili as the official language at key regional and continental bodies.
“I am happy that both the African Union and SADC have adopted Swahili as a common language. If anyone does not have the spectacles to see that despite Africa having many tribes and clans, we are similar, we are brothers and sisters, that person should leave us,” he said at celebrations in Sironko to mark Uganda’s 57th independence anniversary.
Museveni described Swahili as a “neutral language to unite us, it is non-ethnic, belongs to nobody.”
Swahili is a Bantu language. It is the official language of the East African Community which comprises Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
During his speech, Museveni also lamented the fact that Africans were not working together in a more cohesive manner. He wants the continent to come together to further advance Africa’s overall economy.
The leader urges Africa’s 1.4 billion Africans to focus on “integrating the markets that will consume what we are producing as Africa.”
“We were colonized and suffered slave trade not because our ancestors were weak, but were not well organized,” he asserts. “We have got more capacity while operating together hence the need to develop strategic security for Africa.”