Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Damas Ndumbaro presented the proposal before the ICGLR foreign ministers meeting held in Brazzaville yesterday by telling the foreign ministers that Kiswahili is already an official language in Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda and of the African Union and other parts of central and southern Africa.
Dr Ndumbaro made his speech and call upon the members of the Great Lakes Regions to adopt and agree to use Kiswahili as an language within ICGLR.
"We have requested our colleague (ICGLR) to adopt the use of Kiswahili language to be an official language within the Great Lakes Regions. Though there are some six countries which have not yet signed the change of African Charter to allow Kiswahili to be used as the official language in African Union (AU)," he said
According to Dr Ndumbaro, the use of Kiswahili language in the region is an opportunity that would bring national unity within the Great Lakes region and strengthen the union. Adding that Kiswahili as the only language that has nothing to do with colonialism in Africa
"We hope that once we would get the signature of the remaining six countries, we would be left with the correct one country so that Kiswahili could become the official language of work at conferences that would be taking place in Africa," he added
Ndumbaro mentioned the six countries which have not yet signed have not yet signed the change of African Charter to allow Kiswahili to be used as the official language are Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Uganda and Zambia.
Along in the same line, the deputy minister added that member states were able to discuss the main agenda of the country's major lakes region, which are Peace, Stability, and Security especially in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
He also availed that majority of the member States commended the DRC for the successful and transparent elections that lead to a peaceful transition and commended for the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Uganda and Rwanda and urged the two countries to fully implement their provisions of the MOU towards restoring the historically strong relations between them.
Speaking earlier during the opening ceremony of the Foreign Affairs Ministers official meeting, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Congo, Clement Mouamba said he was happy as the meeting focused on assisting the DRC in the challenges it faces especially in the eastern region.
"I congratulate you on the work you have been doing in collaboration with various stakeholders in ensuring that the Ebola epidemic is eradicated, as I believe together we can," the Premier said. Adding that the Ebola Virus Disease together we have the capacity to fight against such dangerous disease.
Premier, Mouamba also argued the member states of the lakes to continue to protect peace and security in order to continue with various developmental activities as they are the foundation of the union to continue.
For his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Congo, who also chaired the meeting, Jean Claude Gakosso stressed to the ministers of the member states that peace and unity in the region are the most important pillars and should continue to be maintained and protected.
Different efforts have been done by member states in collaboration with development partners like World Health Organization (WHO) to fight against the spread of ebola. Adding, "Various efforts taken by the DRC Government to date in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other stakeholders in the fight against the disease are to provide immunization and education to the people of the affected areas," said Gakosso.
The foreign ministers meeting was preceded by the national coordinators and the regional inter-ministerial committee of the international conference on the Great Lakes Region all held in Brazzaville.
The meeting was attended by the national coordinators and Foreign Ministers from ICGLR countries are Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda as well as Zambia
On August 2019, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) declared Kiswahili its fourth official language after English, French and Portuguese.