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Should use of indigenous languages be banned in public offices?

Posted by on 20th June 2011

Categories: Motions MP Participation

By Moreen Majiwa (@mmajiwa)

A few weeks ago the media covered an audit report conducted by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission on ethnicity in the civil service.  The NCIC report showed despite the existence of the 48 communities in Kenya 80% of public services is occupied by only 6 communities – ethnicity continues to be an ongoing conversation not just on the street but in parliament as well.

However , unless you watch parliamentary sessions on TV or were actually at parliament on the 8th June 2011 you probably missed this..on 8th June 2011 Maragwa MP Elias Mbau stated that he was: “Concerned that the use of indigenous languages in public offices and national institutions is a major contributor to disharmony, suspicion and discomfort in public offices in the country>”

He then urged the Government to: “Ban the use of indigenous languages in all public offices, except by Government Field Officers at the level of locations and sub-locations in public barazas, where it is expected that nearly all of the audience understand the local language used.”

He stated the motion aimed: “to ban the use of vernacular languages in public offices as it causes disharmony and discomfort to those who may not understand a particular vernacular language and might stir ethnic hatred.”

He used as his main point of reference Article 7(2) of the Constitution that recognizes Kiswahili and English as the official languages of the Republic of Kenya. While the MP recognized that the article 7 (3) provides for the protection and promotion of diversity of the language of the people of Kenya, and the importance that language as tool of communication, as tool of culture and identity. He argued ethnicity had a negative aspect declaring “we have a good proportion of ethnic chauvinists both in this House and outside this House – who are inclined to see only the members of their tribe as people and also denigrate all others as something less.” He went on state that in the workplace and particular in the aftermath of the 2007/2008 post election violence language has been used a way that is exclusionary, discriminatory that fosters conflict.

Work place diversity is a complex issue when you consider issues of the gender, age, education, background, ethnic group, language adds another layer to the complexity.  What has your experience of use of indigenous languages in the workplace been, positive or negative?  Do you agree with the motion put forward by MP Elias Mbau to ban the use of indigenous language in the workplace? And would it have the intended effect of reducing discrimination and promoting social cohesion?

Introduction of the Freedom of Information Bill

Posted by on 10th October 2006

Categories: Motions

Motion Date: 2006-10-04
Moved By: Nyong’o, Anyang’ Peter (Prof.)
Sponsor: Individual MP
Motion Type: Procedural motions
Content
THAT, this House grants leave for the introduction of a Bill for an Act of Parliament entitled the Freedom of Information Bill for the purposes of nurturing information resources as a tool for development
Analysis

Privatization of State Corporations

Posted by on 10th October 2006

Categories: Motions

Motion Date: 2006-10-04
Moved By: Awiti, Paul Adhu (Dr.)
Sponsor: Individual MP
Motion Type: Substantive Motions
Content
THAT, being aware that most State Corporations are the economic mainstay of the country; this House urges the Government not to undertake any privatization exercise until a Sessional paper on privatization, outlining the merits and demerits of privatizing each State Corporation, is prepared to the House for consideration.
Analysis

Free Secondary Education for AIDS oprhans

Posted by on 10th October 2006

Categories: Motions

Motion Date: 2006-10-04
Moved By: Ole Metito, Katoo
Sponsor: Goverments
Motion Type: Substantive Motions
Content
THAT, given the debilitating effects of HIV/AIDS in the country, taking into cognizance of the high number of orphans estimated at 1.2 million; noting the increased primary school enrolment occasioned by free primary education; and further noting that the increase is not reflected in secondary schools, this House urges the Government to implement free secondary education program for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and other causes.
Analysis

Comprehensive Transport Policy

Posted by on 29th March 2006

Categories: Motions

Motion Date: 2006-03-29
Moved By: Kimetto, Anthony
Sponsor: Individual MP
Motion Type: Substantive Motions
Content
THAT, in view of Kenya’s commitment to equitable development of all regions in the country; taking cognizance of communications as an engine of economic growth; noting that different forms of transport require proper planning and co-ordination, this House urges the Government to develop and implement a comprehensive transport policy to provide a framework for infrastructural development throughout the country.
Analysis

Schools Disaster Management Fund

Posted by on 29th March 2006

Categories: Motions

Motion Date: 2006-03-29
Moved By: Olweny, Patrick Ayiecho (Prof.)
Sponsor: Individual MP
Motion Type: Substantive Motions
Content
THAT, in view of the fact that natural calamities always cause extensive damage to several schools, and the Government has not put in place a system to cater for such disasters, this House urges the Government to establish a Schools Disaster Management Fund to be used for repairs and reconstruction of schools in case of such calamities.
Analysis