Published on Wednesday, 16 August 2017
The Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Hon. Dr. Harrison G. Mwakyembe (MP) visited the National Kiswahili Council (BAKITA) offices which are situated at Kijitonyama, in Kinondoni Municipality, Dar es Salaam on 15th August 2017, with the aim of observing what is being done by the institute. BAKITA is one of the institutes under the Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports.
Among other issues transpired included: The BAKITA Executive Secretary, Dr. Seleman S. Sewangi explained the structure and the roles of BAKITA to the Minister. He elaborated that, the Council has six departments which are; Translation and Interpretation, Editing and Publication, Language and Literature, Terminology and Lexicography, Mass Communication, Finance and Administration departments. In addition, he said that the Council has two sections which are Supplies and Internal Auditing.
Moreover, he continued saying that the council has received a new structure from the Presidentâ€™s Office, Public Service and Good Governance guiding the Council to have two departments which are: the Development and Usage of Kiswahili and the Department of Council Services. These departments will be headed by Directors. The department of Development and the Usage of Kiswahili will have three sections which are: Terminologies and Lexicography, Translation and Interpretation and the section of Language, Literature and Editing. These sections will be under Section Managers.
Either, the Executive Secretary Dr. Sewangi, went on explaining and identifying the roles of BAKITA, including to:
â€¢ Coordinate the development and usage of Kiswahili throughout the United Republic of Tanzania.
â€¢ Encourage the use of Kiswahili in official business and public life generally.
â€¢ Develop the Language and Kiswahili Literature.
â€¢ Encourage proper use of standardized Kiswahili.
â€¢ Develop vocabulary and Kiswahili terminologies.
â€¢ Coordinate researches relating to Kiswahili.
â€¢ Provide translation and interpretation services to the government, public organizations and non-governmental organizations.
â€¢ Provide Kiswahili training to foreigners and those in need.
â€¢ Approve Kiswahili textbook written for education institutions before they are published.
â€¢ Publish Kiswahili journal on Kiswahili Language and Literature
â€¢ Provide guidance and consultancy to book writers and publishers so that they can use standard Kiswahili.
â€¢ Conduct seminars, workshops, symposiums and concerts to value Kiswahili and its illustrious writers
In addition, the Executive Secretary identified various challenges including the Councilâ€™s buildings to continue being occupied by the former National Insurance Companyâ€™s employees. He said that, in 2009 the Council bought houses which belonged to the National Insurance Company (NIC) at TZS 1.5 billion. However, from that period, the Council has not been able to use all the buildings because some of NICâ€™s employees who are tenants at the building filed a case in the High Court, Land Section claiming that buildings should sold them which by then were already sold to the Council. Although the case was dismissed by the Judge who attended it, still there is a continuation of wedging charges of the same claims in the same Court to date. Once the case is ruled out with complaints defeated, they lodge charges with the same claims.
Another challenge which was identified by the Council was that it has few personnel contrary to the establishment required. Presently, the Council has 29 workers instead of 83 who are required.
Speaking to the Councilsâ€™ workers the Minister said that, the current BAKITA is supposed to change and be different from that of 1967 when it was established. The contemporary BAKITA is in a period when thereâ€™s great need of Kiswahili Language. The Minister sited an example of the position of Kiswahili language needs in Africa and the World at present. He insisted that, Kiswahili has already been accepted to be used in the African Union Summit, the East African Community etc. In addition, he explained that there are great needs of Kiswahili in various countries in the world, thus, the Council ought to work diligently to ensure the needs of Kiswahili Language are met.
The Minister urged the Council to prepare a database of all Kiswahili graduates so that the data can be used when the Kiswahili teachers are needed in various places in the world. In addition, the Minister instructed that there should be determined efforts to ensure that the Council gets funds to run itself. He explained that among the institutes which are supposed to have much funds include BAKITA with regard to the position of Kiswahili currently. He identified that there are lots of issues related to language which can be done by the Council to earn income. He supported the efforts done in writing Kamusi Kuu ya Kiswahili which is generating income to the Council but he insisted that there are still many opportunities which can be used by the Council to get more funds including teaching Kiswahili to foreigners.
The Hon. Minister was annoyed very much by the action of the former NICâ€™s workers to continue residing in the buildings which were bought by the Government for the aim of being used by this institute as offices. The Hon. Minister said, â€œthe buildings were bought using Tanzaniansâ€™ tax money and if the NIC sold them, why should they continue being occupied?â€ He queried. He continued saying that, â€œIf the NIC wants these buildings to be resided by its former employees, they are supposed to refund TZS 1.5 billion which were used to purchase those buildings and the refund should bear interest for seven years since the buildings were bought and paid for.
Moreover, the Hon. Minister called for an ad hoc meeting with the NICâ€™s Chief Executive and the Board Chairman, the next day 16th August 2017 at 8:30 in the BAKITAâ€™s Executive Secretary office. He insisted the concerned persons to attend the meeting without missing it.
Ag. Mass Communication Officer.