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Why bhang activist now wants Luo dialect to be official language

By Bosco Marita | July 29th 2019

A renowned researcher Mr Sammy Gwada Ogot has filed a petition at the National Assembly seeking to have Luo dialect elevated to Kenya’s official language.

He submitted the appeal to parliament last week arguing that the Luo dialect “has an inbuilt capacity to generate, record, translate, instruct and transmit knowledge in a scientific manner.”

He claims that Dholuo is the foundation of universal knowledge hence the need to be accorded national status.

“That this petition identifies Luo as the first language for scientific and liturgical instructions of the world and as the root of all others, including Kiswahili and English, both which enjoy national and official status in the Constitution,” says Mr Ogot as quoted by a local news website.

According to him, the inclusion of Luo dialect is part of a government policy in promoting and protecting the diversity of language of Kenyans.

He further claims that the Bible was first written in Luo and Luhya languages, therefore, making it official will enhance understanding of identity and expressions of faiths.

“Luo is the language of light in which the Holy Bible was written and is, therefore, the key to deciphering meanings of identities, expressions and contexts of all other faiths universally since all primarily constructed on Luo morphemes,” he says as quoted by a local news website.

He now wants the Kenyan constitution amended so that the Luo dialect alongside Swahili and English will be Kenya’s official languages.

According to article seven of Kenya’s constitution, Kiswahili is the national language while English and Kiswahili are both official language.

In 2017, Mr Ogot pushed for legalization of bhang saying it has medicinal value.

He told the Senate's Health Committee that the banning of bhang in Kenya and most African states were based on ignorance and business conspiracies.

He also urged the committee to lift the ban saying: “it was God’s gift to mankind just as the many minerals he has put in store for Kenyans.”

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