A petition seeking to elevate the Luo language and have it classified as an official language in Kenya has been filed in parliament.
The petition, filed by Sammy Gwada Ogot who is famous for his push to legalize bhang argues that “inbuilt capacity to generate, record, translate, instruct and transmit knowledge in a scientific manner” hence merits to be classified as an official language.
In the petition which was reportedly submitted to the Clerk of National Assembly last week, Ogot wants Chapter two of the Constitution amended and the Luo language given official status as a way of promoting the development and use of indigenous languages in line with constitutional provisions.
Ogot told Nation that the 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”.
In his opinion, the language is the foundation of universal knowledge, should be recognized by being elevated to an official status.
In the petition, Ogot is seeking the inclusion of Luo as one of Kenya’s official languages in Article 7 of the Constitution which identifies Kiswahili as the national language while Kiswahili and English are listed as the official languages.
He says that this will not only promote and protect the diversity of language of the people of Kenya, but also help in realizing the national ideal of self-sufficiency in language.
Language of light
The researcher asserts that: “The facts I have presented recognize language as the singular vanguard, voice and van for protecting, promoting and conveying culture and knowledge and in the shared pursuit of developing, promoting, protecting local languages, I pray that Article 7 of the constitution be amended to include Luo as official language.
“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”.
Ogot shot to fame with his efforts to legalize marijuana which has numerous medicinal purposes.
Among those who supported the initiative are Raila Odinga Jnr and former Kibra MP the late Ken Okoth.