Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has called for a constitutional amendment to include provision that allows local leaders take oath of office in languages they can speak and understand.
The oath for public office in Uganda is administered in English, but previously, members elected in local councils have wrestled with the queen’s language, turning most swearing-in ceremonies, more dramatic than serious.
Now Lukwago says that subjecting people to reading and speaking in English which they do not comprehend, causes them embarrassment to the people they serve and does not take into consideration the legal implications.
“It is very sand and unfortunate to see many of these people being humiliated struggling to take oath in English, they are being ashamed before their children, they people who respect them among others,” Lukwago said.
Lukwago wants elected Local Council leaders equipped with knowledge regarding their constitutional mandate “instead of making them a laughing stock”.
“There must be an induction course organised for them countrywide, it is a necessity,” he said.
According to the constitution, English is the official language of Uganda and all oaths of office are administered in English.
The local council courts Act also spells (Part VII) that; Subject to subsections (2) and (3) of this section, the proceedings of the local council court and the records of those proceedings shall be in the language of the court, which shall be the language widely spoken in the area of jurisdiction.
It also adds that; Notwithstanding subsection (1), the record of proceedings in a town, division or sub-county local council court shall be in English.
However, the Illiterates Protection Act says that people who cannot read or write are prohibited from taking oath in a language they do not understand.