Nairobi News


Why this researcher wants MPs to make Dholuo an official language

A petition has been filed in the National Assembly seeking to elevate the Luo language and have it classified as an official language as a way of promoting the development and use of indigenous languages in line with constitutional provisions.

Mr Sammy Gwada Ogot, who is remembered for his push for the legalisation of bhang, wants the Chapter two of the Constitution amended and the Luo language given official status.

In the petition, which was submitted to the Clerk of National Assembly last week, Mr Ogot argues that the Luo Language has inbuilt capacity to generate, record, translate, instruct and transmit knowledge in a scientific manner.


He argues that the Luo language, being the foundation of universal knowledge, should be recognised by being elevated to an official 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,” Mr Ogot says.

Article 7 of the Constitution identifies Kiswahili as the national language while Kiswahili and English are listed as the official languages.

Mr Ogot wants the article amended so that Luo is included alongside Kiswahili and English, which he argues, is part of the government policy to promote and protect the diversity of language of the people of Kenya.

He says that the petition is a step towards realising the national ideal of self-sufficiency in language and aligns to the policy guidelines formulated by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) as well as tenets of the new education system.


He says that Luo and Luhya are the two greats lights of language upon which knowledge is constructed, hence, the shared Lu identity which universally denotes luminaries or followers or descendants of light.

“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.

Mr Ogot argues that the Luo baptismal language of the world is exclusive scholastic basis for universal study of onomastics (study of the history and origin of proper names, especially personal names) and philosophy owing to its special capacity to decode meanings of all proper nouns and names comprehensively.

He provides a range which specifically includes all ostronyms, astronyms, hydronyms, oronyms, eponyms, toponyms and anthroponyms of the world since all agglutinate from Luo morphemes and phrases.

“The facts I have presented recognise 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.”