Cultural leaders in Greater Kibaale have been urged to encourage Banyoro in Kagadi, Kakumiro and Kibaale Districts to improve their Runyoro/Rutooro vocabulary.
Hajj Burhan Kyakuhaire, the Special Assistant on Cultural Affairs in Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom Prime Minister’s Office told this website that Runyoro/Rutooro language continues to be threatened in the formerly lost counties.
He said it is unfortunate that until now, Banyoro in those areas include Luganda words in their dialect yet Runyoro/Rutooro language is exceptionally rich with its own vocabulary that does not require borrowing any words from Luganda language.
The Special Assistant attributed this to the colonial historical injustices meted on Bunyoro by the British and their Baganda collaborators that saw deliberate moves to degrade the Kinyoro culture.
Mr Kyakuhaire asked cultural leaders in Greater Kibaale to teach, encourage and disseminate Runyoro/Rutooro language to enable Banyoro in those areas speak and improve their local vernacular for cultural recognition.
He said by integrating Luganda language into Runyoro/Rutooro language renders Banyoro in Greater Kibaale culturally unidentifiable, likening it to a tree without roots.
Mr Kyakuhaire advised all Banyoro in those areas to make use of the available Runyoro/Rutooro literature to improve their language speaking.
He said the incorporation of Luganda words into their daily communication, Banyoro in Greater Kibaale inadvertently create a wordlist downrightly divergent from Runyoro/Rutooro language.
These Banyoro have even discarded their local names in favour of Luganda names following a completely different naming dimension due to the unmerited colonial force.
Whereas Banyoro/Batooro give names depending on the prevailing circumstances at the baby’s birth, Baganda depend on clan relationship, a trend the Banyoro in the formerly lost counties have taken up for many years yet it is far different from Bunyoro/Tooro cultural details, Mr Kyakuhaire continued.
If not checked, Runyoro/Rutooro language will continue fading as generation to generation will perpetually slot in Luganda words in their daily discourse at the detriment of the Runyoro/Rutooro lingua franca.
Mr Kyakuhaire calls for unwavering efforts among cultural leaders in Greater Kibaale to discourage Banyoro from soiling their mother tongue with Luganda; a scheme developed during colonial times to destroy their culture.
“After conquering Omukama Kabaleega, they [Banyoro in the formerly lost counties] were ordered that they should stop speaking Runyoro/Rutooro instead they should speak Luganda and school children should be taught in Luganda and not Runyoro-and this was done”.
“They [Britons] ordered that the Banyoro names should be abolished; instead the Baganda names should be given to the youngsters and this was accomplished. For a period of 60 to 70 years, the Banyoro in Buyaga and Bugangaizi were speaking Luganda language which was forced on them,” Mr Kyakuhaire is quoted to have said.
The Special Assistant is also worried that Bunyoro’s culture might die off if the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) fails to respect Bunyoro’s petition and demand to have her history fully reinstated in the new curriculum.
Bunyoro has been waiting for an affirmative action to restore her cultural and economic setup after untold atrocities committed by the British colonialists, but all in vain.
However, a bit of hope remains in the Ministry of Bunyoro Affairs as long as the prayer for it to become a fully-fledged ministry with a budget is answered.
It is now close to a decade since the appointment of Mr Ernest Kiiza as State Minister for Bunyoro Affairs and it still remains unclear if the ministry will be allocated a slot in the national budget on which to operate so that it can finance development programmes in the sub-region.