OP-ED : Making Luganda the National Language reaches final stages


One topic that went to shelves is the issue of ‘National Language’. Initially, many were talking of Swahili as a National Language.

Many suggested Luganda. It’s a fact that one language that survived extinction is Luganda. It’s spoken by over 90% of Ugandans.

The entire Western, Ankole nation, Kigezi speak Luganda. Being Bantu speakers, Luganda and these Languages are like Lango and Acholi. You can speak either language. Again in the East, Busoga, to Bugisu and even Samia understand and speak Luganda.

The challenge is only with Luo groups, Nilotics and Hamites (Karamojong). Meaning over about 80% of Ugandans are Bantu speakers.

Again, a good percentage of other nations, from Luo and West Nile have intermarried. Again over 90% of Northerners, Easterners and west Nile send their children to study in Central and southern Uganda – (Buganda Kingdom).

“The issue of National Language will no doubt eliminate tribalism and build a United Uganda. The fact that Buganda Kingdom Culture and Language are Rich Civilised, it’s likely to be absorbed by Ugandans whether we want it or not. Our children will force us to speak Luganda”, Gulu District Chairperson Mr. Martin Ojara said.


Uganda comes from Buganda, many in truth or jealousy say Baganda are proud. Allover the country, their language is spoken and have programs on Radios. Even National and local TVs, Luganda programs are important and popular, I don’t see Acholi, Madi or Luo programs on NTV Uganda.

“When In any National programs, you must speak English and Luganda. Many including myself would gamble Luganda more than Kiswahili. I see President Museveni speaking Luganda to the annoyance of other people, but he reaches a bigger population”, Ojara added.

Besides, all the tribes in Uganda, have forfeited their language. They either speak English or Luganda. Most children who leave up country and get to central (Buganda) to study, when for holidays, they struggle to learn Luganda.

Most children, grew up in the Buganda Kingdom during Northern war. The war destroyed local traditional cultures. In Acholi, their homes, granary and Gods [shrines] were burnt. The two decades war caused havoc on culture.


The colonialists did everything to demonize African language and culture. The Africans managed to defeat colonialism using language and culture.

The African Gods were powerful. The white God taught discipline and respect to slaves masters. In meetings, Africans would listen to governors and after translation, they respond in coded way.

The colonialists ends up being attacked. Secrets are hidden. Later they introduced war against vernacular. They prohibited African children from learning and speaking local languages in school. You would walk with born in your neck the whole day if you spoke vernacular. This method was fully adopted at post colonial time.


Let’s revert to the debate of National Language. To me, whether we want it or not, Luganda is the thing, our children speak Luganda, our people in Diaspora cherishes Luganda language and culture.

Even cooking traditional food. I want to urge other cultures, you may hate Luganda, but Baganda preserved their culture, traditions and language.

Tribes of Uganda:

Uganda was formed by the British between the years 1890 and 1926. The name Uganda was derived from the ancient Buganda Kingdom. There are over 56 tribes in Uganda. Some of them were migrated from other country and some of them originated from them.

The country lies entirely between the arms of the Eastern and Western Great Rift Valleys of East Africa. It is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the west, South Sudan to the North, Kenya to the East and Tanzania and Rwanda to the South.

Between A.D. 500 and 1,500, people began to migrate to Uganda from different parts of Africa. At the time of the coming of the British, there were over fifty ethnic and cultural groups in Uganda. These ethnic communities could conveniently be divided into four broad linguistic categories namely; the Bantu, the Luo, the Atekerin and the Sudanic.

The Bantu were the earliest group to come to Uganda and constitute over 70 percent of Uganda’s total population. They Comprise; Baganda, Banyankole, Banyoro, Bakonjo, Basoga, Bakiga, Bafumbira, Batooro, Bamba, Batwa, Banyule, Basamia- Bagwe and Baggwere. They generally occupy the East, Central, West, and Southern Uganda.

The second category is the Atekerin people, also referred to as the Para-Nilotics or the Nilo- Hamites. The group is found mainly in the north, the east and north-eastern Uganda. The group constitutes the Langi, the Karamajong, the Iteso, the Kakwa, and the Kumam. They trace their origins to Ethiopia and are said to have been one people. The Langi are unique in that they lost their Ateker language and culture and spoke Luo.

The third group is the Luos, an extensive family that spread all over East Africa. These tribes in Uganda include the Alur, the Acholi, and the Japadhola. The Alur are settled in West Nile, Acholi in Northern Uganda and Japadhola in Eastern Uganda.

The Sudanic are speakers of West Nile, comprising of the Madi, the Lugbara, the Okebu, the Bari, and the Metu. They trace their origin to Sudan but their cultures and language indicate that they have become completely detached from their places of origin.

Everywhere, Asia, European Union, United States America, the language is intact. I visited a family in Chicago, young half cast, Baganda, American girls entertained us dancing and singing songs in Luganda. At 13 you can not imagine. Uganda will have no option but to adopt Luganda as a national language. Thanks to the Kingdom of Buganda.

Opinion Article by Our Reader

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Lukwago Joseph grew up in a newspaper family, and rumor has it that instead of playing the guitar in his infancy, his parents put a reporter’s notebook and a pen next to him shortly after he turned born eight years. Before becoming editor of UGANDANZ, Lukwago was a parliament news editor for WBS TV. He joined UGANDANZ in July 2018, A few months after the company launched. Lukwago also spent five years as a freelance reporter, where he covered reporting for the highest bidder, intelligence, foreign policy, and Ugandan police. Lukwago graduated from Makerere University in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism and worked on his college newspaper.