Zimbabwe needs one official language if it is to develop, a human rights Commissioner has asserted.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission’s national inquiry on access to documentation in Zimbabwe, Thursday, ZHRC Commissioner Petunia Chiriseri said the issue of 16 official languages was for dividing the nation hence a need to adopt one language which will unite the country.
“Yes we want the 16 languages spoken freely but in terms of the official language for development purposes. We must be very careful that we see the hidden hand which will divide and then rule us.
“The divide and rule between the Shona and Ndebele can be manageable. Can you imagine a division amongst 16 tribes.”
She said the 16 official languages was a negative imperialist move hence need to revise it.
She said countries with one language are advancing hence the need to revise the 16 languages issue.
“Go to America, there is only one official language which is English yet there are others such as French. Let us be conscious when pushing this 16 languages thing. Let us have one official language which will keep us united but continuing freely speaking other indigenous languages.”
Chiriseri said countries like Tanzania which have more than 70 languages were lagging behind in terms of development but they are now adopting English as their official language after realising it would develop them.
She alleged South Africa to be divided because of the many languages they have.
“Just go down to South Africa, L don’t know how many languages they have. There is chaos in terms of unity. If a Zulu person makes a proposal for development, a Xhosa makes sure they bring it down. They are so divided and the colonialists are still ruling.
Participants, however, did not concur saying a diversified nation is a united nation.
“the new constitution says all languages are equal. A diversion of language means unity. I am a Nguni and am proud, why should l adopt someone’s language?”
Another participant asked whose language would be declared as the official language cause it could trigger tribal war.
ZHRC is conducting the national inquiry to identify challenges faced by citizens in accessing national documents, to acquire knowledge and appreciation of the process of acquiring various identity documents and to empower citizens with capacity to claim their rights on accessing national documents.