Tanzania’s Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs (MoCLA) has given guidelines to all government ministries and institutions over the translation of 450 laws from English into Kiswahili, an official said.

Hassan Abbasi, the government’s chief spokesman, said the translation will be completed by December 2021.The MoCLA released the guidelines after the Tanzanian parliament last month approved Kiswahili as the official language of the laws and the language used in the administration and dispensation of justice.

The bill approved by the lawmakers said the use of Kiswahili in laws of the country will facilitate access to justice for all Tanzanians. Addressing a press conference in the capital Dodoma on Monday, Abbasi said the translation of the laws will go in tandem with the translation of over 15,000 regulations, which is expected to be completed by June 2022.

Abbasi, who doubles as the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, urged the National Kiswahili Council to fully participate in the translation of the laws.

The chief spokesman urged linguistic and law experts from various ministries to coordinate with officials from the National Kiswahili Council, a state-run institution responsible for regulating and promoting the Kiswahili language, in the translation process.

In February 2021, President John Magufuli called for amendments to the laws and regulations to accommodate Kiswahili as the language in the delivery of court judgments.

Magufuli asked the Judiciary and the MoCLA to make necessary amendments to the existing laws to incorporate the national language, Kiswahili, in judicial matters. He said it was important to deliver court judgments at all levels in Kiswahili, which is a common language to all Tanzanians.

The president said it was dismaying that 60 years after independence, the Judiciary of Tanzania has continued to write and deliver judgments in English, which is a colonial inherited system.

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