Ward representatives at the Bomet County Assembly have been subject to public fury after a clip emerged of them conducting house business in Kalenjin dialect.
Our source has since established that the viral clip was from a meeting of the members of the assembly’s Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban planning.
The committee was meeting a group of old men and women from Chepchabas in Konoin, Bomet County who were displaced from their lands by white settlers.
The ward representatives resorted to using their local dialect after a section of members opined that the petition was a weighty matter that was not fit being discussed using the “oppressor’s” language.
A faction of netizens has since jumped to the defence of the legislators, stating that Kenyans have the liberty to converse in the language that they can comfortably express themselves in.
Another faction posited that using local dialect in public offices is distasteful since the country only recognizes English and Kiswahili as its official languages.
A similar debate once hit the nation in 2011 when the then Maragua MP, Elias Mbau, tabled a motion in Parliament barring the use of vernacular languages in public offices.
Mbau sought to make it illegal to use mother tongue in public offices. The motion survived an onslaught from the frontbench and backbenchers who termed it as “unconstitutional” and “superfluous” because the Constitution has already directed that the official languages are English and Kiswahili.
The Public Service Ministry then, through its then assistant minister Aden Sugow, opposed the motion terming it as impractical.
“It is very difficult for the Ministry to infringe on the rights of civil servants. It is difficult to implement that. It is hard to punish workers for speaking vernacular,” Sugow said.
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