By Emmanuel Loro William
One of the biggest ingredients of corruption is Language discrimination in my Countries like South Sudan. Public servants can end up talking in their mother tongue forgetting that he or she is in public office. One of the best scenarios happened in one of the police stations. I went for a different issue but it caught me by surprise when an investigator was trying to handle a case of two gentlemen who fought.
During interrogation, the accuser spoke in his native language when narrating to the investigator what happened. After concluding his narrative, it was time for the accused to account his version of the problem. He (defendant) also started talking in his native language different from that of the complainant. The police asked him, “why are you talking in your language?” He answered, so my language is not worthy right?” he retorted. All of a sudden, fighting broke out between the police, and the defendant. The police realized their mistake and were ashamed. They ended up freeing both the complainant and the defendant. The case was just closed.
There are many victims who suffered as a result of this language discrimination. They are either languishing in a police cell or prison because they have been deprived of their right because their case was concluded in a language they cannot understand or answer back in. It is unfair. It’s high time we abundant these uncivilized habits of talking in unofficial language in public office.
It is a discriminating act when individuals use a certain language against another solely because he/she is unable to understand for a self-centered or bigoted reason.
This type of discrimination generally makes it illegal to prefer one language over another. It’s a daily happening in South Sudan in Public offices that is always applied for corruption purpose so that the second party do not hear the conversation of the first party.
English and Arabic are not our native languages, although we are proficient in them and have no difficulty doing our job so why are we using another language outside the official language?
In my view, the government should pass a law that penalizes anyone who talk in a different language outside the official one while at work. It creates a situation of fear and uncertainty about what will happen after the communication.
Imposing your language upon someone is neo-colonialism in a different format which we must avoid at all costs possible.
The author is a Public relations officer, former Chief Graphic Designer of Juba Monitor Newspaper and Journalist. The Founder and the Chairperson of The Public Relations Association of South Sudan (PRASS).
Consultant and Trainer on graphics. C.E.O of 3L General Trading and Investments Company Ltd.
Currently Designer for No.1 Citizen Newspaper.