AfricaPress-Tanzania: REGULARLY in this opinion corner, we proudly shower praises on Tanzania’s national language, Kiswahili, as a medium of communication whose impressiveness has captured the fancy of people in countries in various corners of the world.

The qualities that the language commands has indeed been manifested by the fact that, besides being embraced by other members of the informally characterised global village, it is also elevated as a medium of communication at broader levels.

One of the illustrations to that end is the fact that it is now one of the official languages of the Southern African Development Conference (SADC).

At the individual level, many tourists who come over to the Land of Kilimanjaro to view its various fascinating attractions, strive to pick a few Kiswahili linguistic tools, to enable them get by as they mingle with their Tanzanian hosts, in order to enhance their mastery of the language.

On the home front, very delightful Kiswahili expressions periodically emerge, which, though they may sound informal, sweeten the national language and delight citizens and foreigners alike.

Among the most captivating in recent years are “baba lao” and “gari kubwa”, which, liberally translated, focus on a certain individual, an institution or a trend being in the lead and thus unbeatable.

Those expressions were invoked at election campaigns in the past, and are most likely to come into play in the current ones, as Tanzanians inch towards the next General Election slated for October this year.

We feel wholly justified to use the expressions in relation to the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), in the light of glaring evidence that it has won the hearts of many people on the strength of the democratic manner in which it is conducting its affairs.

Wananchi, and curious outsiders, are thrilled by the transparency surrounding the electoral processes, to ensure that monkey tricks are not forged into the important phase of the broader process.

The CCM National Chairman, Dr John Pombe Magufuli, has been instrumental in introducing a heavy dose of transparency into the processes, starting with how the CCM flag bearer for the Zanzibar presidential election, Dr Hussein Mwinyi was found, through the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) in Dodoma on July 10.

The transparency was a departure from the long practiced, much familiar closed-door approach. The current polls-related transparency has emboldened the CCM “baba lao”; “gari kubwa” credentials !


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