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East African Community Anthem a Hurdle for Ugandans

The Anthem which is taught in schools across the country and sang at national functions evokes the history, struggles and integration of the community. Its lyrics in Swahili, the official language of the EAC, start with a commitment to protecting and guarding the community.
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As political leaders pursue the agenda for the integration of the East African Community, the strings that pull the region together remain a hurdle for ordinary Ugandan citizens.

Several Ugandans can hardly put together the words of the East African Community Anthem; a three-stanza composition titled Wimbo wa Jumuiya Afrika Mashariki. The Anthem was adopted by the East African Community Summit on December 3, 2010, to cement the growing cooperation among the six member states.

The Anthem which is taught in schools across the country and sang at national functions evokes the history, struggles and integration of the community. Its lyrics in Swahili, the official language of the EAC, start with a commitment to protecting and guarding the community.

In the words, Ee Mungu twaomba ulinde, Jumuiya Afrika Mashariki, Tuwezeshe kuishi kwa Amani, Tutimize na malengo yetu, members of the community affirm a collective identity and an attachment to the unity of the East African Community. 

//Cue in: E mungu twaomba Ulinde

Cue out…. na malengo yetu.”//

The melodic lyrics rhyme as a prayer pleading to God for the preservation of the East African Community, to enable the members of the community to live in peace and to be able to fulfil their objectives. It's a call for patriotism, calling God to be the pillar of unity across the East African Community and to guard to independence and peace of our culture and traditions.

But despite the beauty of the prayer, Ugandans can hardly relate with the song. Many were unable to put together the words, on this day of Uganda's 56th independence.  Only a handful could even mention a word in the anthem, a sign that the integration of the community is distant from the ordinary Ugandan.

At several gatherings many people are seen struggling to sing the anthem while others end up humming to the tune from the speakers. URN talked to a few Ugandans about the anthem.

//Cue in; “E mungu twaomba…

Cue out…. Tune Sijjijjukira Bulungi.”//

On December 3, 2010, during the 12th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge, Arusha, Tanzania,  the anthem, or “Wimbo wa Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki”, was approved to become the East African Community Anthem.

Present at the summit were Presidents Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, Mwai Kibaki of Kenya and Bernard Makuza, the Prime Minister of.

To facilitate the popularization, learning and singing of the anthem across East Africa, the EAC secretariat developed a booklet containing the basic information pertaining to the anthem.

The booklet details the anthem text whose words and music are specified in the 4th Schedule of the Community Emblems (Amendment) Act 2011). The booklet also gives guidelines on the popular version music score of the anthem, the Choral Music Score of the anthem, the Brass band Music Score of the anthem and when and how the anthem should be played among others.

“It is our sincere hope that the content of this booklet will serve a useful purpose of guiding the East African Community citizens to learn and sing their regional Anthem with pride,” reads part of the preamble on page four of the booklet.

Below is the full text of the Anthem

1.       Ee Mungu twaomba uilinde

Jumuiya Afrika Mashariki

Tuwezeshe kuishi kwa Amani

Tutimize na malengo yetu.

Jumuiya Yetu sote tuilinde

Tuwajibike tuimarike

Umoja wetu ni nguzo yetu

Idumu Jumuiya yetu.

2. Uzalendo pia mshikamano

Viwe msingi wa Umoja wetu

Na tulinde Uhuru na Amani

Mila zetu na desturi zetu.

3. Viwandani na hata mashambani

Tufanye kazi sote kwa makini

Tujitoe kwa hali na mali

Tuijenge Jumuiya bora.

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