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The Mozambican NGO Sekelekani (Centre of Communication Studies and Research) on Monday launched in Maputo editions of the country’s Constitution, translated into two of the main Mozambican languages, Emakua and Changana.
Emakua is the most widely spoken language in the country. It is the mother tongue of over 5.8 million people, mainly in the northern provinces of Nampula, Cabo Delgado and Niassa. Changana is the mother tongue of about two million Mozambicans in the southern provinces, and is also spoken in parts of Zimbabwe and South Africa.
In the 2017 population census, about 3.7 million people stated that the official language, Portuguese, was also their mother tongue.
According to the executive director of Sekelekani, Tomas Vieira Mario, the purpose of translating the Constitution into local languages is to ensure greater participation by citizens in the political life of the country.
“The Constitution is the law from which all other laws are produced”, he said at the launch ceremony.”If we say that citizens should take part in politics, they should know the instruments which guide this political life”.
The Minister of Justice and of Constitutional and Religious Matters, Joaquim Verissimo, said the government will continue to encourage the translation of books and documents of public interest into Mozambican languages.
He pointed out that many more than two languages are spoken among Mozambique’s 28 million citizens. All of them “have the right to know their fundamental rights in the exercise of citizenship, so that they may better participate in development”.
For his part, the chairperson of the parliamentary commission on legal and constitutional matters, Edson Macuacua, said that translating the constitution into local languages “signifies a turning point in our constitutional history, and in our justice”.
“The Constitution”, he added, “is a law that should be known by all citizens, and so it is important that it be accessible”.Source: O País
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