NCD HOSTS WRITERS’ WORKSHOP TO TRANSLATE RELEVANT PORTIONS OF THE 1991 CONSTITUTION INTO FIVE LOCAL LANGUAGES
By Siraju Bah June 27 2014:
The National Commission for Democracy (NCD) is hosting a five day writers’ workshop to translate relevant portions of the 1991 Constitution into five local languages in the Country: Krio, Temne, Mende, Limba and Kono to help the common man understand the constitution that is under review.
The workshop which commenced on Monday 23, June this year at the Makambo Resort in Makeni brings together 15 expert translators who are prolific speakers and writers of the selected local languages and have the required expertise to translate from the English Language into the local languages.
In an exclusive interview, the Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Abubakar Hassan Kargbo, emphasized the fact that in reviewing a constitution, the people need to participate fully in the process in spite of their academic status.
He said the Commission has deemed it necessary to translate relevant portions of the constitution into the major local languages in order to keep the people abreast with the content of the constitution so that they will be accorded the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the creation of the new national document.
He stated that in developing constitutions in a democratic setting, people must not be excluded in the process they must rather be part of it in order to make their views known and be part of the document so that they will identify with the document after it would have been completed.
Dr. Kargbo further stated that the translation of the relevant portions of the constitution into the selected languages will lend credence to the review process since the local population will be well informed about what the Constitutional Review Committee will be doing in relation to the review process.
The Chairman disclosed that after the completion of the project, the Commission will produce 4000 copies that will be distributed nationwide in order to afford the people the opportunity to access this document.
He pleaded for more support from the public, local and international donor partners to provide support for the Commission to extend the opportunity of translating the document into other local languages so that they too will enjoy the advantage of understanding the relevant portions of the document that is under review.
The Commissioner for the Northern Region who also doubles as the project coordinator expressed optimism on the progress of the project and commended the Commission for such a laudable initiative that will bring on board the process of the review the local people who could not understand the Queen’s Language by interpreting relevant portions of the constitution into their local tongues.
Bai John Conteh noted that the Commission would have loved to have enough resources to translate the document into all the Sierra Leonean local languages saying that the Commission did not neglect the other languages but they decided to choose the five languages principally because they do not have enough resources to extend the project to all the local languages.
He also went on to explain the method the Commission used to select the five languages saying that four of the five languages are being studied at tertiary institutions and are the only Sierra Leonean Languages that have standardized autography that makes it easier for a translation from other languages, whilst the Kono language was added to the four to accord more opportunities to the people of the Eastern Region to fully understand the Constitutional Review Process.
The Commissioner in charge of the Western Region, Mrs. Georgette L .O de’ Marke, referred to the project of translating relevant portions of the constitution as an eye opener and applauded the process.
She observed that people will appreciate the document since it will help them understand pertinent portions of the constitution that will further give them the opportunity of avidly determining what should be reviewed in the 1991 constitution.
The Commissioner for the Eastern Region, Alhaji Sheku Kamara, assured that the document will be put in public libraries in order to give the public the opportunity to access the document. He expressed hope that the people of the South-East will make good use of the document in order to keep them in tune with the review process.
He encouraged his people to take advantage of the opportunity and make good use of the document saying that it’s the duty of the people to know about their constitution.
The Group Leaders of the selected local languages assured the Commission of their utmost dedication to ensuring that they put in their best and come up with a document that gives the correct translation of the relevant portions of the 1991 constitution that will be easily understood by the ordinary man.