French as Ghana’s 2nd language “disrespectful” – Okyeame Kwame

Ghanaian musician, Kwame Nsiah-Apau, known in showbiz as Okyeame Kwame, has criticised the government over attempts to make French the country’s second official language.

According to Okyeame Kwame, who is also a tourism ambassador, the suggestion by the government “is disrespectful to our pride and culture”.

In a tweet on Thursday, 21 March 2019, the 2009 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) Artist of the Year questioned why a local language was not considered but a foreign one.

His tweet follows comments by Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, that the decision by the Anglophone West African country to use French as a second language is a major concern of the government of Ghana, in line with national priorities.

She reiterated plans by the government to include the promotion of the learning of French in basic schools and across all other levels of learning, as part of a general reform of Ghana’s education sector.

The minister, however, regretted the inadequate number of French teachers in the country and limited learning and teaching materials, encouraging more participation and support in this area.

Ms Ayorkor Botchwey was addressing the opening session of the 2019 La Francophonie week in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, themed: “Say it in French…please”.

“We believe that the extensive teaching and learning of French will inure to the benefit of Ghana as we are bordered by three Francophone countries; namely, Togo, Burkina Faso and La Cote d’Ivoire”, the Hon. Foreign Minister stressed.

She intimated that prioritising the French language in Ghana has become even more necessary now so as to further enhance relations for better cooperation at all levels with the country’s Francophone partners.

The Ghanaian Foreign Minister opined that government’s strong participation in this year’s Francophonie week celebrations also lends credence to the continued desire of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for Ghana to become a full Member of La Francophonie, since becoming an Associate Member in 2006.