Feature Article of Monday, 22 April 2013

Columnist: Osei-Poku, Emmanuel

Language for running the affairs of the country

The Ghanaian lingua franca that is the English language as an obstacle to the development of the country.

When people question the use of the English language in the country it always gets opposed and the opposition wins because of the numerous local languages we have in the country. We all know the adoption of any specific local language of any tribe ahead of another as the official national language will hamper the national cohesion and integration in the country, we accept.

We build countries nationally not selectively, Ghana has a larger percentage of her people lacking education so why should our leaders get into the driving positions to development and communicate with the passengers in a language they do not comprehend. The lingua franca must be only for administration and management of the country’s affairs at the top and international relations while communication with the governed must be in their native languages. This must be ensured till we have the larger proportion of illiterates cut down to its lowest rate, this is how we move the nation together as one.

There must be the encouragement and establishment of local languages in the local governance in each and every region in the form of District Municipal Assemblies. A larger proportion of the Ghanaian population is acquainted with the local languages therefore for the governments to be in communication with the mass in running the affairs of the state they must adopt the native or local languages of the various localities. This must be ensured and promoted especially during election campaigns, Institute of Economic Affairs debate and mainly the media serving as a link between the governed and governors in their tackling of the problems encountering the country.

Also there must be simplification of language used in the discussion of issues relating all sectors of the country eg. Finance Budget Statement. How does the government want the people of the country to take their share of the national cake when they do not know where the cake is due to their illiteracy?
How can the leader give an independence day speech in English while the larger proportion of the citizens gathered at the Black star square is dominated by illiterates? I ask how can we vote for people we cannot understand their manifestos during elections?

This has made the complication and sophistication of our lingua franca a tool the reactionary forces in the country in the form of political parties examples are National Democratic Congress and New Patriotic Party with connection with our past colonial rulers and capitalist elites use to make the people feel like dummies, lagging behind in the social classes of development which the larger proportion of the people constitute the lower class. This must ensure breakdown of language used in the interaction with the mass making or creating an easier avenue of understanding of theories relating to governance. This profitable act I see the CPP taking significant action on in the fight to help the illiterate mass which has been typical of the revolutionary political party for ages.

A larger proportion of the Ghanaian Mass due to lack of education do not take part in state activities serious because they grasp no meaning into them. The government must educate the person that is the only way we can build on mass-participation on and they will tap into the beautiful treasure of transparency in all state affairs. I think and I believe we build a nation together as one, give the masses education at least civic education through the media as a tool to know their role in the state and participate in nation building, stand and rescue the Ghanaian heritage together or they will bring the country back all the time. That is how we progress, solving the problem of lack of mass participation in the locality or municipality relating to governance. Therefore the problems of complication and sophistication of our lingua franca must be tackled by resorting to simple language and the choice of language in our local governance.