Ghana: Laws Excluding Plural Citizens From Political Space A Constitutional Time Bomb

Published: 1/Jul/2018

By Kwaku Asare

I want to start by emphatically asserting that the current allegiance-based exclusions of plural citizens from the political space are a constitutional time bomb. To be sure, I do not dispute that allegiance is an important cultural tissue that binds the nation. When, however, it is deployed as an instrument to exclude some citizens from fully participating in the political space, it raises some profound questions about equal citizenship, which is the most fundamental value of the Republic.

I, therefore, advance the following propositions: “(i) Article 94(2)(a), hereafter the ALLEGIANCE article, is widely misunderstood and misapplied; (ii) Unamended Article 8 [1992], hereafter the SINGLE CITIZENSHIP article, committed a cardinal sin by attempting to revoke the citizenship of many Ghanaians against their will, where such citizens had not chosen to renounce same; (iii) The Constitutional Amendment to fix the SINGLE CITIZENSHIP article in 1996 (Act 527) was botched and created even more profound constitutional problems; (iv) The legislative sanctions imposed by Section 16 of Act 591 (Citizenship Act of 2000) are corrosive of democracy, constitutionalism and equal citizenship; (v) Section 13(1) of Act 959 (Special Prosecutor Act of 2018) is completely misconceived.

Consequentially, I call for the immediate repeal of Article 94(2), Article 8(2), Section 16 of Act 591 and Section 13(1) of Act 959 (Special Prosecutor Act of 2018). The common thread in each of these impugned laws is the exclusion of some Ghanaian citizens, most of them natural born, from holding certain elected or appointed offices, on questionable, speculative, and misconceived grounds.

These exclusions are antithetical to the principle of equal citizenship, which not only animates the 1992 Constitution but was the basis for the union created in 1957, after independence from the United Kingdom.

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Themes: Dual Nationality, Nationality of Politicians
Regions: Ghana
Year: 2018