Source: Modern Ghana
By Stephen Kwaku Asare, Professor
Article 94(2)(a) provides that a person is not qualified to be a member of Parliament if he owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana. This article did not and could not have aimed at disqualifying a group of Ghanaians, numbering in the millions.
Modern Constitutions are not drafted that way and should not be interpreted to devalue citizenship or create fractional citizenship. Considering that the values of equal citizenship, inclusiveness, and representativeness animated the Constitution, the article could certainly not have disqualified Ghanaians based on their status
Rather, article 94(2) was targeted at a Ghanaian who has been adjudged to engage in certain prohibited acts that are inimical to the interests of the country.
One only has to look at the other prohibited acts in article 94(2) to get an appreciation of the character of the allegiance related disqualification.
For instance, the article disqualifies a Ghanaian who has been adjudged
- detained as a criminal lunatic;
- convicted for high crime, high treason, treason or for an offence involving the security of the State, fraud, dishonesty or moral turpitude;
- found by the report of a commission of inquiry to be incompetent to hold public office or that while being a public officer he acquired assets unlawfully or defrauded the State or misused or abused his office, or willfully acted in a manner prejudicial to the interest of the State;
- is under sentence of death or other sentence of imprisonment imposed on him by any court;
- is not qualified to be registered as a voter under any law relating to public elections;
It is obvious that article 94(2) goes after a Ghanaian who has engaged in a prohibited act, that is clearly inimical or prejudicial to the interests or security of the country, or that raises questions about their trustworthiness, and who has been adjudged culpable after going through some due process, and who cannot do penance by merely disavowing or renouncing his actions.
The article imposes a penalty (i.e., the disqualification) for palpable, prohibited, and egregious misconduct.
To add a person who hold the citizenship of another country to this list of criminal and serious infractions is to reduce interpretation to silliness and to completely ignore the spirit of the Constitution.