MP files private member’s bill to amend dual citizenship restrictions

Kennedy Nyarko, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Akim Swedru in the Eastern Region, has presented the Citizenship Amendment Bill to Parliament.

He presented it on the floor of the house on October 28, 2021,

The bill, if passed, will amend the 1992 Constitution to remove restrictions imposed on dual citizens and persons who owe allegiance to a country other than Ghana from holding public office.

Positions dual citizens can occupy if the bill is passed include Ambassador or High Commissioner, Secretary to Cabinet, Chief of Defence Staff, Inspector General of Police, Director of Immigration Service and MP.

The bill has been referred to the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for consideration and report.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in 2019 said the government would be laying a bill before Parliament to allow persons with dual citizenship to hold public office, described it as the Diaspora Engagement Policy Bill and was being worked on by the Office of Diaspora Affairs.

“We know from example of several countries where truthful collaboration between overseas nationals and governments bring national development and prosperity and let us emulate them,” he noted and cited countries like China, Israel, Kenya, and Ethiopia as having leveraged bonds with diaspora for development.

“The question of political rights of dual citizens is an issue for Parliament and an opportunity for Parliament to address this issue, I am happy about the decision taken by Office of Diaspora Affairs headed by Akwasi Awuah Ababio, to work on Diaspora Engagement Policy Bill to help deal effectively and efficiently with issues affecting overseas Ghanaians,” President Akufo-Addo stressed.

Among the restrictions outlined in the law, Ghanaians with dual citizenship cannot be Members of Parliament, Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court, Ambassador/High Commissioner among others.

The 1992 Constitution for example in Article 94 (2A) states that “a person shall not be qualified to be a Member of Parliament if he – (a) owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana”.

This and several other provisions of the Constitution places restrictions on dual citizens from political participation in Ghana, especially, in public elections and the Supreme Court previously reasoned people with dual nationality cannot hold public offices because of issue of conflict of interest, national security, state allegiance to Ghana and confidentiality. –citinewsroom.com

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