It is really sad that for dirty politicking and the sake of seeking to acquire quick buck and power, by hook or by crook, some people have sought to cheapen the acquisition of Ghanaian nationality.
Before I present my argument and queries, may I ask the public one simple question? Who is issued with Ghana passport and how is it obtained?
From a publication read on Ghanaweb, sourced from the less credible Al-Hajj newspaper, but attributed to one Col. Gbevlo-Lartey, it is made clear that a holder of an NHIS card has been able to finally use the card to obtain a Ghanaian passport. However, NHIS card can be issued to both Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians. Anyone who may need healthcare services at a point in their life, whether they are Ghanaians, or legal/illegal immigrants, as long as they reside in Ghana, they do have the right to register to be issued with an NHIS card.
However, the 1992 Ghana Constitution stipulates clearly who is a Ghanaian and how Ghanaian citizenship is acquired. Without being a Ghanaian, one should not - under normal or under any circumstance be issued with a Ghanaian passport. This is my understanding and this is how it pertains in all civilized and law-abiding countries that I know of.
Nonetheless, Col. Gbevlo-Lartey has by his alleged Facebook post informed Ghanaians of how his friend had been able to procure Ghanaian passport using an NHIS card. Subsequently, he has been deriding the nation’s Supreme Court for directing the Electoral Commission to delete the names of all those registered onto the electoral roll using NHIS card, only to get same registered onto the electoral roll.
Find below an excerpt from the said publication which was under Ghanaweb’s General News of Friday, 22 July 2016 and titled, “Gbevlo Lartey mocks Supreme Court's judgement on NHIS voters”
In one of his recent posts intended to engender debate on the Supreme Court judgment in the Abu Ramadan and EC case, Col. Gbevlo-Lartey wrote, “What my fisherman friend sent me: "I used my NHIS card to obtain my voter identification card. I used my voter identification card to obtain my passport, now my name has been deleted from the voters' register because it has suddenly become illegal to use NHI card. But it's simple, now I'm going to use my passport to obtain my new VOTER ID. So what is the big deal? Waste of funds to print a new card for me. These lawyers will kill us."
My response: “Please send me some fish. Things are not balancing. As for your voter identification card, I think you have solved the problem. Congrats."
If what Col. Gbevlo-Lartey is alleging here is true, has the former Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan, who permitted the acceptance of NHIS card as proof of one’s Ghanaian identity to be registered onto the electoral roll, not cheapened the acquisition of Ghanaian nationality?
Is any holder of Ghanaian passport not a Ghanaian, whether they are proper Ghanaians, or they are legal or illegal immigrants residing in Ghana but who have managed to acquire Ghanaian passport?
As far as I know, anyone who possesses a particular country’s passport is a national of that country, period! Therefore, are we still none the wiser after severally explaining to Ghanaians that it is not right to allow people to register their names onto the electoral roll using NHIS card that is dished out not only to Ghanaians but also, both legal and illegal immigrants found in Ghana?
Is my fear not proven by what that friend of Col. Gbevlo-Lartey did? In case he was an immigrant, irrespective of being legal or otherwise, he managed to obtain Ghanaian passport by aid of the voter’s card obtained using NHIS card.
For power and what some people will obtain, material wealth and absurd fame of course, they are ready to allow foreigners, be they legal or illegal, obtain Ghanaian passports hence Ghanaian nationality on the cheap.
Yes, the Supreme Court can be mocked by Gbevlo-Lartey. He sees their directive to the EC to delete the names of voters using NHIS card from the voter register, only to ask same to be re-registered does not make sense, especially when they have subsequently dubiously managed to obtain some other forms of genuine Ghanaian identification documents.
The Supreme Court should have ordered for an entirely new national registration of voters where known immigrants could have been challenged because they are obviously known to many in the communities they live.
Ghana will live to regret for consciously or unconsciously encouraging foreigners to obtain Ghanaian nationality cheaply, without going through the properly laid down Constitutional procedures because of a particular person or a political party’s quest to rule Ghana by all means possible.
Stay tuned for more info on election 2016 in relation to the plots likely hatched by Mrs Charlotte Osei to assist President Mahama and the NDC hang on to power. But she will fail, for Ghanaians are in their large numbers calling for a change of government and there shall be a change no matter what!