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Re: Perpetuating the confusion between citizenship and allegiance in Assin North

Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare Azar Ghanaian Accounting and Law Professor, Mr. Kwaku Asare

Mon, 18 Apr 2022 Source: Rockson Adofo

Many a time I found it difficult to comprehend some of our Ghanaian academics, legal luminaries, and politicians when it comes to interpreting certain aspects of the nation’s 1992 constitution in terms of unfolding events.

I still do not understand them when they go in circles in their attempts to explain the meaning and significance of some straightforward, self-explanatory articles, clauses, and sections of the constitution.

They often end up complicating the understanding of such laws, thereby, inextricably entangling themselves and finally, exposing themselves as probably, shallow-minded academics unworthy of public attention.

Ghana's Constitution of 1992 with Amendments through 1996 provides in Article 94 Section 2 (a) that “A person shall not be qualified to be a member of Parliament if he-

a. owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana.

The above constitutional clause is in plain English to be understood by anyone with a little formal education, or little knowledge of the Queen’s language.

However, we have a whole Ghanaian Accounting and Law professor residing in the United States of America, publishing, as usual, his different comprehension hence the interpretation of the above stated constitutional clause on the “qualification and eligibility for the first chamber”.

In his publication on Modernghana of Saturday, 16th April 2022, and under the heading, “Perpetuating the confusion between citizenship and allegiance in Assin North”, our respected Ghanaian Accounting and Law Professor, Mr. Kwaku Asare, writes;

“Article 94(2)(a) provides that “a person shall not be qualified to be a member of Parliament if he owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana.”

It does not provide that “a person shall not be qualified to be a member of Parliament if he is a citizen of a country other than Ghana.”

He goes on and on to offer a detailed explanation which for me, ends up confusing one’s understanding of the plain English in which the clause stated in the constitution is written.

He plays with the words ALLEGIANCE and CITIZENSHIP to confound many Ghanaians about the actual meaning of the clause; thus, specification on the prohibition of one owing allegiance to another country from becoming a member of parliament in Ghana.

He can continue to play on the minds of some Ghanaians with his explanations as much as he wants but not on all Ghanaians.

To avoid spending my time unnecessarily, as time is not on my side today, I shall resort to the dictionary and the internet to cite the following which may better enhance the understanding of many a Ghanaian what actually the constitution means by the clause under discussion.

ALLEGIANCE is defined by the dictionary as, “loyalty or commitment to a superior or to a group or cause” – and goes on to put it into a sentence to expatiate on its meaning and when it can be used or applied - "those wishing to receive citizenship must swear allegiance to the republic"

b(1): the fidelity owed by a subject or citizen to a sovereign or government, I pledge allegiance to my country. (2): the obligation of an alien to the government under which the alien resides.

CITIZENSHIP is defined, and means, (1) “the state of being a member of a particular country and having rights because of it:- He was granted Canadian citizenship.

(2) “the state of having the rights of a person born in a particular country: He was granted Canadian citizenship last year.

Wikipedia has the following explicit explanation to give of both CITIZENSHIP and ALLEGIANCE.

“Naturalization (or naturalisation) is the legal act or process by which a non-citizen of a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country. It may be done automatically by a statute, i.e., without any effort on the part of the individual, or it may involve an application or a motion and approval by legal authorities.

[1] The rules of naturalization vary from country to country but typically include a promise to obey and uphold that country's laws and taking and subscribing to an oath of allegiance, and may specify other requirements such as a minimum legal residency and adequate knowledge of the national dominant language or culture.

To counter multiple citizenships, some countries require that applicants for naturalization renounce any other citizenship that they currently hold, but whether this renunciation actually causes loss of original citizenship, as seen by the host country and by the original country, will depend on the laws of the countries involved”.

Now, what further has Kwaku Asare aka Kwaku Azaar, to tell Ghanaians in his defence of Gyakye Quayson, the current but barred member of parliament for Assin North Constituency who at the time of filing his application forms with the Ghana Electoral Commission to contest for the Assin North Constituency parliamentary seat, on the ticket of NDC, was a dual Canadian and Ghanaian citizen?

Could he be exonerated from blame or criminal prosecution for simultaneously owing allegiance to both Canada and Ghana at the time of filling and submitting his application form(s) to contest for the parliamentary seat?

How I hope my learned Ghanaian compatriot, Mr. Kwaku Asare, would stop giving different interpretations to constitutional clauses or laws oftentimes written in simple English, to cease misleading people and courting animosity for the judges who base their rulings on the proper meaning, interpretation, and understanding of the laws.

I will not go any further since I find myself done on this issue.

For partisanship and unhealthy politicization of policies and issues in Ghana, many a Ghanaian academic does come out with views and explanations that better suit their parochial political persuasions hence often twisting the real meaning of the laws and constitutional clauses in a manner to throw the dust into our eyes to win the support of unsuspecting Ghanaians.

Columnist: Rockson Adofo