Deputy Attorney-General Godfred Dame has accused the opposition NDC of politicizing a Supreme Court judgment that said a birth certificate does not grant citizenship.
Godfred Dame said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has always known that the certificate does not guarantee citizenship but it has been criticizing the decision, which has raised hairs on sections of social media.
The Suprme Court had explained its decision in response to a suit filed by a private citizen, Mark Takyi Banson, and said the information on the birth certificate does not have any link to the bearer of the document.
Mr. Dame whose position the seven judges upheld unanimously has explained there is no automatic citizenship granted by birth in Ghana. The birth certificate only records birth in Ghana.
“Just merely being born in Ghana…shouldn’t entitle you to a claim of citizenship.”
For citizenship to be granted, further confirmation of the parent’s citizenship is required.
The deputy A-G said just like the plaintiff went to court to ask for the inclusion of the birth certificate as a recognised document to obtain the new voter ID card, the NDC also went to court.
But the NDC went to court to ask for the inclusion of the old voter ID cards as good enough to obtain a new one.
He said the reason why the NDC did not ask for the inclusion of the birth certificate was because they knew that since 1992, the birth certificate has not been used by the EC to grant a voter’s ID card.
“It is for this reason why the NDC never made a case at all that birth certificate should be used as nationality. They never made a case at all.”
The deputy A-G also criticised the 2020 NDC presidential candidate, John Mahama for his reaction to the Supreme Court when he pointed to a conspiracy to deprive the Ghanaian of citizenship.
Agreeing with the position of the deputy A-G, veteran journalist, Abdul Kweku Baako, said the insufficiency of the birth certificate in identifying a citizen is part of the reasons why the EC has never used it for giving a voter ID card.
Why the judgment has triggered some confusion?
While the Supreme Court rejects the birth certificate as proof of citizenship, the document is used by the Passport Office for granting a passport.
The Electoral Commission accepts the passport as proof of citizenship but not the birth certificate which is used to produce a passport.
But the confusion among the two state institutions gets worse.
The National Identification Authority issues the Ghana card which is the latest project by the government to finally settle the problems of determining citizenship.
The NIA accepts a birth certificate as proof of citizen.
The EC accepts the Ghana card as proof of citizenship but not the document which the NIA used to grant the Ghana card.
There are documented irregularities and illegalities in acquiring a birth certificate in Ghana.
The documentary ‘Paper Citizens’ produced by JoyNews detailed how officials of the Births and Deaths Registry were illegally issuing birth certificates to foreigners to help them acquire Ghanaian passports.
Some Ivorians, Cameroonians and Nigerians were the main beneficiaries of the criminal dealings. They pay as little as GH¢150, to acquire the certified documents, the documentary found.
These problems at the Birth and Death Registry is believed to be part of the reasons why the Electoral Commission has never used the birth certificate as proof of citizenship in issuing a voter ID card.
The constitutional instruments from C.I. 12, C.I. 75, C.I. 91, C.I 95 and the recent C.I 126 laid by the EC for the conduct of elections has never used the birth certificate as proof of eligibility.
The Supreme Court in its judgment appears to have acknowledged this situation.
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