Feature Article of Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Columnist: Asare, Kwaku S.
S. Kwaku Asare
Samia Nkrumah, Hannah Tetteh and Adamu Dramani, hereafter the Big 3, represent the best in our political traditions. Samia is CPP, Hannah is P/NDC and Adamu is NPP.
Their constituents, have at one time or the other, voted them as their MPs: Samia representing Ellembelle; Hannah representing Senya Breku and Adamu representing Bawku Central.
Samia was born to a Ghanaian Father and an Egyptian Mother. She was educated in Egypt and UK and spent most of her adult life overseas before returning to Ghana.
Hannah was born to a Ghanaian Father and a Hungarian Mother. She was educated in Ghana and spent most of her adult life in Ghana.
Adamu was born to a Ghanaian Father and a Ghanaian Mother. He was educated in Bawku and spent his youth fighting PNDC dictatorship. Under persecution, he escaped through Burkina Faso and headed to UK, where he subsequently became a British citizen prior to returning to serve his motherland.
All are dual citizens. Only Adamu has attempted to renounce his UK citizenship.
All owe allegiance to Ghana and under our Constitution are required to swear an Oath of Allegiance as follows:
"I,.........................................................................................having been elected a member of Parliament do (in the name of the Almighty God swear) (solemnly affirm) that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Republic of Ghana as by law established; that I will uphold, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana; and that I will faithfully and conscientiously discharge the duties of a member of Parliament. (So help me God)"
Today, Samia is preparing to defend her Ellembelle seat. Hannah is a minister of state and will contest the Senya Breku seat, which she relinquished in 2008. Adamu is languishing in jail.
The judge who sentenced him to a 6-year term is yet to release his judgment. But it is the myth on the streets that Adamu is in jail because he is a dual citizen.
But nowhere in the Constitution does it say dual citizens cannot be MPs. The Constitution talks about dual allegiance and requires all citizens who become MP to swear an oath of allegiance.
Further, our laws allow dual citizenship. And Hannah and Samia are dual citizens, who have not renounced their other citizenships and who have not been prosecuted.
In the case of Egypt, renouncing is almost impossible, requiring a Presidential decree. But why would anyone argue that Hannah and Samia should give up their mother's heritage just to serve in Parliament? And in Adamu's case, his children are British. Why should he give up his children's heritage just to serve Ghana?
Our porous borders and cross-country marriages have produced many dual citizens. It could be argued that John Rawlings, former Chairman of PNDC (therefore Head of State) is a dual citizen, even though it is also clear that he probably owes no allegiance to the United Kingdom (highlighting the distinction between citizenship and allegiance, a distinction that seems to evade many people, including Judge Quist). Under these circumstances, it is best to allow dual citizens to serve as an MP, as long as the voters vote for them and they swear the appropriate oath of allegiance.
What is abundantly clear is that Adamu has become a victim of gross injustice. His trial and tribulations arose from defeating Mahama Ayariga, a minister of state, and had nothing to do with his dual citizenship and certainly nothing to do with his dual allegiance.
Regrettably, Adamu has been abandoned by NPP, his political party, which has failed to issue even a weak statement of support!
Equally surprising, Adamu has been abandoned by the media that has failed to highlight the injustice, in clear contrast to the media hoopla that surrounds the trials of other prominent politicians!
Without any doubt, Adamu is the victim of a severe perversion of justice by a Judge who has read his preferences into the criminal code, rather than defer to the Supreme Court to rule on the difference between citizenship and an allegiance! A Judge who finds Adamu to be both a citizen of and a non-citizen of Ghana. A judge who will send a man to prison for 4 years on misdemeanor charges that are lesser-included offences in a felony charge for which he has sentenced the man to a two-year term!
Our cause is to free Adamu! Our cause is to end discrimination! Our cause is to create an environment that welcomes all our citizens to contribute in whatever way they can to facilitate our progress. All hands on deck.