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General News of Thursday, 4 July 2019


Parliament to consider Bill to allow dual citizens to hold public office

The government will soon lay a Bill before Parliament that allows persons with dual citizenship to hold public office, President Nana Akufo-Addo has said.

The Bill is has been described as the Diaspora Engagement Policy Bill and is being worked on by the Office of Diasporan Affairs.

The constitution excludes dual citizens from holding certain specified offices in Ghana but the President says dual citizens should not be limited in their capacity to serve.

“We know from the example of several countries where a truthful collaboration between their overseas nationals and their governments can bring for their national development and prosperity. Let us emulate them,” the President said at the Diaspora Home Coming Celebration in Accra on Wednesday.

He cited countries like China, Israel, Kenya and Ethiopia as having leveraged bonds with the diaspora for development.

The President further said, “the question of the political rights of dual citizens is a matter for Parliament and an opportunity is going to be provided soon for Parliament to address this issue.”

“I am happy about the decision taken by the Office of Diasporan Affairs headed by one of your own Akwasi Awuah Ababio, to work on the Diaspora Engagement Policy Bill. This Bill will help deal effectively with all matters affecting overseas Ghanaians.”

Restrictions for dual citizens

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.

Ghana’s 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 provision of the constitution places restrictions on dual citizens from political participation in Ghana, especially, in public elections.”

The Supreme Court of Ghana has previously reasoned that people with dual nationality cannot hold public offices because of the issue of conflict of interest, national security, and state allegiance to Ghana and confidentiality.

Other offices dual citizens cannot hold include:

1. Secretary to the Cabinet

2. Chief of Defence Staff

3. Inspector-General of Police

4. Commissioner of Customs, Excise and Preventive Service

5. Commissioner, Value Added Tax Service

6. Director of Immigration Service

7. Director-General, Prisons Service

8. Chief Fire Officer

9. Chief Director of a Ministry

Rank of Colonel in the Army or equivalent in other security services
Any other public office that the Minister may prescribe by Legislative Instrument