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Opinions of Monday, 10 April 2017

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Exemptions ought to be made for dual-citizenship victims of the Rawlings posse

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York


I have been following this citizenship renunciation circus since cabinet and deputy cabinet appointees-designate of the Akufo-Addo Administration began appearing before the Parliamentary Appointments Committee (PAC) with amused contempt, in particular the orgiastic delight with which the National Democratic Congress’ PAC minority members appear to relish quizzing candidates over the same.

The unspoken subtext here appears to be that, somehow, those candidates who either have dual citizenship, often longtime residents of the United States, who recently renounced their American citizenship in the wake of their nomination for cabinet and other high-level appointments are, somehow, less patriotic than those whose political patriarch, namely, Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, made the acquisition of the option of a second nationality an imperative necessity (See “I’ve Renounced My US Citizenship – Adu-Boahen Tells Appointments Committee” / 3/28/17).

Other than spoiling for the two most powerful political offices of the land, namely, the Presidency and the Vice-Presidency, I see absolutely no big deal in having a Ghanaian-born American citizen, for example, serve as a Minister of State of their country of birth. And maybe for the sake of dispelling all doubts, an exception could also be made of the Office of the Chief Justice and Speaker of Parliament.

Let’s face it, more non-dual Ghanaian citizens, among them Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome, Mrs. Betty Mold-Iddrisu and Mr. Barton-Odro, the former Deputy Attorney-General, have done far more harmful deeds to betray the trust of Ghanaian citizens and voters than many of these former dual-citizenship holders, whose only crime appears to be that they were self-respecting and self-loving enough to have flatly refused to accept the sort of blistering humiliation brought upon them by the Rawlings Posse who, by the way, continue to do untold damage to the country.

That the Constitution of Ghana allows for the acquisition of dual citizenship is all the more reason why responsible former dual-citizenship holders like Mr. Charles Kofi Asare Adu-Boahen, the Deputy Finance Minister-Designate, ought not to be forced into becoming what the great 18th-century British-American philosopher and thinker, Mr. Thomas Paine, once described as “Fair-Weather Citizens.”

What is quite interesting here is that not quite long ago, a dual-citizenship holder and a retired Ghanaian-born American high school principal was allowed to serve as mayor of our nation’s capital.

It appears that a double-standard has been established, whereby Ghanaians with political and/or ideological affiliation to the Rawlings-minted National Democratic Congress are exempted from studiously obeying the laws of the land. But that the leaders of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) appear to have practically accepted this patently unsavory status of second-class citizenship, is all the more to be lamented.

Today, I suppose Mayor Oko Vanderpuije, after testing the political waters of Ghana and finding the going to be great, has renounced his US citizenship to become a full-fledged Ghanaian. I even believe that I recently came across a news article which told of the former Accra mayor’s having won a parliamentary seat on the ticket of the now-main opposition National Democratic Congress. Don’t get me wrong, my dear reader, I dearly love my country of birth with all my heart, mind and soul. Nevertheless, I also don’t for a split-second suppose that I would so readily give up any aspect of my dual Ghanaian-American citizenship or identity for the decidedly thankless job of a deputy cabinet appointee in any government in the country.

You see, I don’t suppose that cynical political scam-artists like Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, the National Democratic Congress’ Parliamentary Minority Leader, realizes what is at stake for well-educated and employed people like Mr. Adu-Boahen to opt for some Mickey-Mouse appointment as Deputy Finance Minister of Ghana. It is purely a labor of love unless, of course, your name is Stephen Opuni and you also happen to be the blood relative of Mrs. Lordina Mahama, the former First Lady of our Republic.

*Visit my blog at: Ghanaffairs