Government of Ghana considers implementing a bill which will allow dual citizens to hold public office

The government of Ghana says it will soon lay a bill before Parliament that allows persons with dual citizenship to hold public office in the country.

President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo

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

President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made the revelation on Wednesday, June 3, 2019, while opening the Ghana Diaspora Celebration and Third Homecoming Summit in Accra.

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

The summit was part of the Year of Return to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first 20 West African slaves in the United States.

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.” 

Tracing the contribution of Diasporans to their home countries all over the world, the President expressed excitement at the decision for the Office of Diaspora Engagement Policy Bill.

He explained that the bill would deal effectively with all matters affecting overseas Ghanaians, noting that beyond the remittances they send back, they have a crucial role to play towards the growth and development of the country.

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

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:

  • Secretary to the Cabinet
  • Chief of Defence Staff
  • Inspector-General of Police
  • Commissioner of Customs, Excise and Preventive Service
  • Commissioner, Value Added Tax Service
  • Director of Immigration Service
  • Director-General, Prisons Service
  • Chief Fire Officer
  • 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

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