There have been several arguments by concerned citizens and other political stakeholders in relation to citizenship.
The diverse opinions and ideological perspectives as to who qualifies to be a citizen has created heated arguments by political actors on the media airwaves.
The constitution of Ghana clearly explains how individuals qualifies to be a citizen in chapter three (3) of the 1992 constitution.
Article 6 clause (1) of the 1992 constitution states that “Every person who, on the coming into force of this Constitution, is a citizen of Ghana by law shall continue to be a citizen of Ghana”.
Clause (2) also states that “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a person born in or outside Ghana after the coming into force of this Constitution, shall become a citizen of Ghana at the date of his birth if either of his parents or grandparents is or was a citizen of Ghana”.
Further elaborations in clause (3) also states that “A child of not more than seven years of age found in Ghana whose parents are not known shall be presumed to be a citizen of Ghana by birth”.
Another interesting twist to this discourse is the qualification of nationality. The law outlines three main categories of nationality. Hence, a person can be a citizen by Birth, Registration through marriage and by Naturalisation.
Aside these three (3) main categories, one can become a citizen of Ghana through foundling and adoption.
Nationality by Birth
Section 3 of the Citizenship Act, 2000 (ACT 591) states that “A person born before 6th March 1957 is a citizen of Ghana by birth if (a) he was born in Ghana and at least one of his parents or grandparents was born in Ghana; or (b) he was born outside Ghana and one of his parents was born in Ghana”.
Section 4 of the Act again states that “A person born on or after 6th March 1957 and before 22nd August 1969 is a citizen of Ghana by birth if;
(a) he was born in or outside Ghana and either of his parents, and also one at least of his grandparents or great-grandparents, was born in Ghana; or
(b) in the case of a person born in Ghana neither of whose parents was born in Ghana, at least one of his grandparents was born in Ghana.
Under the Ghanaian law, nationality by birth is determined by the date and year the person was born.
Nationality by Registration and Marriage
Where a person is a citizen of any country, such a person may become a citizen of Ghana by application and approval. Such a person must be of good character, resident in Ghana for at least five years (or a shorter period in special circumstances) before the application and must be able to speak an indigenous Ghanaian language.
Also, where a non-citizen marries a citizen of Ghana, by proper application, that person can register to be a citizen of Ghana. Where there is dissolution of marriage, such a person continues to be a citizen unless the citizenship is renounced.
The registration is done after the oath of allegiance is taken and the person becomes a citizen by registration from the date stated on the certificate of Registration.
Nationality By Naturalisation
Section 13 of the Citizenship Act, 2000 (ACT 591) once again states that “The Minister maywith the approval of the President grant a certificate of naturalisation to a person of age and capacity who satisfies the Minister that he is qualified under section 14 of this Act for naturalisation.
In clause (2) “A person to whom a certificate of naturalisation is granted under subsection (1) shall take the oath of allegiance and become a citizen by naturalisation from the date on which the oath of allegiance is taken”.
A person is a citizen of Ghana by neutralization where such a person has applied to the Minister and approved by the President of Ghana. Such a person becomes a citizen after the certificate of neutralization has been issued and oath of allegiance sworn to.
Nationality by Foundling
A person is a citizen of Ghana by foundling and presumed to be a citizen by birth where the person is under seven years and was found in Ghana and such person’s parents are unknown.
Nationality by Adoption
A person is a citizen of Ghana by adoption if that person is less than 16 years and the adopted parents are Ghanaians.
Dual Nationality is acceptable under the Ghanaian laws. This means that a Ghanaian can hold citizenship in any other country and still hold citizenship in Ghana. However, a person with a dual nationality cannot hold certain public offices and cannot be a Member of Parliament or Speaker of Parliament.
The Supreme Court of Ghana has given reasons 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.
These are the fundamentals that determine the citizenship of individuals in Ghana in the country.
Source: Saint-Ayisi Samuel