I’m Ghanaian, because the Constitution categorizes me as such and I, of my own volition and following accepted practice, subscribe to the supremacy of the Constitution on the matter. Now, just for the benefit of us the ordinary and mortal, I’ve reproduced the third chapter of our 1992 Constitution below in its entirety. Its the portion of the basic law of the land which defines who is Ghanaian. Oh, its my pleasure and you are very welcome. This service should keep us all equally informed on the subject during this conversation.
The Constitution imposes specific obligations on me, defines rights I’m entitled to by reason of being Ghanaian and indicates basic privileges I can enjoy for the same reason. The community of Ghanaians is right in expecting me to discharge those obligations without fail while I identify as a Ghanaian. By corollary reasoning, I’m entitled to expect the community of Ghanaians to uphold all my constitutional rights and privileges, at all times. Let us aspire to and make every effort to keep faith with each other by virtue of our common citizenship, as our Beta CORE attribute. It will profit us immensely. In large part, we won’t have to guess what our neighbour will, or will not do in specified circumstances but rather, can insist that he adhere to the unequivocal provisions of the Constitution he pledges to uphold.
I promise on my honour to be faithful and loyal to my fellow Ghanaian.
I pledge to defend his right to remain different.
I pledge to uphold his constitutional rights at all times.
Our Constitution certainly isn’t a perfect compendium of basic laws for Ghana. No constitution is, which is why they get amended from time to time to reflect altered circumstances, changed attitudes and so on. Thankfully, the Constituent Assembly which framed the 1992 Constitution included provisions for amending this basic law of the land. Therefore by implication, we have agreement on specific procedures for amending the basic obligations required of me as a citizen of Ghana, as well as curtailing, or augmenting my basic rights and privileges. The procedures are specific and clearly expressed in the document. There’s no uncertainty about when and to what extent my obligations, rights and privileges as a citizen should apply. In any case, we are agreed in promulgating the Constitution, that the Supreme Court shall have the final say, where clarity is needed in interpreting the document.
That offers me certainty in the specific matters covered by the Constitution, if I wish to carry myself about proudly as a Ghanaian, following as it were, the example of our President. However, I can possess that certainty only if members of the community of Ghanaians keep their part of the bargain, by upholding my right to be treated as a bona fide Ghanaian within the framework of the Constitution. And that is the reason why I should pledge to uphold your constitutional rights at all times and you, mine. There can be no uncertainty, for example, as to whether you are indeed a Ghanaian and therefore, entitled to vote in an upcoming election. To the extent that you satisfy the conditions for citizenship defined in the Constitution, I must stand ready to defend your right to be treated as such. Equally, there can be no uncertainty about my citizenship on the basis of the shape of my nose, or the amount of skin pigment I’m endowed with by nature, when the Constitution says nothing in regard to those physical attributes.
(1) 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.
(2) 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.
(3) A child of not more than seven years of age found in Ghana whose parents are not know shall be presumed to be a citizen of Ghana by birth.
(4) A child of not more than sixteen years of age neither of whose parents is a citizen of Ghana who is adopted by a citizen of Ghana shall, be virtue of the adoption, be a citizen of Ghana.
(1) A woman married to a man who is a citizen of Ghana or a man married to a woman who is a citizen of Ghana may, upon making an application in the manner prescribed by Parliament, be registered as a citizen of Ghana.
(2) Clause (1) of this article applies also to a person who was married to a person who, but for his or her death, would have continued to be a citizen of Ghana under clause (1) of article 6 of this Constitution.
(3) Where the marriage of a woman is annulled after she has been registered as a citizen of Ghana under clause (1) of this article, she shall, unless she renounces that citizenship, continue to be a citizen of Ghana.
(4) Any child of a marriage of a woman registered as a citizen of Ghana under clause (1) of this article to which clause (3) of this article applies, shall continue to be a citizen of Ghana unless he renounces that citizenship.
(5) Where upon an application by a man for registration under clause (1) of this article, it appears to the authority responsible for the registration that a marriage has been entered into primarily with a view to obtaining the registration, the authority may request the applicant to satisfy him that the marriage was entered into in good faith; and the authority may only effect the registration upon being so satisfied.
(6) In the case of a man seeking registration, clause (1) of this article applies only if the applicant permanently resides in Ghana.
(1) Subject to this article, a citizen of Ghana Shall cease forthwith to be a citizen of Ghana if, on attaining the age of twenty-one years, he, by a voluntary act, other than marriage, acquired or retains the citizenship of a country other than Ghana.
(2) A person who becomes a citizen of Ghana by registration and immediately after the day on which he becomes a citizen of Ghana is also a citizen of some other country, shall cease to be a citizen of Ghana unless he has renounced his citizenship of that other country, taken the oath of allegiance specified in the Second Schedule to this Constitution and made and registered such declaration of his intentions concerning residence as may be prescribed by law, or unless he has obtained an extension of time for taking those steps and the extended period has not expired.
(3) A Ghanaian citizen who loses his Ghanaian citizenship as a result of the acquisition or possession of the citizenship of a country other than Ghana shall, on the renunciation of his citizenship of that other country, become a citizen of Ghana.
(4) Where the law of a country, other than Ghana, requires a person who marries a citizen of that country to renounce the citizenship of his own country by virtue of that marriage, a citizen of Ghana who is deprived of his citizenship of Ghana by virtue of that marriage shall, on the dissolution of that marriage, if he thereby loses his citizenship acquired by that marriage, become a citizen of Ghana.
(1) Parliamentary may make provision for the acquisition of citizenship of Ghana by persons who are not eligible to become citizens of Ghana under the provision of this Constitution.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in article 7 of this Constitution, a person shall not be registered as a citizen of Ghana unless at the time of his application for registration he is able to speak and understand an indigenous language of Ghana.
(3) The High Court may, on an application made for the purpose by the Attorney-General, deprive a person who is a citizen of Ghana, otherwise than by birth, of that citizenship on the ground.
(a) that the activities of that person are inimical of the security of the State or prejudicial to public morality or the public interest; or
(b) that the citizenship was acquired by fraud, misrepresentation or any other improper or irregular practice.
(4) There shall be published in the Gazette by the appropriate authority and within three months after the application or the registration, as the case may be, the name,. particulars and other details of a person who, under this article applies to be registered as a citizen of Ghana or has been registered as a citizen of Ghana.
(5) Parliament may make provision for the renunciation by any person of his citizenship of Ghana.
(1) A reference in this Chapter to the citizenship of the parent of a person at the time of the birth of that person shall, in relation to a person born after the death of the parent, be construed as a reference to the citizenship of the parent at the time of the parent’s death.
(2) For the purposes of clause (1) of this article, where the death occurred before the coming into force of this Constitution, the citizenship that the parent would have had if he or she had died on the coming into force of this Constitution shall be deemed to be his or her citizenship at the time of his or her death.