Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Kennedy Nyarko Osei

Member of Parliament (MP) for Akim Swedru in the Eastern Region, Kennedy Osei Nyarko, has laid before Parliament a Bill, that if passed, will allow persons with dual citizenship to hold public office.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill presented on Thursday has been forwarded to the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.

Currently, Ghanaians who are citizens of another country are barred from holding public office, such as Chief Justice, Ambassador or High Commissioner, Chief Fire Officer, Chief Director of a Ministry, Inspector-General of Police, Member of Parliament, etc.

But the Bill is seeking for such restrictions to be removed.

If passed, dual citizens can be considered for various public offices, including Chief of Defence Staff, Inspector-General of Police, Ambassador of High Commissioner, Director of Immigration Service, Secretary to Cabinet, and Member of Parliament.

In 2019, President Nana Akufo-Addo mentioned that a Bill was being worked on by the Office of Diasporan Affairs for such purposes.

Speaking at the Diaspora Home Coming Celebrations in Accra, the President mentioned that there were “several countries where a truthful collaboration between their overseas nationals and their governments can bring for their national development and prosperity.”

“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,” he said at the 2019 event.

Over the years, several persons, especially MPs, have been prosecuted for vying for public office whilst holding allegiance to another country other than Ghana.

The recent case is that of James Gyakye Quayson, the embattled Assin North MP.

He is currently at the Appeals Court seeking a reversal of a High Court ruling that ordered his removal from office as an elected MP.

A Cape Coast High Court had annulled his election because the NDC Parliament candidate had breached the constitution’s provisions concerning dual citizenship.

In 2012, an Accra Fast Track High Court sentenced the then MP for Bawku Central, Adamu Daramani Sakande, now late, over his dual citizenship status.