The Cape Coast High Court (CCHC) Decision of July 28, 2021, in the Hon. Quayson case was inconsistent with the provisions of Article 94(3) of the 1992 Constitution. The CCHC ruled that at the time of filing his nomination forms, Hon. Quayson held Canadian Citizenship and was therefore ineligible to stand for election. Below are the provisions of Article 94(3):
A person shall not be eligible to be a member of Parliament if he—
(a) is prohibited from standing election by a law in force in Ghana by reason of his holding or
acting in an office the functions of which involve a responsibility for or are connected with
the conduct of an election or responsibility for, the compilation or revision of an electoral
(b) is a member of the Police Service, the Prisons Service, the Armed Forces, the Judicial Service,
the Legal Service, the Civil Service, the Audit Service, the Parliamentary Service, the
Statistical Service, the Fire Service, the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service, the
Immigration Service, or the Internal Revenue Service; or
(c) is a chief.
The operative word here is ELIGIBLE... to put yourself up to be voted for. Hon. Quayson’s circumstances at the time of filing his nomination forms did not fall into any one of the categories listed in the above section of the constitution.
So at the time of filing his nomination forms, Hon. Quayson was 100% eligible as per Article 94(3) of the 1992 Constitution even if he had dual citizenship. In fact, he was not excluded either by Article 94(3) of the constitution or PNDC Law 284. The decision of the High court thus was wrong and erroneous.
Article 94(2)(a) is what comes close to Hon. Quayson’s situation:
(2) A person shall not be qualified to be a member of Parliament if he—
(a) owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana.
On January 07, 2021, when Hon. Quayson became a Member of Parliament, however, was not a dual citizen and he had not been a Member of Parliament anytime in the history of Ghana until January 07, 2021. It was on January 07, 2021, that Article 94(2)(a) kicked in as far as Hon. Quayson was concerned, that is being a Member of Parliament. To judge Hon. Quayson in accordance with Article 94(2) in my respectful opinion amounts to a lack of understanding of the provisions of this Article, for he was a Parliamentary Candidate, not a Member of Parliament. If Hon. Quayson was not a Canadian Citizen at the time of filing for nomination but became a Canadian citizen on January 06, 2021, could he be qualified to be a member of Parliament the following day?
If a candidate filed for nomination and this candidate is declared bankrupt on January 06, a day before Parliament opens, is this person qualified as a member of Parliament as per Article 94(2)(i) because he filed the nomination when he/she had not been declared bankrupt? How can someone who will be twenty-one years on January 07 of the year Parliament opens be disqualified because he/she was not twenty-one years on the day of filing nomination, which can be months away? The provisions of Article 94(1)(2)(4)(5) kick in on January 07. The provision of Article 94(3) kicks in at filing of nomination. Hon. Quayson’s situation falls under 94(2)(a) and kicked in on January 07, 2021, when Parliament began thus when filing for nomination, he was eligible.
It is very sad and unfortunate that The Supreme Court would, on April 13, 22, endorse this erroneous judgement.
The Supreme Court can do Ghanaians a favour, as it is paramount, by interpreting Article 94 of the 1992 Constitution in its entirety.
According to the CCHC, Hon. Quayson had his certificate of renunciation of Canadian Citizenship on November 26, 2020; eleven days before the elections and 42 days before entering Parliament hence, on entering Parliament as a member on January 07, 2021, Hon. Quayson in my opinion was qualified under Article 94(2)(a)
The CCHC ruling is totally inconsistent with Article 92(3) of the 1992 Constitution since Hon. Quayson does not fall under the listed ineligible categories. There is no where in the constitution which states that before filing for nomination one should not have any other nationality. Prospective Parliamentarians are not Members of Parliament. Hon. Quayson’s circumstances did not fall under the provisions of Article 94(3) and therefore, he is a subject of injustice.
Adverse decisions and threats to prevent the diaspora from helping solve the country’s problems are not helpful.
Nana Osei Mensah Bonsu
(Migration and Citizenship Consultant)