Birth Certificate Is Not Proof Of Ghanaian Citizenship – Godfred Dame, Deputy Attorney General

A birth certificate is a mere record of birth and not a proof of Ghanaian citizenship, Deputy Attorney General Godfred Dame has said, backing a Supreme Court verdict.

He said the birth certificate which bears the names of one’s parents and their nationality is not enough to prove that an individual is a Ghanaian because the information there is not verifiable.

Mr Dame said the document to proof one’s Ghanaian-ness is by going through the National Identification Authority’s process of acquiring a Ghana Card.

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In the event of a challenge of one’s citizenship, a certificate of citizenship issued by the Interior Minister after investigations under laws of the country is the only way to confirm one’s citizenship, he added.

“The fact that you are born on the land of Ghana does not mean you are a citizen.

“When it is stated here [on birth certificate] your mother is a Ghanaian or your father is a Ghanaian when there has not been any verification…it cannot be evidence of citizenship,” the Deputy A-G told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Friday.

His assertions come in reaction to a Supreme Court ruling which declared that birth certificates cannot be a proof of citizenship.

“A birth certificate is not a form of identification. It does not establish the identity of the bearer. Nor does it link the holder with the information on the certificate. Quite obviously, it provides no evidence of citizenship,” the Supreme Court verdict said in part.

The ruling was in the matter of the NDC and another vs the Attorney General.

The plaintiffs were seeking to expand the required documents Ghanaians can use to obtain a voters’ ID, one of them asking for birth certificates to be included.

But the Supreme Court said a birth certificate does not satisfy the requirements of the article 42 of the Constitution.

“In fact, as a form of Identification, it is worse than the NHI card which was held to be unconstitutional as evidence of identification of a person who applies for registration as a voter…” the court said.

The ruling has, however, been met with widespread criticism from some notable legal practitioners, among them Dean of the Faculty of Law of University of Professional Studies.

Dean of the UPSA law faculty, Kofi Abotsi has said the ruling undermines the products of state institutions.

But responding to him, Mr. Dame said his comment rather undermines the apex court, describing Mr. Abotsi’s words as uncalled for.


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