Allegiance could mean a lot of things aside from citizenship – Prof Asare
A fellow at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD- Ghana), Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare is arguing that the law used to hinder James Gyakye Quayson from performing his parliamentary duty was wrongly applied.
In 2021, the Cape Coast High Court nullified the election of Mr Quayson after it found he owed allegiance to Canada at the time of filing his nomination forms to contest the polls.
This lawsuit according to Prof Asare was wrong because in the 1969 constitution, the use of allegiance was not limited to dual citizenship.
He explained that the term varies depending on the situations and context it is applied.
“Allegiance could mean a whole lot of things, allegiance means citizenship but it also can be occupation-related,” he said.
Speaking on Up Front on JoyNews, he explained that any foreigner who lives in the country owns allegiance to the state because they must abide by the laws of the state therefore, the Supreme Court basing allegiance to dual citizenship alone is wrong.
“So allegiance can be used in many context so we have to ask in what context was it used in the constitution in 1969 and we simply have to go through the memorandum from the constituent assembly of 1969 and look at paragraphs 455, 416, and paragraph 417.
“They state it explicitly that the allegiance here is occupation related. It refers to people who have taken jobs in foreign countries that are incompatible with their position as MP.
“It has nothing to do with citizenship because in 1969 we did not allow dual citizenship, in 1979, we did not allow dual citizenship, and in 1992, we did not allow dual citizenship so they have a reason, they had a meaning for it and we have just bundled it,” he lamented.
Again, he said assuming the court applied the dual citizenship bit of allegiance, it was still mistaken since the Article does not give the determination and therefore cues that must be taken from the PNDC law 284 in sections 91 and 2.
“In section 91 it says a candidate who applies to be an MP has to meet the citizenship, has to meet the residency requirement at the time that they file their nomination, it states that explicitly.
He continued that “when it goes to 94(2) it departs from that candidate language and it says a person who is disqualified from being an MP not when he is a candidate but when he goes to swear an oath when he tries to enter Parliament.”
Thus, “at the time that you are entering Parliament do you owe allegiance to a country other than Ghana?” he quizzed.
Professor backed his claims with the Electoral Commission examining the renunciation certificate before the election and certified that he was committed and qualified to run.
Embattled National Democratic Congress (NDC) member, James Gyakye Quayson has officially announced his intention to participate in the Assin North by-election scheduled for June 27.
This follows the Clerk of Parliament writing to the Electoral Commission to declare the Assin North seat vacant after the Supreme Court ruled that his name be expunged from Parliamentary records.
According to him, “I am determined to continue serving the good people of the Assin North with all my heart, soul, body and all the resources I can muster for the benefit of my constituents.”