June, 2024

The Supreme Court of Ghana has, in a landmark judgment in Francis Osei-Bonsu v The Attorney General J1/16/2023, declared sections 16(2)(a) and 16(2)(h) – (l) of the Citizenship Act 2000 (Act 591) as unconstitutional. The impugned sections provided that no citizen of Ghana shall qualify to be appointed as a holder of any of the following offices if he holds the citizenship of any other country in addition to his citizenship of Ghana:

(a) Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court

(h) Commissioner, Value Added Tax Service

(i) Director-General, Prisons Service

(j) Chief Fire Officer

(k) Chief Director of a Ministry

(l) the rank of a Colonel in the Army or its equivalent in the other security services.


Implications for Dual Citizens

The nullified sections previously restricted dual citizens from holding certain high-ranking positions mentioned above. With this ruling, dual citizens can now be appointed to roles such as Chief Justice, Commissioner of the Value Added Tax Service, and Director-General of the Prisons Service, among others.

Constitutional Consistency – Upheld Precedent for the Judgment

The Supreme Court’s judgment aligns with Article 289(2) of the 1992 Constitution, ensuring that no legislation implicitly/ indirectly amends the Constitution without following the due process set out in Chapter 25 of the Constitution for amending the Constitution.

This decision follows a similar ruling from 2012 in the case of Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare v Attorney General (2012) JELR 67018 (SC), where section 16(2)(m) was also found unconstitutional for violating Article 289.

A Step Forward for Inclusivity

This ruling is a milestone for inclusivity in governance, allowing a broader pool of qualified individuals to serve their nation without being hindered by their dual citizenship status.

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