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CITIZENSHIP; THE SOLUTION IS THE BIRTHS AND DEATHS REGISTRY

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Editorial (The Daily Searchlight, March 24, 2022)

www.ghanareaders.com

A group calling itself Concerned Zongo Citizens of Ghana are unhappy about what they claim is the treatment being meted out to members of the Muslim communities across the country.  

They have alleged that when they go to register or to get national identification documents like the Ghana Card, Passports, or birth certificates or any relevant document to prove their identity as Ghanaians, they run into difficulties. 

The group are worried about the situation whereby Zongo natives are been denied their rights to citizenship. These become especially apparent during registration exercises where local communities were denied to register in some parts of the country. 

The Zongo group has asked the government to intervene and stop discrimination against people within Zongo communities in the acquisition of identity documents.

The situation is a sensitive matter. The fact is that citizenship of a nation comes with rights and benefits. It is also the law that merely living in a community, does not grant the individual automatic citizenship. Citizenship is a creature of law, and it is only citizens who are entitled to certain documents, and certain rights.

That said, it becomes quickly apparent that the Ghana Card, as proof of nationality, is limited and would always be limited when it comes to its capacity to prove that a person is a citizen, or when it comes to establishing whether the assertion by a person that he/she is a Ghanaian, comes to be proved.

This is a limitation that existed right at the onset of the policy, and continue to be with it.

To prove whether a person is a citizen, what one needs, is a birth certificate to that effect. That being so, we call on government to begin emphasizing the Births and Deaths Registry and granting it the same level of focus that we have given the Ghana Card. If we begin to do so, in a few years, everybody who seeks to claim a right as a Ghanaian would have the documentation, right from birth, establishing that the person is a Ghanaian.

(The Daily Searchlight appears every day on the newsstands and for sale 24 hours every day and all week on www.ghananewsstand.com. Visit www.ghananewsstand.com for a wide variety of newspapers published in Ghana and from across the world.)

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