This morning, the Supreme Court by a unanimous decision, ordered the Parliament of Ghana to expunge my name from its records as a Member of Parliament. The Court ruled that the Electoral Commission acted unconstitutionally in allowing me to contest the 2020 Parliamentary Elections without proof that I had denounced my Canadian citizenship at the time I filed my nomination in October, 2020 to contest the parliamentary elections in the Assin-North constituency.
In fact, the EC inspected my renunciation certificate in November 2020, prior to allowing me to contest the elections. Thus, I was duly qualified to run, according to the EC’s regulations, which the law presumes to be regular. Yet, the Court holds that I should have offered this proof to the EC at the time of filing for my nomination and then applies the holding retrospectively to disqualify me.
It is a matter of public record that I filed for the renunciation of my Canadian citizenship in December, 2019. It is also a matter of record that I left Canada in February, 2020. It is also a matter of record that as soon as I applied for renunciation of my Canadian citizenship and left Canada, I lost all the rights of Canadian citizenship. It is also a matter of record that I picked up my renunciation certificate from the Canadian Embassy in Accra in November, 2020.
It is also a matter of public record that Canadian law does not say I owe allegiance to Canada, even after filing for renunciation. In fact, Canadian law is unequivocal that disavowal of allegiance is subjective and can be done at any time, including immediately after swearing the oath of citizenship. Thus, under Canadian law, I owed no allegiance to Canada at all material times.
I am, of course, disappointed by the Court’s decision. I am especially surprised that the Court now says that foreign bureaucrats now determine whether natural born Ghanaians have the right to contest for parliamentary elections in Ghana or not. Thus, a country that does not allow renunciation of its citizenship can bar a natural born Ghanaian, who has severed all relations with a country of acquired citizenship, from ever standing for MP.
Nevertheless, I have turned the page on litigating this matter in the courts of justice. I leave the matter to the court of conscience, which Ghandi reminds us, supersedes all other courts.
Helping to develop my constituency has always been, and remains, my priority. I assure my constituents that nothing has changed, and I will work even harder than before to win their support and to attain these goals.
I thank the good people of Assin-North, the leadership of the NDC, my attorneys, and the numerous Ghanaians, from all sides of the political divide, who have supported me during these turbulent times. Together, we must ensure that we build a progressive and inclusive society that does not treat any of our citizens as second-class citizens.
May God bless our homeland Ghana, and bless my beloved Assin North Constituency and her people.
James Gyakye Quayson
[Assin North Constituency]