The vice president of IMANI Africa, Bright Simons, has challenged the view of Justice nominee Chief Justice nominee Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkornoo that the birth certificate cannot be used to prove that one is Ghanaian.
Simons explained that since a person is said to be Ghanaian if one of his/her parents is and the birth Certificate indicates whether a person’s parent is Ghanaian or not, it (the Birth Certificate) can be used as proof of nationality.
The IMANI vice president, in a tweet shared on Friday, May 26, 2023, suggested that Justice Torkornoo’s knowledge of the laws of the country does not mean that she is always right.
“Ghana people, it doesn’t matter how much judicial eminence is used to obscure this simple fact, in Ghana: A) one can obtain citizenship if either parent is Ghanaian. B) Birth Certs indicate whether or not either parent is Ghanaian. C) Ergo, a birth cert is PROOF of citizenship,” parts of the tweet read.
The IMANI vice president made these remarks while reacting to a GhanaWeb article on the comments the chief justice nominee made about the Birth Certificate.
What the Justice Torkornoo said:
Speaking, during her vetting at Parliament on Friday, May 26, 2023, Justice Torkornoo explained that in Ghana, citizenship is not determined by place of birth but by lineage.
“Citizenship is a matter of law; nationality is a matter of law. In certain jurisdictions being born in that place makes you a citizen of that country. In our country being born in Ghana does not make you a citizen of Ghana.
“It is your relationship with your mother, it is your mother’s identity, it is your father’s identity. It is your lineage that determines your citizenship.
“So, that form (the Birth Certificate) is actually an international requirement, we must know where everybody is born. That form assists to know your antecedent but beyond that, your nationality is derived from the information on that form. It is not the evidence of your nationality, it is the beginning of appreciating how your nationality must be determined,” she said.
The chief justice nominee made these remarks while answering a question on the Supreme Court ruling in 2020 that the birth certificate cannot be used as proof of nationality by the Member of Parliament for Adaklu, Kwame Governs Agbodza.
Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkornoo, a justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, is being vetted for the Chief Justice position of the country after her nomination by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
If approved by the Parliament of Ghana, Justice Torkornoo will be the third appointment to the office of Chief Justice since Akufo-Addo became president in 2017.
She will also be the third female Chief Justice in the history of Ghana, following in the footsteps of Justices Georgina Theodora Wood and Sophia Akuffo.
View Simons’ tweet plus a video of Justice Torkornoo’s remarks below: