The Supreme Court verdict on the exclusion of birth certificates as evidence of one’s identity for the ongoing voters’ registration, Ghanaians are yet to settle down in our minds. Ghanaian by birth? Yes, Can my birth certificate prove it? I don’t know.
If not for the judgement passed, many of us would not have known that we were citizens of no nation. We have been parading ourselves as Ghanaians without any proof.
Many were proud to draw out their birth certificates with either both parents or one being Ghanaian. But henceforth, we all have to shelve that piece of paper called the birth certificate because it has no value.
I am a Ghanaian by birth, but my birth cert can’t prove it, who am l? Very difficult to answer.
That said, it looks like many of us and our children who have no passport, nor Ghana card or Voters ID cards are not Ghanaians enough. Yes, your parents are Ghanaians if they have the voters ID card and or the Ghana Card issued by the National Identification Authority, but you can at best borrow your citizenship from your parents until you acquired one yourself at age 18.
Per the laws of Ghana as I know it as a novice of law, a person can be a citizen by Birth, Registration through marriage and by Naturalization. These are the basic means but is our births and deaths registry now important at all?
Per the decision of the highest court of the land, does it imply that one cannot be deemed to be a citizen of this country by birth and for that matter, the birth certificates you and I hold are worthless papers?
The courts to me are right 100%. Why won’t the courts refuse to rule for the inclusion of birth certificates when it has become so easy to acquire one whether you are a Ghanaian or not. Today those who provide the birth certificate services at the various district assemblies, metropolitan, regional and national health centres are not really helping matters. Foreigners have easy access to Ghana birth certificates, even if they were never born in this country. You can easily get a birth certificate by conjuring some Ghanaian names for your parents.
Allowing the use of birth certificates would create the same problem the EC is trying to solve as foreigners in neighbouring countries would then be able to use this legitimate in nature but fake in content and substance national document as evidence of nationality.
I am a Ghanaian by birth, but my birth cert can’t prove it, who am l? I don’t know, can you help?
A better system that allocates a unique code per birth or child in Ghana and an instant birth certificate generated through our health centres will be somewhat good enough to deal with the many fake birth certificates in this country.
With photoshop common today, there may be many birth certificates out there that are not original and never found in the data of the Ghana births and deaths register.
We have gradually destroyed our easiest way of identifying who a Ghanaian is and who is not by our own actions. The best we have left is to guard and guide against the attempt by foreigners to register for the voters’ ID and register compilation using the guarantor means.
This is how far we have failed ourselves as Ghanaians, that we cannot tell who is a Ghanaian because you can find a typical Nigerian having a Ghanaian passport or having a Ghanaian birth certificate when he or she was never born here or has not lived in Ghana long enough to qualify to acquire the citizen of Ghana legally. The same applies to Togolese but confusing is how-to separate them from Ghana when many Ghanaians easily cross and leave in Togo or work there on a daily basis.
It is easier for a foreigner to acquire a Ghanaian birth certificate than a Ghanaian because of corruption at the birth and deaths registry by some staff. They will do anything to get money. In our attempt to dissect the ant to find the truth, as to who is and is not a Ghanaian let us be careful we don’t kill the ant all together.
Until we find an easier way to determine who a Ghanaian is right from birth. I am a Ghanaian by birth, but my birth cert can’t prove it. Who am l?
Source: Wisdom Hammond