The Executive Editor of Awake News, Efo Korsi Senyo has waded in the debate surrounding the Supreme Court of Ghana’s ruling that Birth Certificate cannot be accepted as a form of identification in Ghana.
Reacting to the issues on his facebook page, Efo Korsi Senyo said “Surely, Ghana has moved 50years backward. We are now struggling to define who a Ghanaian is and have reduced our birth certificate to weighing card”
The apex court ruling was in the matters brought before it by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and a private individual, Mark Takyi Banson challenging the decision of the Electoral Commission of Ghana to exclude the old voters’ ID card and Ghanaian birth certificates as one of the primary documents required for proof of citizenship in the acquisition of the new voters’ ID card in the ongoing new voters’ registration exercise.
The Supreme Court on June 25, 2020 ruled in favour of the Electoral Commission giving it the green light to go ahead with the compilation of the new register in accordance with C.I. 126.
The decision written by Justice Ashie Kotey states that a birth certificate does not link its holder to the information it contains. It adds that it provides no evidence of citizenship.
The court compares it to another document it has already rejected; the National Health Insurance Cards and concludes it’s actually better than the Birth Certificate.
It is worthwhile to note that the birth certificate is used as a source document for various registrations including passports which are currently being used in voter registration.
Reaction from other prominent Ghanaians
The Dean of the University of Cape Coast Business School, Prof. John Gatsi; Founding President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe and Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil all is agreed with the decision of the Supreme Court.
Prof. Gatsi in his facebook post wrote:
Identity in the Ghanaian Birth Certificate -Prof John Gatsi
Since 1965 when an Act of parliament was enacted to regulate registration of births and deaths in Ghana it was very clear that a birth certificate gives citizenship and nationality identity.
For the avoidance of doubt identity does not mean photographs it may at best be described as facial identity.
Identity is a common expression by sociologists and anthropologists and their is no difficulty as to what they mean. Cultural identity for example does not mean pictures of a particular culture , at best pictures will pass for one of the features of “identity “.
Identity includes name, place of birth, ethnicity, parents, nationality Place of birth and hometown. We can add pictures as an enhancement of identity but a picture cannot be an embodiment of “identity “
In issuing legal certificate by the Ghana School of Law, the hometown is written boldly on the certificate. I believe that gives a unique identity.
Also an identity of a person must be certified by a person clothed with authority to do so. That is why every birth certificate is certified by the Registrar of Births and Deaths in each office.
Birth certificate therefore gives conclusive evidence of the identity and citizenship of the bearer.
Now think about the requirement of Article 62 of the 1992 Constitution
“A person shall not be qualified for election as the President of Ghana unless –
(a) he is a citizen of Ghana by birth;”