Ablakwa Demands Greater Action on Right of Abode Legislation

Member of Parliament for North Tongue, Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has called for elaborate campaign to promote Ghana’s Right of Abode legislation.

According to him, at a time President Akufo-Addo is projecting a Ghana Beyond Aid, the Right of Abode legislation will be timely in attracting successful persons of African descent in the Diaspora to look to Ghana as their true home where they can invest, exchange ideas and create successful partnerships.

The Diaspora, he said, has more to offer than adding to the votes tally and stressed that there is a lot more that can be achieved for the collective good of the African people across continents.

The North Tongue legislature made the call in a statement he delivered in Parliament on the Right of Abode legislation as provided under the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573) for persons of African descent in the Diaspora.

Section 17 (1) of the Act provides: “Subject to this section, the Minister may on an application and with the approval of the President grant the status of right of abode to any of the following persons: a) A Ghanaian by birth, adoption, registration or naturalization, within the meaning of the Citizenship Act who by reason of acquisition of a foreign nationality has lost his Ghanaian citizenship; and b) a person of African descent in the Diaspora.

Subsection (3) of Section 17 further provides: “A person of African descent in the Diaspora qualifies to be considered for the status of a right of abode if he satisfies the Minister that he: a) is of good character as attested to by two Ghanaians who are notaries public, lawyers, senior public officers or other class of persons approved of by the Minister; b) has not been convicted of any criminal offence and been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of twelve months or more; c) is of independent means; d) is in the opinion of the Minister capable of making a substantial contribution to the development of Ghana; and e) has attained the age of eighteen years.

Section 18 provides under subsection (1): “A person with indefinite residence status or a person with right of abode status is – a) entitled to remain indefinitely in Ghana; b) entitled to enter Ghana without a visa; c) entitled to work in Ghana either as self employed or as an employee without a work permit; and d) subject to the laws of Ghana.

Mr. Ablakwa noted that the Right of Abode provisions of Act 573 can be contextualized as a piece of legislation that recognizes the African history and reality and a reminder of the three centuries of unconscionable separation and horrendous assault on African civilisation since the 16th century transatlantic slave trade to the 1884 scramble for Africa.

“The Right of Abode provisions can therefore be seen as a bold and commendable Pan African approach towards reuniting Africa beyond a rather narrow continental unity.”

He lamented that the Right of Abode provisions contained in the Immigration Act 2000 (Act 573) has not be given the needed impetus over the last near two decades.

He argued that Ghana has played host to an army of African liberation fighters and courageous Pan Africanists of the purest kind including two of the most illustrious pan Africanists, Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois and George Padmore and stressed that the Right of Abode provisions demands of Ghana to continue to keep the African revolutionary torch aflame.

“The challenges confronting the present generation of Africans may be unique in their own rights, however, it cannot be in doubt that a concerted effort of the kind that delivered victories over slavery, oppression, subjugation and colonialism is needed today in equal measure to defeat contemporary forces such as neo-colonialism, racism, exploitation, unfair trade and poverty which are mitigating against our progress,” he stated

He argued that lack of awareness and conscious deliberate effort to utilize the provision to reconnect with Africans in the Diaspora is the greatest threat to the full realization of the Act.

He called for aggressive international publicity of the provision in the laws and all Diplomatic Missions abroad tasked to lead the charge and noted that back home, the Ministers of the Interior, Foreign Affairs and Tourism Arts and Culture be requested to draw up concrete programmes towards the full realization of this objective.

By Osumanu Al-Hassan/uthmanhass@gmail.com

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