Some 23 members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Upper West Akim constituency of the Eastern Region have petitioned the party’s leadership over allegations that the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP), Joseph Sam Amankwanor holds a dual citizenship.
The constituency members and branch executives have through their lawyers, 1st Law Legal Practitioners/Consultants, served notice they may be forced to settle the matter in court if the party does not take steps to investigate it and get the MP to resign his position before the polls in 2016.
According to them, they have picked up information that the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the constituency is waiting for an opportune time to contest the MP’s eligibility, a situation that could cripple the party in the 2016 elections.
“Our clients inform us that since the MP was introduced to contest the 2008 parliamentary elections by the party, rumours have been making the rounds in and out of the constituency touching on his eligibility to hold office due to his dual nationality, both of our Republic and of the United States of America. Our clients further inform us that the party’s lack of urgency in tackling the rumours by investigating and resolving them has left the fortunes of the party in the constituency badly adrift and led to the crystallization of these rumours into real and veritable truth.”
In the letter addressed to the General Secretary of the NDC Johnson Asiedu Nketia and copied to the Eastern Regional NDC Chairman, the Constituency Chairman and the office of the MP, the petitioners said rumors about the MP being a citizen of the United States and Ghana has gained grounds with some veritable facts emerging.
They are asking the party to get the MP to resign his position so they can select a new eligible person ahead of the elections.
“As party members at the grassroots, our clients have had several encounters and interactions with party supporters that have been humbling and instructive. Our clients say to us that party members spanning the length and breadth of the constituency want a great champion with great qualities, who can put up an impressive showing at the national parliamentary elections and steer the party through some of its brightest days in the constituency.
“As you may be aware, the 1992 Constitution, as well as the Constitution of the NDC, prohibits dual citizens from occupying the office of a Member of Parliament. It is our clients’ request that the party sets in motion a process of determining the true nationality status of the MP and put this seemingly innocuous, long-neglected, but potentially damaging matter to final rest and firm resolution.
“Our client intimate to us that in order to achieve the NDC dream of equal opportunity, social mobility, ever more perfect democracy and the ‘Better Ghana Agenda’ for the Upper West Akim Constituency, this matter of the nationality of the MP must be conclusively determined devoid of rancid, openly discriminatory comments and acrimony.”
The letter said, “Our clients hope that you will regard this letter as an eloquent statement of a matter of enormous concern to the party, and a persuasive appeal to forge solutions in the party’s and national interest.”
The Upper West Akim Constituency has been a safe seat for the NDC, with the incumbent MP occupying it since 2008.
Citi News sources say although the issue about his alleged dual citizenship is known to many in the party; they quietly supported his bid till now.
It is quite unclear why the same members who supported his candidature have now revived the issue.
The NPP in the last election closed the gap by about 3,000 votes.
Ghana’s laws bar anyone from contesting for the position of MP unless the foreign nationality has been renounced for a period of time before an election.
In 2012, an NPP MP for Bawku Central, Adamu Sakande, was ordered to vacate his seat and jailed after a cattle farmer sued him for holding dual citizenship, forgery of passport and deceiving public officers.