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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Let Us Apply The Law Here: Kwaku Azar Teaches Supreme Court Judges On Article 8 Clause 2

I will appeal to all to read and interpret our laws with the understanding that a material variation in terms in the same text suggests a variation in meaning. 

This idea is so widely accepted that it has been elevated to a canon of interpretation and assigned a fancy name resumption of meaningful variation.  

It also follows that the same word or phrase is presumed to bear the same meaning throughout a text.

Let us apply this to articles from the Constitution.

Article 8(2) provides that “without prejudice to Article) of the Constitution, no citizen of Ghana shall qualify to be appointed as a holder of any office specified in this clause if he holds 

the citizenship of any other country in addition to his citizenship of Ghana.” 

Then Article 94(2)(a) provides that “a person shall not be qualified to be a member of Parliament if he owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana.” 

The “without prejudice” in article 8(2) alone should be sufficient to warn a serious reader that article 8(2) provides an independent disqualifying ground and differs from article 94(2)(a).

But let us assume one does not understand “without prejudice.”

The principle of meaningful variation tells us that the framers intended “allegiance to a country other than Ghana” to mean something different from “holding the citizenship of a country other than Ghana.”

To reason that article 94(2)(a) is saying the same thing as article 8(2) is to ignore the framers’ intention and to say that the variations in the two articles is completely meaningless.

Look, if we want to be a polity that values the rule of law then we must bring some seriousness and honesty to how we interpret the law. 

We cannot have judges who ignore the law or, do understand the law, or, even,m, more dangerous, misapply the law.

I will maintain that, as it has done since 1996, that article 94(2)(a) has absolutely nothing to do with dual citizenship.

That is why we stood with Adamu Sakande. That is why we are standing with Gyekye Quayson.

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