LAND OF OUR BIRTH
The Government of Ghana in the formation of policies should take into accounts the constitution of the Republic so as not to abuse the fundamental human right of her citizens.
The Government should recognize the country as a democratic state and disengage in policies which discriminate against the people so as to create a level playing field for all.
For instance, putting two tags on one commodity like the Ghanaian passport which is selling at express cost of GH¢100.00 whilst the same application form goes at GH¢50.00 for regular applicants which will be issued between 15-21 days for the regular and 7-9 days for the express.
This is in contravention of article 17(3) of the 1992 constitution of the republic of Ghana. For the purpose of this article “Discrimination” means to give different treatment to different persons attributable only or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, place of origin, political, opinion, colour, gender, occupation, religion or creed, whereby persons of one description are subjected to disabilities or reservations to which persons of another description are not made subject or are granted privilege or advantage which are not granted to persons of another description.
Again, article 15(1) the dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.
The selection of, (a) A Senior clergyman or woman. (b) A commissioned officer of the Armed forces (Captain in and above) or persons of equivalent rank in the security services (c) A Senior civil servant (Principal Executive officer and above) (d) Registered Medical Practitioner (e) A solicitor or barrister (f) Head of a recognized Educational Institution (g) Other recognized professionals registered with their respective regulatory bodies as persons to endorse a passport application form is equally unconstitutional.
On this occasion, nobody is too important, everybody is important, one election day every Ghanaian of 18 years and above and of sound mind go to the pools to vote, do this people lost their dignity after the election?
This notwithstanding, the passport office rejected my voter’s identity card (ID) which is one of the requirements for passport applications, this was rejected on the bases that, only a birth registration or a birth certificate permits one to qualify for a passport in this regard, thus, to show the true identity of one’s citizenship.
Meanwhile, article 42- every citizen of Ghana of eighteen years of age above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda.
On this note, article 42 is been challenged since every voter must proof his true identity with his or her birth registration before any national identity card of any kind is issued to the person, it will mean that the citizenship of a Ghanaian can only be confirmed with his or her birth registration, therefore any registered voter who hold a voter’s identity card (ID) who have not gotten a birth registration is illegal.
The question then arises, who is a Ghanaian citizen?
The passport office may have breached article 23- Administrative bodies and administrative officials shall act fairly and reasonably and comply with the requirements imposed on them by law and persons aggrieved by the exercise of such acts and decisions shall have the right to seek redress before a court or other tribunal.
On the other hand, the citizenship of a Ghanaian is proven to be one who holds a birth registration, the electoral commission and the Government of Ghana will be held responsible for the inadequacies, this will then mean, the passport application forms must be cleared of the errors therein.
Meanwhile, every new policy have the tendency of suffering some injuries and the biometric passport forms must be seen as one with regard to the issuing of passports and this need corrections.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration haven’t created an express situation for some to have their passports at GH¢100.00 other too have taken advantage to create a supper express condition to get passports between GH¢250.00- GH¢300.00 whilst the Birth Registration/ Certificate is purchased at GH¢50.00 – GH¢60.00 at the black market since this is the only requirement for a passport.
On that faithful day when we were lead into the hall where we must submit our passport application forms, the hall was already full within moments, it was clear that, all person selected for the day’s service had been served and I was an exception. Later I was identified by an officer who attended to me earlier in the day, he then introduced me to a lady who then took my picture and another man gave me a piece of paper indicating the collection date as 24 /4/ 2014 of my passport.
I drew the attention of the office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, their responds was that, I must send them a petition then they can investigate my claims.
On 24 / 4/ 2014, I went for my passport, it was another story. I was again given another form and was asked to come in a months’ time. This time, I tried to find out what the challenges were and I was told that, only the head of office can have answers to my question. I tried again, to put some questions to the sector Minister, I was not successful.
Since the demand was to re appear the following month, I took time off and presented myself on 29th May, 2014 thus the third month.
Again, I was asked to come again the following month and the Head office was the one who must take the blame since according to the Regional office, they have played their role. There are no mechanism to even know whether your passport application form have been submitted to the head office because people are not allow to check on basic information on the passport at the head office.
Adding to the above, regardless of the fact that passport application applicants are unable to receive their passport within the time scheduled volumes of application forms are processed each passing day.
What the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration must recognize here is that, one’s inability to access a passport at the stated time thereon, is denying one her national identity.
They must therefore stop toiling with the life of the people, for instance, questioned why dates are written on a collection slip and what I was told is that, it will indicate the number of times I have been to their office and if my appearance there becomes too much than something can be done about it, this is in sharp contrast with the 7-9 day and 15-21 day for the collection of a passport.
When there is a scarcity, there is bound to be corruption the Government must open up and decentralize these institutions to allow for free flow of services and to remove any difficulties associated with the provision of service in our Department and Agencies.
Is important the people have answers to their questions at the district in which they live, whilst the regional offices play a supervising role in the regions for the Head Office to superintend over the regional offices. In this way, we will be giving meaning to local governments, the passport office, the Birth and Death Registry, the Register General Department, The Rent Control Department and the Driver vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA). This will bring sanity, remove delays and ensure efficiency in the system; it will also employ a few more hands at the District levels.
Ghanaian are suffering such hardships because, employer have turned state institution into private engagements.