30 January 2018

Ghana: Local Government and Rural Development Minister to Answer Questions in Parliament

press release

Parliament has requested the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, to appear before the House on Tuesday, 30th January 2018 and explain matters relating to the registration of names of Ghanaians.

This follows the implementation of a policy by the Births and Deaths Registry which gives prominence to foreign names over indigenous Ghanaian names and, thereby, discriminate against the registration of local names such as "Maame, "Paapa", " Nana", "Naa", "Junior", "Nene", "Nii" and "Ohemaa" as well as determine the order in which names must be written.

The Registry has, however, claimed it is empowered to do so based on the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1965 (Act 301).

Raising the issue on the floor of Parliament, Minority Leader, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, asked that the Registrar should be summoned to explain their source of power in implementing the act.

"Mr Speaker, it means that when I give birth someone sitting somewhere wants to determine to me what name I should give to my son or daughter....," he lamented.

Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, who is also the MP for Tamale Constituency, in making reference to section 10 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, reiterated the need for the Minister and Registrar to give cause as to why they should not stop this illegality because they did not have the authority under the laws of Ghana to ban those names as well as explain why they had proceeded to do so.

"It is time public and civil servants understood that the powers given them are all written in codes and they are not entitled to exercise any powers that Parliament has not given to them. They are not given any discretion in this matter, if they think that there is the need to amend the law, the appropriate thing is to go through the respective instrument and raise the bill before the house for the appropriate thing to be done...."

The first Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Joe Osei Owusu, was enraged after the Minority had raised the matter in the House.

Source: ISD (Eva Frempon-Ntiamoah)

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