work permit

The issue of national security, allegiance, and dual citizens’ full participation in the political space has now come of full age. Never in the history of Ghana has this issue become such a reality, ironically, for the very Legislature that is responsible for its repeal. It is a “constitutional time bomb,” one writer noted (Asare, 2018). That time bomb is in the countdown phase to detonation. For the second time, we do have, de facto, dual citizens who have participated in Parliamentary proceedings, howbeit, illegally (i.e., Adamu Sakande and James Gyakye Quayson), from the two major political parties, NPP and NDC respectively. It has most of the time been the case with both parties that when in opposition, and overseas money is desperately needed to run party activities, then lip service is paid to dual citizens’ full participation and inclusion in the political space. Once in power, the issue is relegated to the background. But this time around, the issue has become even more critical. It has been thrust to the forefront, for both the Ruling and the Opposition parties.

Reason: razor thin caucuses for both parties – the time bomb that was waiting to go off.

This piece is a modest attempt to inform Ghanaians on the complexities involved in the national security system and to allay fears, particularly those who frivolously argue that there is national security risk for allowing dual citizens to participate in the political space.


The term National Security, is often discussed by many people, including some social commentators and law enforcement personnel, in a much narrower political security sense. But National Security extends well beyond that narrow sense, as it encompasses food security, environmental security, economic security, military security, and of course, political security. In fact, National Security, involves anything that can adversely impact on human “safety from chronic threats such as hunger, diseases, and repressions as well as protection from sudden and harmful disruptions in patterns of daily life – whether in homes, in jobs or in communities” (UNDP, 1994, as cited in Jatuat, 2019, p. 1).

Thus, it is readily obvious that within this definition of the United Nations, adverse activities impacting on food, environment, economy, military, and politics fit neatly into “sudden and harmful disruptions in patterns of daily life.” National Security, therefore, is the totality of systems that are erected at warding off adverse activities to ensure “the safety and wellbeing of the people as well as the protection of their assets, resources, institutions and interests” (Jatuat, 2019, p. 1).

National Security calls for the institutionalization of certain state agencies mandated by law to be dedicated and responsible for the implementation and maintenance of specific security policies and management. Articles 83 of the 1992 Constitution provides that “there shall be a National Security Council.” The “Security and Intelligence Agencies Act, 1996 (ACT 526)” details or designates internal and external intelligence agencies. There are the Armed Forces Act 1962, (ACT 105); Police Service Act 1970, (ACT 350); Prisons Service Decree 1972, (NRCD 46); Customs Excise and Preventive Service (Management) Law, 1993 (PNDCL 330); Ghana Revenue Authority Act 2009, (ACT 791); Immigration Service Act, 2016 (ACT 908); Ghana National Fire Service Act 1997, (ACT 537).


Sometimes, some scholars use Information interchangeably with Intelligence, or qualify raw information with intelligence or refer to them as “intelligence information.” This is because those scholars want to render recognition to the fact that some information, in their raw form, do posses inherent Intelligence value that can be used particularly for operational purposes without being subjected to professional intelligence analysis. For example, a report that unruly crowd is massing up and vandalizing businesses within a city may lead to a military surveillance over the skies of such a city. Seeing some crowds actually vandalizing in an isolated case on the ground may constitute Intelligence, even before it has undergone the full process by analysts. Others argue that for such isolated Information that has not undergone the full process of analysis remains Information. It must however be noted that not all Information produces Intelligence when processed and analyzed.

So what exactly then is “Intelligence”? The raw material of Intelligence is “Information.” To gather information, it is necessary that operations be conducted both covertly and overtly. Human capability may be employed such as, agents and informants, or use of technology such as, electronic devices. Hence, we have some National Security agents who must wear uniform (that also serves as deterrent of potential illegal activities) and others who must not, because they must work undetected and submerged like a submarine. Once Information has been gathered, it is sifted, processed, analyzed, with the end objective being to secure the national interest.


There are several types of Intelligence. Among them are military, economic, political, criminal and the Constitution has designated each type specifically under a particular type of National Security agency. For example, Military Intelligence is more concerned with national defense involving the armed forces of Ghana. Information is collected on the plans, possible intentions, capabilities, size, types of weaponry of other countries military organizations, while simultaneously preventing other countries from discovering our plans, possible intentions, military capabilities, size, types of weaponry, and secrets. This responsibility to ward off attacks and safeguard Ghana’s territories (land, air space, and sea), critical infrastructure like power lines falls on the shoulders of the Ghana Armed Force, and is referred to as Defense or Military Intelligence.

There is also Intelligence that focuses on developments in politics and policy changes, internally and externally, that may present threats to the peace and security of a country. This Intelligence focus primarily on plans, political actions, present or future of foreign governments, organizations or persons both within and without a country that pose security threats to a country. It aims at preventing subversion, coup d’états, or undermining the independence and sovereignty of a country. For example, how will raising taxes and other austerity economic measures by policymakers result in any subversive activities?

Then we have Intelligence focusing on a country’s economy, foreign economic trade and financial activities affecting Ghana’s National Security. For example, Intelligence on activities such as, fraud, corruption, illicit financial activities, and climate change that may adversely impact on our economic production capacity in the various sectors of the economy like energy, manufacturing, and industries. Referred to as Economic Intelligence, it also helps policymakers in Ghana to take advantage of competitive world opportunities for economic growth and development, and enhance the economic interests of citizens.

We also have Criminal Intelligence, which is usually done to help with law enforcement actions like crime and punishment. This type of Intelligence is used to detect, deter, and prevent, and prosecute criminal activities. It is disseminated to relevant law enforcement agencies that need them to perform their functions effectively.
It must, however, be noted that all the National Security agencies work together for the collective good of Ghana. It is similar to the various parts of the human body that work for the common good of the body to ensure an overall healthy body.


In spite of the several agencies that ensure the maintenance of National Security, we sometimes hear of “security failures” For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has on certain occasions been cited as an example of “security failure” that has suddenly wreaked adversarial havoc on world economies, and harmfully disrupted patterns of daily life. This is because the world security agencies ‘failed’ to anticipate and timely warn decision makers about its possible devastating impact. We also hear of “security failure” that resulted in the overthrow of Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah, which really was a “policy failure” instead.

Policy Failure occurs when security agencies have done their jobs to high satisfaction, by observing and reporting on security breaches that create vulnerabilities at vital national installations and facilities for security measures to be taken to safeguard the integrity of those vital installations. But situations do occur whereby, decision makers may fail to implement their side of action or a deliberately break the chain for self-interest rather than national interest. It is similar to a chain, where a failure of one link can be catastrophic to the whole chain.

For example, a former Director of the then Special Branch (now National Investigation Bureau or NIB) and a former National Security Co-Ordinator, Kofi Bentum Quantson, noted in his book, Ghana: Peace and Stability – Chapters from the Intelligence Sector, how shabby treatment of Intelligence regarding Nkrumah’s government overthrow was handled and eventually led to a successful coup. According to the security expert, the 1966 coup happened because Intelligence from the Special Branch, the precursor of the NIB, failed to reach the president because at the time, the Director Special Branch reported to the IGP. Thus, Intelligence report regarding dissident troops movements was suppressed by the then IGP J.W.K. Harlley, who was himself one of the key plotters of the coup.

In another book, Ghana: National Security – The Dilemma, Bentum Quantson also recounted how a well-prepared intelligence report that warned Busia’s government regarding subversive activities of some senior military officers, particularly Acheampong, was treated shabbily, leading to the success of the coup in 1972. The intelligence expert cited a number of reasons why well-prepared Intelligence reports produced by the intelligence agencies may not attract the urgency desired. Among them, are extreme political partisanship and tribalism, which according to him superseded the national interest. (Bentum Quantson, 2016; Bentum Quantson, 2006. As cited in Jatuat, 2019).


However, things have taken a much different tone since 1997, courtesy of the Ex-UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan: “Where democracy has been usurped, let us do all in our power to restore it to the people. …Neighboring states, regional groups and international organizations must all play their parts to restore Sierra Leone’s constitutional and democratic government,” at the 33rd Summit of the then OAU on June 2, 1997 in Harare. Similar sentiments were voiced by Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe: “Coup-plotters and those who overthrow democratic governments will find it more difficult to get recognition from us. Democracy is getting stronger in Africa and we now have a definite attitude against coups. Democracy must be restored in Sierra Leone as a matter of urgency,” who became the then new OAU chairman (Meldrum, 1997).

Since then, African regional organizations, with the support of international organizations have taken up a tough stance against coups. This anti-coup stance was on full display when Gilbert Diendere saw a short-lived coup in 2015 in Burkina Faso and was immediately ushered out by the ECOWAS. Similar response of condemnation was given by the African Union, European Union, and the United Nations, calling for power to be returned and for arrested leaders to be freed to the Mali coup plotter, Asimi Goïta, including a demand to step down. The Malian coup plotters were given 18 months to conduct civilian elections due to the very popular nature of the uprising by the Malian people (Wikipedia, 2021). Such stance is now making coups quite unattractive to adventurers in Africa and its sub-regions.
Now that we have dealt a little bit into National Security, it can readily be seen that it does not take only Allegiance to be a good citizen. There are actually, powerful disincentives for breaking Allegiance.


A very frequent question regarding Ghana’s dual citizenship largely revolves around the issue of loyalty or Allegiance. The 1992 Constitution Article 94 (2) (a) states? “(2) A person shall not be qualified to be a Member of Parliament if he – (a) owes allegiance [emphasis added] to a country other than Ghana.” This word, “allegiance” is what has generated the most heated argument and has become the main issue of contention. Some even argue frivolously that, “in case of war, the dual citizen will side with his other country,” equating Citizenship with Allegiance.

In Bilson Vs. Rawlings and Another [1993-94] 2 GLR 41, the court clearly ruled that allegiance was not equal to citizenship. Rawlings had sworn an affidavit confirming his dual citizenship status (i.e., UK and Ghana). But because he had sworn several affidavits of allegiance through his membership of the Ghana Armed Force and twice as Head of State of Ghana (i.e., AFRC and PNDC), his UK citizenship did not matter and the case was without merit and struck out of Court.

In Asare Vs. Attorney General (J1 / 6 / 2011) [2012] GHASC 31 (22 May 2012); in the Supreme Court of Ghana, two interesting and opposing views on citizenship and allegiance became exposed. While one view held that “the question of allegiance which is [was] indeed at the root of citizenship” could not be dismissed, the other view acknowledged the fact of the idea of “economic refugees” status of most diasporas Ghanaians, who take up citizenship for better job opportunities and subsequently transfer their economic gains to undertake useful ventures that contribute immensely to national development.

However, in considering the repealing of Article 8 of the Constitution, which dealt with the prohibition of dual citizenship, it was noted “that certain offices must be held by persons who owe allegiance [emphasis added] only to Ghana,” taking cognizance of article 35(5) and (6) (a) that dealt with “foster a spirit of loyalty [emphasis added] to Ghana that overrides sectional, ethnic and other loyalties.” Such certain offices include a Member of Parliament in Ghana.

There are several dual citizens who have very close family ties living in those countries where they had their dual citizenship, in many cases their own offspring. It is interesting to note that there is no case of disloyalty or lack of Allegiance to the Ghanaian Constitution by a dual citizen, with the exception of Rawlings, when he overthrew a lawful and democratically elected government of Limann in late December of 1981. Kotoka, Afrifa, Acheampong, were all Mono-Citizens of Ghana.

Even more recent was the case involving eight Mono-Citizens. In 1985, the CIA discovered that one of its staff, an operations support staff or clerk, Sharon Scarange, who worked in the CIA Station Office in Ghana inside the US Embassy had leaked sensitive information on US intelligence operations in Ghana, including identities of their Ghanaian agents and informants, some of who were senior National Security officials of the Ghana government to Michael Soussoudis, her Ghanaian lover. As a result of this Sharon Scarange was arrested and put before trial alongside Soussoudis who was lured into US, arrested and charged for spying against the US. A spy exchange programme was negotiated between Ghana and the US for the exchange of eight alleged spies who were also facing trial in Ghana. Michael Soussoudis was subsequently convicted of espionage but in line with the diplomatic arrangements, he was given 24 hours to depart from the US. Ghana government also stripped eight of the spies of their Ghanaian nationality and escorted them out of Ghanaian territory.

Included in the eight arrested were Naval Capt. Oppong (who at one point was the Navy Commander), Colonel Bray, Abel Edusei, Adu Gyamfi, Major John Kwaku Awuakye. They constituted some of the most high-ranking informants that the CIA had in the government of Rawlings. These eight CIA spies were stripped of their Ghanaian citizenship before being deported to the US and relocated in the Virginia and Washington D.C. area. They were all Mono-Citizens, but their allegiance was most questionable.

It is well past the time when those exclusionary laws that are selectively and opportunistically applied were repealed in the Constitution and the test starts from this 8th Parliament of the 4th Republic. After all, there is not a single shred of empirical evidence to support the imaginations and hypothetical scenarios on allegiance and Ghanaian dual citizens. Rather, we have plethora of empirical evidences that are stacked up against Mono-Citizens, when it comes to Allegiance to Ghana.


Asare, K. (2018). “Laws excluding plural citizens from political space a constitutional time bomb.” Retrieved on January 14, 2020, from,

Bentum Quantson, K. (2003). Ghana: National Security – The Dilemma. As cited by Jatuat, pp 50-57.

Bentum Quantson, K. (2016) Security in the Hand of God. p. 82 and 108.

Jatuat, M. Y. (2019). National Security: “Role of Intelligence, Institutions and Legal Framework in Ghana.” Retrieved January 13, 2021, from,

Meldrum, A. (1997). “Coups no longer acceptable: OAU Summit extols democracy; African Economic Community is inaugurated.” Retrieved on January 14, 2021, from,

UNDP. (1994). Human Development Report 1994: New Dimensions of Human Security. Oxford University Press, New York, United Nations.

Wikipedia. (2021). Malian Coup d’etat. Retrieved on January 13, 2021, from,

Charles Addo, PhD
Retired & Former Lecturer:
Mercy College, New York, USA;
Catholic University College of Ghana, Ghana.

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