OccupyGhana threatens legal action over Births and Deaths Registry’s anti-local names policy

Pressure group, OccupyGhana, has written to the Attorney-General, asking her to cause the Births and Deaths Registry to withdraw the implementation of a policy that bans the registration of popular Ghanaian names.

Names such as “Maame,” “Pappa,” “Nana,” “Naa,” “Junior,” “Nene,” “Nii” and “Ohemaa” are not accepted under this policy.

Also, the Registry, under the policy, will determine the order in which names must be written, giving prominence to foreign names over indigenous Ghanaian names.

Although the policy has been in existence for some time now, a publication in a local newspaper Thursday generated public anger with many condemning it.

OccupyGhana, a champion of citizens’ rights, has said the Act that empowers the strange policy — the Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1965 (Act 301) — may have been misconstrued.

“We have not seen any provision that either supports this policy or gives the Registrars of Births and Deaths any power to refuse to register any name. We believe that this stance is a gross violation of the rights of Ghanaians to choose names (particularly Ghanaian names) as they deem fit for their children, subject to the right to change one’s name at any time later in life,” OccupyGhana said in the January 26 letter addressed to the Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo.

The rest of the letter reads:

“We therefore write to put you on notice, in accordance with section 10 of the State Proceedings Act, 1998 (Act 555), that we intend to commence civil action against the Republic within thirty (30) days of the date of this letter if this illegality is not addressed forthwith.

“We, however, believe that this cause of action will not be necessary if all Registrars of the Births and Deaths Registry will be directed to desist from these acts and stop refusing to register such names as they have no basis in law.”

The Ministry of Local Government has also been copied in the letter.


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