The day Rawlings’ nationality was challenged – Kwamena Ahwoi reflects

NDC stalwart Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi has reflected on a controversial legal suit, which challenged the citizenship of president, Jerry John Rawlings.

In 1993-94, the nationality of former president Jerry John Rawlings was challenged.

This was at a time he decided to contest as President. This was disclosed by NDC Stalwart, Professor Kwamena Ahwoi in his book titled “Working with Rawlings”.

In Chapter 4, page 94  of the book, Kwamena Ahwoi said Rawlings’ campaign at the time suffered a heavy legal blow from one Dr. John Bilson, who he [Ahwoi] described as “an anti-Rawlings, anti-PNDC critic and a failed presidential candidate in the 1979 presidential election”.

Dr. Bilson challenged Mr. Rawlings on the grounds that he (Rawlings) was not a Ghanaian and had not renounced his United Kingdom nationality, his father being Scottish.

“In Bilson v. Rawlings and Another [1993-94] 2 GLR 41, Dr. Bilson sought an injunction against Rawlings and the Interim National Electoral Commission (INEC) restraining both defendants from taking further steps in connection with the nomination of Rawlings as the presidential candidate of the NDC for the presidential elections,” excerpts of Professor Ahwoi’s book read.

Though the law states that he who alleges must prove, the plaintiff (Dr. Bilson) was unable to do in his case.

“Besides, Rawlings’ membership of the Ghana Armed Forces and the fact that he had twice been Head of State of Ghana (AFRC and PNDC) meant that he had on several occasions, sworn oaths of allegiance to the Republic of Ghana,” Professor Ahwoi said.

For Professor Ahwoi, “there was, therefore, an irresistible inference that he (Rawlings) did not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana. The case brought against Rawlings was therefore without merit and would be struck out.”


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