Parliament summons Local Gov’t Minister over blacklisting of names

Addressing the house the first deputy Speaker of Parliament Joe Osei Owusu said the civil and public servants must know that they cannot exercise powers that have not been given to them by Parliament.

Some Members of Parliament (MPs) are unhappy that the Births and Deaths Registry do not register names such as “Maame,” “Pappa,” “Nana,” “Naa,” “Junior,” “Nene,” “Nii” and “Ohemaa”.

The MPs said this was an illegal act by the Registry.

Addressing the house the first deputy Speaker of Parliament Joe Osei Owusu said “Mr Speaker I call my son ‘Paapa’, so if I name my son after my father, I can’t call him by his raw name, it is a reverence to my father. You can’t decide that you have refused to recognise the name I have given him.”

“It is time public and civil servants understood that the powers given to 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…. they are generating needless tension in the country,” he fumed

The issue was raised by the Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu.

Meanwhile, in an earlier interview the Registrar at the Births and Deaths, John Agbeko, explained that they do not allow parents register their children by such local names because they are titles.

“We don't put titles on certificates so you can't name your child Nana, Naa, etc. The births and deaths registry doesn't allow that.”

However, Ghanaians are allowed to name their children King, Queen, Prince, Princess etc.

Asked if that is not a colonial mentality, Mr Agbeko expressed worry saying “If we start naming ourselves anyhow, I don't see where we will end in 20 years.”

“If we decide as a nation that we want to arrange names the way we want to without any standard, the registry is just here to regulate and serve the public.”

Meanwhile, a private legal practitioner, Ace Ankomah, has said that it is illegal for the Births and Deaths Registry to prevent people from registering certain names in the country.

“What the law says is that they should have a mode of operation. The Births and Deaths Registry has no power to make law. Having a mode of operation must comply with the law. So if the fundamental law does not give you a certain power, you cannot be claiming that you have written your own mode of operation to make that power to yourself. So it does not exist, it has no legal basis, that nonsense must stop,” he fumed.

Already, pressure group OccupyGhana has threatened to sue the government over the action after many Ghanaians greeted the report with anger.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.com.gh

Our newsletter gives you access to a curated selection of the most important stories daily.

Welcome to the Pulse Community! We will now be sending you a daily newsletter on news, entertainment and more.