Local government minister, Hajia Alima Mahama has been summoned by Parliament over the decision of the Births and Deaths registry to ban the registration of some local names, otherwise denoted as titles.
Parliament has also summoned officials of the birth and death registry to respond to questions on plans to bar Ghanaians from registering some local names such as ‘Maame’, ‘Nana’, ‘Papa’, ‘Nii’, ‘Nene’, etc.
MP’s including Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu and Joseph Osei Owusu expressed their displeasure at the directive and have demanded the legal basis for which the registry has issued this directive.
Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Ocquaye asked the minister to appear in the house on Tuesday, January 30th to address the concerns raised.
“On Tuesday, as Parliament sits, the honourable minister should be present to either justify the directive or outline the steps to be taken to reverse the new policy.”, he said.
The first deputy Speaker of Parliament Joe Osei Owusu submitted his concerns to parliament saying that the directive is not legal and the registry does not have the authority to refuse to recognise the name a parent gives to his child.
“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 on the floor of parliament.
In a petition to the Attorney General, OccupyGhana threatened to take legal action against the registry since they have not seen any provision that gives the Registrars of Births and Deaths any power to refuse to register any name.
According to them, the stance by the Births and Deaths registry 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.”