African Americans who have traced their ancestral roots to Ghana, and those living in Ghana with the hope of becoming citizens, have received another boost in their desires after they successfully received final documentation that officially makes them registered voters.
In December 2016, former president, John Dramani Mahama, granted 34 Afro-Caribbeans Ghanaian citizenship. In 2019, as part of activities marking the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in America, the government of Ghana launched the “Year of Return, Ghana 2019”.
That announcement included president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s promise to confer citizenship on 200 members of the African-American-Caribbean Diaspora group currently settled in the country.
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This is in a quest to encourage African Americans and the black diaspora to return to the country where their ancestors were kidnapped and enslaved, allowing them to enjoy the full benefits of being Ghanaians.
Ghana is the only country in the 21st century that has legally offered to resettle people of African descent in Africa. In the year 2000, Ghana became the first African country to officially open its doors to people of African descent from all over the world.
The West African country passed the “Right of Abode” law which allows any person of African descent to apply and be granted the right to stay in Ghana indefinitely.
In this video shared by the African Diasporan News Channel on YouTube, two women who were part of the 2016 group that was granted citizenship are seen and heard describing their excitement after they successfully went through the processes of receiving their Voters ID Cards in Ghana.
The two, obviously excited, described the moment as historic while sharing the news with the rest of the world on how they were now legally registered voters. They went on to express their gratitude to the country for granting citizenship to them and others.
Already, they anticipate being able to exercise their voting rights in Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary elections which is slated for December 2020.
As at 2014, over 3,000 African Americans and people of Caribbean descent were estimated to be living in Ghana. The Diaspora Affairs Bureau in Ghana has expedited the acquisition of the permanent residency of these people, which was earlier delayed by bureaucratic processes. It took some applicants years to get their official documentation when it was supposed to last only as long as six months.
Many resorted to renewable resident permits and marriages with Ghanaians to stay and work fruitfully in the country. Rita Marley, the wife of reggae legend Bob Marley, was the first person to be granted the indefinite stay in Ghana in 2014, 14 years after the law was passed.