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Mass expulsion as internal exclusion Police raids and the imprisonment of West African immigrants in Ghana, 1969-1974

Nana Osei Ouarshie

Ghana is a foil for the study of prisons in Africa. In the dominant historical narrative, prisons in Africa were a European colonial imposition of the late 19th century (Aukurang-Parry 2003, Bernault 2007, Gocking 1993). However, we now know that in colonial Ghana so-called native prisons were established, as early as the late 18th century, by African royal elites and merchants (Braatz 2015). These African-run institutions of confinement in colonial Ghana, which operated first independently (1700s-1888) and then semi-autonomously (1888-mid-1940s), were outgrowths of practices that developed during the transatlantic slave trade (1500-mid-1800s), when West African politicians and merchants relied on practices and tools of confinement - for example, chaining people to logs - to manage unwanted and enslaved populations (Boseman 1721). Totalling in the hundreds by the early 20th century, native prisons were at once a response to British aspersions of chaining people to logs as barbaric (Braatz 2015). These African-run institutions of confinement in colonial Ghana were also tools of population control and debt management, which developed in response to the need to find a new means to foreclose on debts, for which humans had historically served as surety, in the aftermath of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade (Balakrishnan 2020).

That prisons served as tools of population control and debt management is significant because colonial Ghana was the site of intense regional labour migration, due to cocoa farming and gold mining, from savanna regions with large Muslim populations known as the ‘Northern Territories’ and from states that became incorporated into the federation of French West Africa (AOF) (Berry 2001). These were the same regions from which a significant portion of the slaves sold from the Gold Coast in the transatlantic era were drawn (Rodney 1969, Wilks 1975). By the interwar period, these regional labour migrants formed a majority of the criminally and medically confined populations in colonial Ghana (Rathbone 1993).

Gocking (2011) has speculated that the over-confinement of migrants in prisons and lunatic asylums in colonial Ghana may have been a result of wo factors. First, there was extreme prejudice against migrants, who were often characterised in African newspapers as dangerous, criminal, and even prone to insanity. Second, the divergent organisation of the courts of the three constituent territories of colonial Ghana - the Gold Coast Colony, Ashanti, and the Northern Territories - may have had an effect. In the Gold Coast Colony, court cases were adjudicated by mostly European judges, African and European lawyers, and juries constituted of educated Africans and oftentimes a European foreman. In the Northern Territories and in Ashanti, conversely, where there were no juries, criminality or lunacy was more likely to be determined than in the Gold Coast Colony. Thus, one possible reason for the lower instances of determinations of‘criminal lunacy’ in the colony was that, ironically, African jurors were in closer social proximity to African criminals. The juries, Cocking (2011) claims, were less sympathetic to the insanity defence, as they were more likely to understand the criminal’s motives, and so less likely to view him as a lunatic. Further, the distance between European judges and the African, mostly migrant, criminals in Ashanti[1] and the Northern Territories made the motives of Africans less intelligible and increased the likelihood of a person being convicted as a criminal or a lunatic (Gocking

2011, pp. 86-88).

This chapter explores the imprisonment of immigrants in post-colonial Ghana. The presence of native prisons and the role of African juries in shaping colonial sentencing point to the important role of African institutions and ideologies of civilisational attainment in the construction of systems of incarceration in Ghana prior to independence in 1957. Florence Bernault (2007, p. 60) argues that in Africa between 1910 and 1950, ‘a wide spectrum of the adult male population’ experienced imprisonment but their detentions were often ‘short and arbitrary’. This, she explains, characterises the ‘pervasive’, as opposed to ‘massive’, nature of incarceration in Africa. In colonial Ghana, however, where the prisons emerged in relation to the management of bonded people bound for the Atlantic trade (Akurang-Parry 2003), the distinction between ‘massive’ and ‘pervasive’ cultures of confinement obscures how practices of immigrant scapegoating (Gocking 2011) impacted policies of imprisonment.

For example, scholars of psychiatry in Africa have noted that colonial lunatic asylums primarily received their patients from colonial prisons (Vaughan 1991). Countering the noted tendency of colonial institutions of confinement to subsume the incarcerated into the dyad of gender and race (Bernault 2007), recent scholarship by historians of psychiatry in Africa draws attention to the confounding factor of ethnic and regional difference. Immigrants to the urban centres that housed colonial asylums and prisons disrupted attempts by colonial officials to simply subsume the confined into the broad category of ‘black men’ (Heaton 2013). In lunatic asylums all over Africa, where the length of confinement was often indefinite, cross-border migrants were generally overrepresented in the patient population (Heaton 2013, Jackson 2005, Swartz 2015, Sadowsky 1998, Bell 1991). The demographic makeup of colonial lunatic asylums reveals that

‘pervasive’, meaning indiscriminate and short-term, imprisonment could lead to ‘massive’, or long-term, psychiatric confinement of criminalised immigrants. The two poles, rather than being mutually exclusive, went hand in hand.

This chapter brings insights from the scholarship on psychiatric confinement in Africa to the study of the imprisonment of immigrants in post-colonial Africa. In it, I examine the links between migration and containment and the transformation of the prison in Africa, from its role in maintaining colonial order to its use as a tool in post-independence nation-building. This chapter takes as its jumping off point the relationship between practices of mass expulsion and imprisonment in Ghana, from Prime Minister Busia’s declaration of the Aliens Compliance Order in 1969 to his ouster by the National Redemption Council in 1972. Mass expulsions of regional migrants were a common feature in early postindependent African states (Adida 2016). Scholars of migration have traditionally distinguished mass expulsion from deportations in two ways. They note that, unlike deportation, which is governed by processes discussed within immigration laws, mass expulsion is often extra-legal in that it is triggered by an executive leader’s decree and, most importantly, case-by-case reviews are not performed (Henckaerts 1995, p. 21).[2] Mass expulsions in West Africa have been discussed within studies of cross-border migration (Brennan 1984) and in analyses of political belonging (Weiner 1992), but they are rarely a central topic of analysis in the history of policing and imprisonment. One possible reason for this lack of attention within the scholarship on prisons is that mass expulsion is often discussed from the perspective of the expelled, the people who exited the nation, while the experiences of the many people who were imprisoned, and forced to remain, for breaching mass expulsion orders often go unaccounted.

This chapter interrogates mass expulsion, not from the perspective of those who fled or were deported but from the vantage point of people who suffered from the intensification of police raids of markets and residential areas. Although the Aliens Compliance Order is often analysed as an expulsion order, I show that it also intensified undocumented and criminalised migrants’ pathways into long-term confinement in Ghana. Mirroring what scholars of French immigration policy have described as 4a double peine' (Goldhaber 2007), undocumented criminal migrants in Ghana were required to serve their prison sentences before facing expulsion. Just as penal confinement operated as a hidden form of forced labour in African colonies (Bernault 2007), many criminalised immigrants - the very figures used to justify mass expulsion - were made to remain in the nation, as imprisoned labourers. By examining reports of anti-immigrant police raids, I uncover how the enforcement of the Aliens Compliance Order triggered processes of internal exclusion (Balibar 2012), targeting suspected figures of migration as proper subjects for incarceration.

Mass expulsion as internal exclusion 43 Anti-alien police raids in Kumasi

On 18 November 1969, Kofi Abrefa Busia, the newly elected prime minister of Ghana’s Second Republic, issued the Aliens Compliance Order. All undocumented migrants, those without valid residence permits, were told to leave the nation within 14 days. It is estimated that, within a year of the publication of the order, 100-200,000 West African immigrants exited Ghana.

On 18 December 1969, exactly one month after the Aliens Compliance Order was issued, the secretary to the Cabinet sent a letter to the principal secretary' of Ministry of the Interior, stating that:

I am directed by the Right Honourable the Prime Minister to inform you that on no account should anyone be deported out of the country without the Cabinet first being informed about it; that in cases of emergency, the Rt. Honourable the Prime Minister should at least be first consulted. I shall be grateful if you will ensure that this directive is henceforth rigidly enforced.[3]

The prime minister’s and Cabinet’s insistence on a review of every' deportation case is clearly incompatible with the contemporary view of the era following the Aliens Compliance Order as one of indiscriminate mass expulsion. The prime minister’s insistence on review calls our attention to the experiences of figures whose stories are often obscured in the literature on mass expulsion: migrants who remained in their host countries longer than expected, not despite but due to the mechanisms of the enforcement of expulsion orders.

In this section, I examine the Aliens Compliance Order through an analysis of reports from police raids in the Kumasi market and the neighbouring zonp/o, the immigrant quarter of the city. Situated in the centre of the country, Kumasi - the capital of the precolonial Asante Empire and independent Ghana’s second largest city - was a hub for regional migration under colonialism (Wilks 1975, Sudarkska 1979). Many people from all over West Africa who came to work on African-run gold mines and cocoa plantations in the Ashanti Territories eventually passed through Kumasi. It was a focus of parliamentary' debates about expelling ‘French Subjects’ and ‘French Gaos’ en masse in the lead up to independence (1953-1956). The aftermath of the Aliens Compliance Order, from 1970 to 1975, similarly saw the city and its central market once again become a centre of concern for both local and federal politicians. As explained in a report written by the deputy' superintendent for crime for the Northern Division of Kumasi, these concerns materialised into direct action:

On 25th Jan 1971, an Anti Alien and Ghanaian Business Promotion Act Squad was formed by the Asst. Commissioner of Police/ASH/N.D. comprising four N.C.Os. and four men under the direct supervision of the Deputy Supt/Crime/ASH/N.D. The squad was charged with the enforcement of the Government Compliance Order and the Ghanaian Business Promotion Acts.[4]

The squad’s first operation took place on 26 January 1971. They arrested 80 aliens from Mali, Upper Volta, and Nigeria. Twenty-two of the arrested parties lacked residence permits or their permits had expired. These people were sent to the Kurnasi Central Prison ‘to await evacuation’ to their ‘home countries’.[5] Numerous raids followed and but most of the people arrested had residence permits. Forty-two people from these subsequent raids were also sent to prisons prior to ‘evacuation’.[5] Those who had valid permits had them impounded by the police. They were made to check-in daily to allow the police to validate the ‘authenticity of the Issuing Officer’. On 6 February 1971 the permits were returned to the owners ‘after the certification given by the Immigration Officer’ who issued them.[5]

Reports from the market raids enforcing the Aliens Compliance Order and Ghana Business Promotion Act reveal that most arrests did not lead to immediate deportations for the people captured. This is most clear from a 19 May 1970 parliamentary debate, in which Mr. N.B.K. Mensah, a member of Parliament, ‘asked the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice if all alien prisoners except those convicted for capital offences will be released and expelled from the country’.[8] In the debate that ensued, parliamentarians raised concerns about aliens who were being forced to remain in Ghana’s prisons and about those newspapers referred to as ‘come back aliens’, meaning immigrants who fled the nation, or hid within it, but subsequently returned or reappeared in the hopes of resuming their previous lives. These were the same concerns that, as I show later in this chapter, animated citizens’ concerns in secret letters written to the minister of the interior.

In July of 1970, in response to concerns about ‘come back’ aliens, Minister of Interior Simon Dombo requested that the government stop issuing residence permits to all aliens. The Cabinet denied his request, proposing instead Minister of Justice Adade’s solution that people found in breach of the Aliens Compliance

Order or the Ghana Business Promotion Act[9] be ‘deported after serving their prison sentences’.[10] [11] Although arguments tied to the alleged criminality of aliens were used as a justification for enacting the Aliens Compliance Order (Peil 1971), the irony of this policy was that it forced those very ‘criminal aliens’ to remain within the country longer. For example, in a raid of the Kumasi Central Market on 3 February 1971, one Amadu Fulani was found selling chichinga.n On 5 February 1971 he was prosecuted and sentenced by Judge J.K.C. Tawiah to pay a fine of 150 new cedis, spend nine months in hard labour, and face deportation after the completion of his sentence.[4] Other common sentences included a fine of 200 cedis and 12 months in hard labour.[13] In effect, this was a policy of internal exclusion, in which prisons were potentially long-term waiting areas for the removal of aliens, who became the subjects of Ghanaian annihilation anxieties (Mbembe 2016). In other words, aliens were viewed as the primary threats to the survival of the nation and its citizens.

While the state authorities were clear on the policy of internal exclusion for criminalised aliens, there was a lack of uniformity in the execution of the compliance order in the first year after it was issued. Many wealthy migrants and those with connections in the immigration service were able to acquire residence permits and citizenship (Eades 1993). As late as 7 February 1971, a report from the deputy superintendent for crime for the Northern Division of Kumasi stated:

At present it seems that no clear cut rules are laid down for the issue or restriction in the issue of residence permits to non-Ghanaians and unless the procedure is well defined and regulated, we shall achieve no useful purpose by this laudable scheme of the Government and the Police will be blamed as it already the case by the public for not enforcing the Government Compliance Order to the letter. The exercise is still continuing, please.[4]

A consequence of this lack of clear rules was that the judiciary was unwilling and at times reluctant to enforce deportations triggered by the police raids that were motivated by the compliance order.[5] In response, the public expressed anxiety over the enforcement of the Aliens Compliance Order through letters to the editor in daily newspapers that consistently decried the problem of ‘come back’ aliens (Peil 1971). Citizens also wrote secret petition letters to the minister of the interior that blamed him for his failure to properly execute the compliance order and requested that he order more raids against aliens.[16] The following example of these petition letters was sent to the Kumasi Municipal Council and then forwarded to the minister of the interior. Written by three Kumasi market women, it voiced concern for their physical safety in the face of ‘come back’ aliens, who were also their economic competitors:


We have the honour to complain the conduct of certain aliens who have returned to Kumasi to resume work contrary to the Ghana Business Promotion Act; and hope you will take necessary' action for and on our behalf:

That we are Ghanaian women living in Kumasi who took over some of the jobs left by aliens, as result of the Compliance Order and Ghana Business Promotion Act. We are carrying on business literally known and called ‘Baaba Cloth Dying’ near the Aboabo station in Kumasi.

That to our surprise, very' recently the aliens who left their job had returned to Kumasi and resumed their work. Even more of them have returned contrary' to the law.

The aliens are threatening to beat us up if we dared to pursue the said trade of ‘Baaba Cloth Dying’ any longer at Aboabo Station or lorry' park. Because majority of them (aliens) are in hiding at various houses around the Aboabo Lorry' Park doing business.

That setting on the advice of the Government to the public we should report the presence of aliens in the country in order that necessary action should be taken against them, we are making this report so that you may take any necessary' steps to oust the said aliens from interfering with our jobs.

We hope that this report will be seriously considered by the authorities and necessary' action taken against the said aliens to prevent them from defeating the objects of the Ghanaian Business Promotion Act.

We have the honour to be,


Your obedient servants,

Dora Agyei, Ollory Afrakoma, Margaret Kyei[17]

In this letter, and in numerous others sent to government authorities and published in newspapers, economic concerns were salient points of contention. Aliens in post-compliance order Ghana were presented as violent criminals and usurpers of the rightful economic rights of true Ghanaians. The anti-alien petitioners in the example above expressed anxiety for the nation’s well-being and fear for their own personal safety. As a solution to the problem posed by recalcitrant judges, and to assuage the general public’s concerns about ‘come back’ aliens, the Ashanti Regional Security Council called upon the minister of internal affairs to work with Ghana’s attorney general to resolve this discrepancy.[18] In response, the minister of internal affairs expressed his surprise that judges were refusing to issue deportation orders and listed all the laws that allowed the courts to deport aliens.[5]

Catch and release

On 21 October 1971, in response to more petitions and the mounting concerns of the general public, Minister Adade wrote to the chairman of the Kumasi Municipal Council asking that the ‘particulars of all cases involving alien traders which have been taken to court in recent times, together with copies of the judgments/Rulings of the Court in each case’ be forwarded to the Ministry of the Interior.[20] The results of that survey were presented at the Ashanti Regional Secretariat meeting on 19 November 1971. The minutes of the meeting read:

The Assistant Commissioner of Police (North) informed the meeting that a number of aliens in Kumasi totalling 471 had been arrested but most of them were later released after their documents had been checked. Those found without residence permits were also released on bail to apply and obtain permits. In the discussion that ensued it was revealed that a number of aliens obtained permits from outside the Region. It was the view of the Committee therefore that all such permits should be seized and investigations conducted as regards their genuineness. It was also stressed that the Police should be requested to ensure that before any permits were recommended, they must satisfy themselves that the applicants were actually engaged in the jobs for which the applications were being made. It was also agreed that specific cases of irregularities should be brought to the notice of the Regional Office to enable the office to take them up with the Minister of Internal Affairs.[21]

One day before the Regional Security Council meeting at which the above report was presented, there was a marked escalation in the police raids in Kumasi. More people were arrested on 18 November 1971 than in all the Kumasi raids over entire year combined. In a letter to the regional chief executive on 30 December 1971, the Assistant Commander SD ASH, Mr. E.B. Adjei, wrote:

I have to report that at dawn on 18/11/71, following an exercise carried out on aliens in the Kumasi ‘A’, ‘C’, and ‘E’ Districts of this Division, the following arrests were made:

  • (a) Number of persons arrested - 668
  • (b) Number of persons possessing valid Residence Permits - 235
  • (c) Number of persons whose Residence Permits expired - 7
  • (d) Number of persons without Residence Permits - 187
  • (e) Number of persons who applied for Residence Permits but not yet issued - 80
  • (f) Number of persons who are claiming Ghanaian citizenship - 59
  • (g) Number of persons arrested while selling - Nil
  • (h) Number of persons having Ghanaian Passports - 100

The men in ‘C’, ‘D’ and ‘E’ have been released on bail and given two weeks to obtain their Residence Permits.

The cases respecting those in ‘F’ and ‘H’ are being investigated and results will be reported in due course.[22]

Not only did these raids not lead to the deportation of most of the suspected aliens rounded up, but the people arrested were often released back into the public. Sometimes, this was a result of the judiciary’s unwillingness to issue deportation orders against migrants swept up in explicitly anti-alien raids. In the raids that took place on 18 November 1971, we see another factor at play. Over one- third of the suspected migrants arrested held valid residence permits, which is a testament to the ability of aliens who chose to stay in Ghana after the compliance order to regularise their status one way or another. Similarly, numerous suspected aliens held Ghanaian passports, claimed Ghanaian citizenship, or were in the process of obtaining residence permits.

The high numbers of regularised aliens and Ghanaian citizens rounded up in these street sweeps, however, also reveals that citizenship status did not provide protection from the enforcement of mass expulsion. This makes sense if we recognise that the government’s processes and practices of enforcement entailed not only the creation of new categories of alien criminality via the Ghana Business Promotion Act but also a revival of earlier systems of internal exclusion. In particular, police raids to enforce mass expulsion supplemented the colonial-era laws that allowed for police raids targeting beggars, the destitute, and, as I argue elsewhere, ‘criminal lunatics’ (Quarshie 2020). Take for example, this discussion regarding beggars and ‘destitutes’, as they were called, from a parliamentary debate that took place on 19 August 1970:

Mr. R.K. Mensah asked the Minister of Interior what plans he has to clear alien beggars who are still roaming and sitting by the roadsides in the cities.

Ministerial Secretary (Mr. Kwaku Baah): Alien beggars and destitutes are not being spared in the current exercise to get all aliens to comply with our immigration laws. The police have orders to remove all such aliens wherever they are found and these orders are being rigidly enforced.[23]

Mass expulsion was the unmasking of the anti-stranger/anti-alien hidden motives that historically shaped laws and police raids targeting beggars, destitutes, and other categories of criminal that were historically interpellated into figures of migration. Yet, the raids that emerged through the enforcement of the mass expulsion order often amounted to nothing more than elaborate ‘catch and release’ exercises due to the high numbers of regularised aliens and suspected aliens with Ghanaian citizenship. So, in response to the ministerial secretary, parliamentarians began to wonder about how the government was working to differentiate between Ghanaian and alien beggars and destitutes:

Mr. В. B. Ofori: May I know whether Ghanaian destitutes and beggars are included in this exercise.

Mr. Kwaku Baah: The question makes reference to aliens, not Ghanaians.

Mr. R. K. Mensah: Is the Minister aware that these so-called beggars are also big thieves and smugglers, and will he see to it that his assurance to this House that the police are going to see that all efforts are made to ensure that these aliens leave Ghana is carried out.

Mr. Kwaku Baah: We stand by our answer already given.[5]

Although the government had concerns about the fraudulent acquisition of identity papers, it was clear that there was very little they could do to stop it. Many aliens were aware of certain immigration officers[25] who were known to facilitate the renewal of residence permits. Some chose to mobilise others to swear oaths testifying to their parentage, and thus citizenship. For example, an alien might bribe an elderly Ghanaian citizen to swear that he or she was their parent[26] (Eades 1993), thereby making themselves into ‘paper families’, or fictive kin validated by bureaucracies reliant on the written word (Lau 2007). Another approach was to pay immigrants that had served in the armed forces and had obtaining exemptions for their entire families to claim them as kin.[27] Given the frequency with which aliens worked to subvert the Aliens Compliance Order and the ‘catch and release’ nature of the mass expulsion raids, it is not surprising that so-called come back aliens became sources of anxiety for the general public. This excerpt from a parliamentary debate shows how this anxiety made its way to official fora:

Mr. J.B. Alhassan: May I know from the Minister how rigidly the orders are being enforced, since there are alien beggars still roaming the streets.

Mr. Kwaku Baah: If the hon. Member has knowledge of any such alien anywhere, he should let us know and we shall deal with him.

Dr. T.K. Aboagye: Does it follow from the Minister’s answer that before these beggars are removed, enquiries are made from them as to whether they are Ghanaians or aliens, and if they are Ghanaians are they not removed from the streets?[28]

Some parliamentarians, like Dr. Aboagye, sought to make sure that ‘come back aliens’ and Ghanaians were not confused during anti-alien raids. Concerns about ‘come back’ aliens, as presented in parliamentary debates, in letters to newspapers, and in secret petitions for the removal of foreigners sent to regional and federal authorities, reveal the economic motivations underpinning the Ghanaian anti-alien annihilation anxiety. Yet, aliens who lacked work permits and were arrested while committing a crime, such as breaching the Ghana Business Promotion Act, were not immediately deported. Rather, their breach of the Aliens Act and the Aliens Compliance Order seems to have been treated as a ‘lesser included offence’ when they were tried and, if found guilty, sent to prisons. That the sentences attached to aliens’ economic crimes often included hard labour suggests that, in the face of Ghanaians’ annihilation anxiety, the prison as waiting space allowed the state to harness the labour of aliens, now made unfree through incarceration. By insisting that aliens convicted of crimes had to serve their terms before facing deportation, prisons effectively became waiting spaces that facilitated the internal exclusion of West African regional migrants.


The declassified government reports on anti-alien police raids in Kumasi examined here suggest that the deportation of suspected aliens during ‘mass expulsion’ in Ghana’s early years of independence was not easily achieved. Anti-alien police raids were organised in a way that criminalised aliens: the very people whose presence in the nation was used to justify the expulsion order were more likely to be released or serve long prison sentences of hard labour than to face immediate deportation. Scheduled deportations could be delayed for months or years due to paperwork backlogs or the refusal of the receiving nation to accept the deportee. In effect, prisons functioned as ‘zones d’attente' of internal exclusion, that is, as long-term pre-deportation waiting areas for aliens ensnared in the government’s enforcement of mass expulsion.

As I write these words in late 2019, Ghana’s is promoting the ‘Year of Return’. The nation is embarking on a grand experiment in immigration and nation-building. There have been renewed efforts to biometrically codify citizenship through a national ID card. Hundreds have been commissioned by the government as oath takers, tasked with collecting sworn statements about familial relationships to determine citizenship claims. The president has asked citizens to ‘cherish’ their citizenship: to neither lie nor help foreigners obtain national ID cards. Meanwhile, the constitutional right of abode that Ghana grants to members of the Atlantic African diaspora has been discussed as a possible material foundation of any ideological theorising about a ‘borderless Africa’ (Mbembe 2018). In this same year, 2019, when the government has invited members of the Atlantic African diaspora to visit the nation, there have also been several acts of anti-Nigerian xenophobia reminiscent of the Aliens Compliance Order era (1969-1974). Nigerian-owned businesses have been burned in Kumasi, and mobs of Ghanaian merchants and their allies have called upon the police, who rightfully refused, to arrest and imprison supposedly unlawfully resident Nigerian store owners. Future scholars who examine the migration of diasporic African descendants to Ghana in the wake of the ‘Year of Return’ will do well to consider the simultaneous calls to exclude West African regional migrants through expulsion and imprisonment. If the dream of a borderless Africa is to be founded on Ghana’s right of abode, the nation must overcome its legacy of over-confining immigrants in prisons.


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Falola, eds. Pawnship, Slavery and Colonialism in Africa. Asmara: Africa World Press, 427-448.

Balakrishnan, S., 2020. Of debt and bondage: From slavery' to prisons in the Gold Coast (Ghana), c. 1807-1957. Journal of African History, 61(1), 3-21.

Balibar, E., 2012. Civic universalism and its internal exclusions: The issue of anthropological difference. Boundary 2, 39(1), 207-229.

Bell, L., 1991. Mental and Social Disorder in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Sierra Leone, 1787-1990. New York: Greenwood Press.

Bern', S., 2001. Chiefs Know Their Boundaries: Essays on Property, Power, and the Past in Asante, 1896-1996. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Press.

Bernault, F., 2007. The shadow of rule: Colonial power and modern punishment in Africa. In: F. Dikotterand I. Brown, eds. Cultures of Confinement: A History of the Prison in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 55-94.

Bosnian, W., 1721. A new and Accurate Description of the Coast of Guinea; Divided Into the Gold, the Slave, and the Ivory Coasts. Containing a Geographical, Political, and Natural History of the Kingdoms and Countries: With a Particular Account of the Rise, Progress, and Present Condition of All the European Settlements Upon That Coast; and the Just Measures for Improving the Several Branches of the Guinea Trade. London: Printed for J. Knapton.

Braatz, E., 2015. Governing Difference: Penal Policy and State Building on the Gold Coast, 1844-1957. Thesis (PhD). New York University.

Brennan, E., 1984. Irregular migration: Policy responses in Africa and Asia. International Migration Review, 18(3), 409-425.

Eades, J., 1993. Strangers and Traders: Toruba Migrants, Markets and the State in Northern Ghana. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press for the International African Institute.

Cocking, R., 1993. British justice and the native tribunals of the Southern Gold Coast Colony. Journal of African History, 34(1), 93-113.

Cocking, R., 2011. The adjudication of homicide in colonial Ghana: The impact of the Knowles murder case. Journal of African History, 52(1), 85-104.

Goldhaber, M., 2007. A People’s History of the European Court of Human Rights. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Heaton, M., 2013. Aliens in the asylum: Immigration and madness in the Gold Coast. Journal of African History, 54(3), 373-391.

Henckaerts, J.-M., 1995. Mass Expulsion in Modern International Law and Practice. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.

Jackson, L., 2005. Surfacing up: Psychiatiy and Social Order in Colonial Zimbabwe, 1908-1968. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Lau, E., 2006. Paper Families: Identity, Immigration Administration, and Chinese Exclusion. Durham: Duke University Press.

Mbembe, A., 2016. Politiques de I'inimitie. Paris: La Decouverte.

Mbembe, A.,2018. The idea of a borderless world. Africa Isa Country, 11 November.

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Quarshie, N., 2020. Bounding Alien Lunatics in Modern Ghana. Thesis (PhD). University of Michigan.

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Part II

  • [1] As is common with most scholarship on Ghana, I use the term ‘Ashanti’ to refer to the colonial and post-colonial administrative region. ‘Asante’ refers to the people and the pre-colonialstate.
  • [2] In West Africa, scholars have refined this definition by focusing on those decrees that led tothe expulsion of at least 100 people (Adida 2016).
  • [3] Public Records and Archives Division of Ghana - Ashanti Region (hereafter, PRAAD ARG)2/26/2/15, Letter from Secretary to the Cabinet to the Principal Secretary', Ministry of theInterior (18 Dec 1969). Copies sent to All Principal Secretaries and All Regional Administrative Ofticers.
  • [4] PRAAD ARG 2/1/84 - Letter from Deputy Superintendent for Crime Northern Division(F.K. Avumegah) to Assistant Commissioner Ashanti Division Northern Division (7 Feb1971).
  • [5] Ibid.
  • [6] Ibid.
  • [7] Ibid.
  • [8] Ghana, Parliamentary Debate, Oral Answers, 19 May 1970, ‘Alien Prisoners’, Vol. 3, p. 95.
  • [9] The Ghana Business Promotion Act (1970) expanded the Ghanaian Enterprises Decree(1968) by barring non-citizens from engaging in any small business endeavours in thenation. The Ghanaian Enterprises Decree called for all highly profitable retail trade, wholesale businesses, taxi services, and overseas manufacturing businesses to be represented orowned by Ghanaians by 1973.
  • [10] PRAAD ARG 2/1/84 - Letter from Secretary to the Cabinet to the Principal Secretary,Ministry of the Interior concerning Discontinuation of the Issue of Residence Permits toAliens (15 July 1970).
  • [11] Beefkebab.
  • [12] PRAAD ARG 2/1/84 - Letter from Deputy Superintendent for Crime Northern Division(F.K. Avumegah) to Assistant Commissioner Ashanti Division Northern Division (7 Feb1971).
  • [13] Often, alien prisoners scheduled for deportation remained incarcerated up to two years afterthe completion of their sentences due to the government’s failure to quickly process theirpapers or their home countries’ refusal to accept deportees as their citizens.
  • [14] PRAAD ARG 2/1/84 - Letter from Deputy Superintendent for Crime Northern Division(F.K. Avumegah) to Assistant Commissioner Ashanti Division Northern Division (7 Feb1971).
  • [15] Ibid.
  • [16] PRAAD ARG 2/1/85 - Letter from Principal Secretary Ministry of Interior to the ChiefExecutive Ashanti (23 June 1971).
  • [17] PRAAD ARG 2/1/85 - Letter from Dora Agyei and Others to the Chairman - Management Committee - Kumasi City Council (20 July 1971).
  • [18] PRAAD ARG 2/1/84- Letter from Minister of Internal Affairs (N.Y.B. Adade) to RegionalChief Executive Officer (H.R. Annan) (28 May 1971).
  • [19] Ibid.
  • [20] PRAAD ARG 2/1/85 - Letter from Ministry of Internal Affairs (N.Y.B. Adade) to Chairman of Kumasi City Council (J.K. Osei, Esq.) (21 Oct 1971).
  • [21] PRAAD ARG 2/1/85 - Extract from the Minutes of REGSEC Meeting Held on 19 Nov1971.
  • [22] PRAAD ARG 2/1/85 - Letter from Asst Comm SD ASH (E.B. Adjei) to the RegionalChief Executive (30 Dec 1971).
  • [23] Ghana, Parliamentary Debate, Oral Answers, 19 August 1970, ‘Alien Beggars’, Vol 4, pp.550-551.
  • [24] Ibid.
  • [25] PRAAD ARG 2/1 /84 - Report from Immigration Officer Bolgatanga (Basunwo Bachinge)(4 Feb 1971).
  • [26] PRAAD ARG 2/26/2/15 - Letter from Chief Social Welfare and Community Development Officer (H.K.A Sackey) to the Regional Chief Executive, Regional Committee ofAdministration, Kumasi concerning Issifu Braimah (19 February 1970).
  • [27] PRAAD ARG 2/1/84 - Letter from Regional Admin Officer, ASH (M.Q. Cleland) to thePrincipal Secretary Ministry of Internal Affairs (8 Feb 1974).
  • [28] Ghana, Parliamentary Debate, Oral Answers, 19 August 1970, ‘Alien Beggars’, Vol. 4, pp.550-551.
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