The controversy surrounding the issue of dual citizenship in Liberia has claimed the attention of the chairperson of the Independent Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), Counselor Gladys Johnson.
She supports dual citizenship only for Liberians that are living abroad.
Cllr. Johnson based her argument on article 27 ‘A’ and ‘B’ of the Liberian Constitution, which state that, “All persons who, on the coming into force of this Constitution were lawful citizens of Liberia, shall continue to be Liberian citizens,” and ‘B,’ which says, “In order to preserve, foster and maintain the positive Liberian culture, values and character, only persons who are Negroes or of Negro descent shall qualify by birth or by naturalization to be citizens of Liberia.”
As a result, Johnson believes that dual citizenship should only apply to Liberian citizens that are living outside of the country.
“We should make an amendment to article 28 to make room for the provision of all persons who left the country during the war,” Cllr. Johnson said.
She joined the debate on Wednesday, when she delivered the keynote address during a program marking the public briefing on the findings of ‘The Dialogue’ forum on the continuing Constitution Review of Liberia.
The ceremony was held in the conference room of Mildred Page Hall at the S. Trowen Nabge United Methodist Church in Monrovia.
When President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf delivered her State of the Nation Address this year, she pledged her support to the idea of “dual citizenship,” but her support is yet to be discussed in the National Legislature.
Many major national documents have been crafted with little or no participation of citizens, which has continually undermined citizens’ voices in how decisions are reached, thereby making it difficult for citizens to take ownership of important national decisions.
Cllr. Johnson urged Liberians to protect their lands by looking at the issue of dual citizenship wisely before making any decision.
“The reason why Liberians living in America are pleading for dual citizenship is because they cannot rule in America and also Americans cannot turn power over to them if they become citizens.”
“Let’s focus on Article 27 ‘B’ of our Constitution to guide us in the process,” she urged, declaring, “The only thing we have is this land.”