Diaspora Liberians Amplify Push for “Yes” on Dual Citizenship

12
1910
From right: Emmanuel S. Wettee and Marcus Y. Sherman on the "Vote Yes to Dual Citizenship" campaign

In spite of controversy concerning the conduct of the national referendum with the Supreme Court ruling that the National Elections Commission should not go ahead with the printing of ballots for the propositions on hand until separated to have enough awareness about so citizens can best decide how to vote for or against them, Liberians in the diaspora are campaigning that their compatriots here should all vote “Yes” to the Dual Citizenship proposition that is the first among the three congested propositions to be voted for.

“We are asking the Liberian people to vote “Yes” to proposition 1 because that will help to bring development to our country, and only Liberians can rebuild Liberia,” Emmanuel S. Wettee, Chairman of All Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship told the Daily Observer on Wednesday, November 25.

Wettee in his quest for passage of the Dual Citizenship proposition argues that Liberians fled the country in numbers during the course of the war and have stayed in the United States and other countries around the world for years and gained some status, and they are wishing to return to contribute to the building of their country.

He said coming has some constraints because, as a Liberian who declared citizenship in the US, it is difficult, if not unlawful, to own land in Liberia until one renounces one’s citizenship of the country one lives in.  Moreover, the advocate said Liberia’s current law does not allow citizenship to be passed onto a child born by a Liberian abroad, noting, “We are all the same people; being wherever we are, does not take away who we are before going.  So, we are saying that Liberians should vote ‘yes’ to Proposition 1.”

He said Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone have adopted Dual citizenship and their citizens are coming from Europe and the United States helping to build their countries and Liberia can do the same.

He wonders why would Liberians travel outside of their country and see all the good things there but cannot bring similar ideas to help build the country.

“For instance, they go and see health facilities in other countries, but they do not ask how people in those countries managed to reach at the levels they are.

Concerning the Supreme Court’s decision, Wettee said, “The Supreme Court did not say the referendum should not go on but asked the NEC to reprint the ballots to reflect all the propositions on the ballot and it is ongoing.”

The call for passage of the Dual Citizenship Law has been met with public resentment among Liberians at home.  Some, recalling how government officials of past administrations were engaged in capital flight in the past administration, contend that giving dual citizenship to those in the diaspora would solidify capital flight as most people from abroad will use their citizenship to exploit the country.

Wettee agrees that “There are some bad apples” among people, but that should not be a condition for which other Liberians should be denied.  

“I cannot sit here and say dual citizenship does not have a bad side. But if we put in the right processes and the right institutions, these things will not happen,” he said.

The Dual Citizenship advocate said besides man that God made directly, all other things after God’s creation are things to improve on and the Constitution is no exception. According to him, corruption is not a dual citizenship problem, but a character problem.

He, however, noted that he understands the concerns some citizens have that there are people who could use their status to get away with corruption and other malpractices, but warned that no one is responsible for the character of another.

Erasing the fear that some may leave the United States or other foreign nations to come to Liberia, commit a crime and abscond from the country, Mr. Wettee referenced Chucky Taylor as a classical example of one who committed crimes in Liberia and was arrested in the United States, prosecuted and convicted, and sentenced for to serve a prison term of 97 years.  Therefore, he said having dual citizenship for Liberians living outside of the country will not in any way create the corridor for people to come and commit crimes here to run back abroad with impunity.

One concern with the dual citizenship issue is the granting of citizenship to non-negroes including the Lebanese.  Responding to this concern, Mr. Wettee said the Liberian Constitution is clear on the issue of citizenship that only people of Negro descent are allowed to gain citizenship in Liberia.

Voting comes with two results; either what is voted on wins or loses.  Concerning the contended proposition, the chairman of the All Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship noted that it will be a bitter pill to swallow if Liberians vote against the proposition, but they in the diaspora will respect the views of the people as far as democracy is concerned and will continue to insist until it is passed in a future referendum.

12 COMMENTS

  1. I think it’s a good idea to grant dual citizenship to all Liberians, once born in Liberia you’re always a Liberian. Those in the diaspora in America, for example, cannot be president in America, but the kids they born can become. If you attain citizenship in the USA, and eventually request for passport, it clearly says in that passport, “Place of birth: Liberia”, that is a fact that can never be denied. So first of all, being charged visa fees to come home where you are born should not exist in the first place. Only Liberians can build Liberia, no foreigner would. Our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and the list of relatives could go on and on, are all still in Liberia. We come once or twice a year to visit them because we love them and our beloved country. Think of all the remittances we send home on an annual basis, if we didn’t have our people and country at heart would we in the diaspora be doing that? I think the real question should be: Should the kids born overseas to Liberian parents hold high offices in Liberian government, or even become president of Liberia? The fact that they were never born in Liberia gives them limitations that all can agree to as matter of fact. I have been in Liberia a few times since being overseas and have begun carrying out developments all in the name of love for my country. I would like to encourage all Liberians back home to vote yes to this preposition come the next elections when it’s included in the ballots to vote on.

  2. Liberia was founded by free blacks who were US citizens at the time and at the behest of the US govrnment and the American Colonization Society. As such, shouldn’t Liberia be accorded similar status as US colonies such as Guam, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Virgin Island, etc.? Even if not exactly the same status because Liberia was never colonized as such, but something to the effect of at least a laisse passer status for Liberians in general. I believe that will benefit all Liberians alike, far better than this self-seeking attempt to add another tier or “tribe” to the 16 we are already grappling with.

    And the rationale by advocates of this “Dual citizenship” tell us because they fled the civil war in Liberia and settled in other countries, compelled them to assume the citizenships of those other countries, really? If that were the case one wonders then, why is it that other Liberians who equally fled the war to other countries in Europe and Africa, did not assume the citizenships of those other countries like Liberians in the US did en masse?

    It goes to say there’s got to be something more attractive about US citizenship that makes people abandon their birth citizenship for it. And when given the opportunity to return home to the country these advocates claim they love so much, they squirm and begin to speak in foreign tongues, American, per chance? Instead they want to be Americans from the waist up and Liberians the other half.

    Mind you, the Americans will not even recognize this so-called “Dual citizenship,” only Liberia will be fooling itself about the existence of that relationship. Why? Because if any of those traitors were to commit a crime in Liberia and escaped to America, America will never return them to Liberia for trial and why? Because America will not recognize them as Liberians but American citizens. And America does not return its citizens to “shithole countries” on account of their wanting judicial systems. Remember Ellen Cockhran? Thank you.

    When you consider how the first group of Americo-Liberians treated indigenous Liberians in the past, only people who don’t learn from their history or past mistakes will want to repeat those same mistakes. The first Americo-Liberian class was just 5% of the population when they treated the 95 % indigenous like not even second class citizens but like dogs, so you can imagine the exploits of a new class three or four times that number.

    Thank God all indications suggest that Liberians are resolved not to approve this treachery. If anyone wants to be Liberian, welcome. You want to be American, bye! No double dipping.

    • Based on your expose, I surmise that you reside in Liberia and probably have not permanently resided in the Diaspora. Liberians (and many Africans) residing in Europe, Canada, Australia, and the US have acquired citizenship or permanent residency in their respective nations and last time I checked, that was not a crime.

      The simplest reason for acquiring foreign residency and/or citizenship is this: one cannot have access to adequate funding for education, quality jobs, or healthcare, etc on foreign visas in any of the above listed places.

      After our own fratricidal war and self-destruction, Liberia did not have much to offer any of its millions of citizens that fled the war. Even those that stayed home have lived by the mercy of God and depended on alms from relatives in the Diaspora. It is no wonder that the Liberian Diaspora has been listed by Western Union, Money Gram and other firms as one of the highest donors in the world for almost three decades.

      Did you expect Liberians to return to Liberia during the 14-year Civil War? Did you expect the Liberian govt to pay living expenses for its citizens, most of whom fled to spare their lives?

      The Dual Citizenship debate should not even be a debate. It must be be passed into law and very soon.

      It’s ironic that the very same lawmakers blocking the Dual Citizenship bill are permanent residents and citizens of Diaspora nations themselves. Even our president and current presidential aspirants are citizens of foreign nations. How many ministers and prominent Liberians hold US and other passports? Too many to count.

      We’re wasting our time by not passing this bill. The acceptance of Dual Citizenship across Africa has led to the faster development of our sister nations like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, etc. Let people like you and our govt keep joking while our brothers and sisters around keep progressing.

      • Interestingly “Wilson,” in naming countries that Liberians may have fled to during the war and whose citizenships those Liberians were “compelled” to acquire later according to you, you failed to mention any African country in that category. Why? Was that an oversight or it never happened? Meaning, no Liberian assumed any African country’s nationality since they fled there for refuge from the war.

        As we speak there are thousands of Liberians who fled the war who are still in places like Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and other far away African countries, but who have not assumed the citizenship of those African countries. Could it therefore be that relinquishing your Liberian citizenship for that of another country could be for some other more attractive and self-serving reasons, and not just because “Liberians lived for many years in other countries so they were compelled to assume the citizenship of those countries?” It goes to say this whole “dual citizenship” thing is more about self-centered opportunities, and nothing to do with anyone being “compelled,” or it having any trickle down benefits as the proponents want us to believe.

        Of even greater importance or consequence in this dual citizenship quest which the proponents often gloss over, and either out of naivete or a well calculated ploy to keep us blinded to that reality, is the fact that this so-called dual citizenship privilege or status will only be recognized by Liberia, not America. Those who are Liberian-Americans will tell you, that when you go to take the oath for US citizenship, you have to renounce any other citizenship. So those other countries whose citizens have assumed American citizenship, are the ones burdened to accept and recognize that duality, not America. Reason why there is never a former agreement or protocol singed by the two countries as such.

        Also, “Wilson,” you and the other advocates of this dual citizenship thing are very quick to remind us of the tremenduous benefits that pour in Liberia as soon as this thing is approved, that there are ships with so much free stuffs just waiting to dock at the freeport as soon as this dual citizenship passes, really? Not only that, but that dual citizenship is what’s making other African countries develop and prosper faster? I will bet my neck that the pace of development in any country has to do with the available resources and the caliber of the leadership responsible for harnessing and allocating those resources for the indended purposes.

        For example, “Wilson,” countries like Japan, Kuwait, India, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malaysia, Mozambique, Saudi Arabia,Yemen, Bahamas, Qatar, Singapore, Congo-DRC,Djibouti, Ethopia, etc., etc., don’t have this so-called dual citizenship rite to development, but you cannot deny the fact they are much more developped than some of your dual citizenship examples. Do you even know how old Liberia is, before estimating that without this dual citizenship for happy-go-lucky bluffers Liberians will suffer and die? 173, just in case you didn’t know.

  3. Just look at these God Forsaken diaspora Liberians, caring only for the things that concerned them and their interests.
    Your just for the dual citizenship which is perhaps the first on proposition. So every Liberians living outside of the country can have the same or almost the opportunity as those living in the country. Your vote yes. Your hear ?
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
    But do these diaspora Liberians understand what is actually on the mind of the Liberians in that country as it relates to the referendum, and what is actually at stake concerning the proposition and the legal ramifications of the referendum and the elections ?
    Perhaps, they do not care about what the legal ramifications of the elections and the referendum, as long as their interest on the proposition of dual citizenship is passed. With some if not most of them saying and asking the citizens over there to forget the legal ramifications and allow the referendum to go on. So what kind of citizens are they ? Selfish and self serving dual citizens ? Which is the concerned of the citizens living in that country in the first place. A political and legal arguments going on that will determined the future and direction of the country, and all one can hear is vote yes for the proposition calling for dual citizenship. And not even care to know about the limited window of opportunities offered to with dual citizenship. They do not seemed to be wanting to know about what the legal fight is all about. Just as long the referendum takes place and the proposition calling for dual citizenship is voted YES.
    But there are other propositions that the citizens are talking about, and at stake for the future of the country. They hope that those issues are addressed legally. If they are to avoid any major conflicts. They would like to have those issues settled now and legally. But where are the diaspora Liberians ? They speak as people who will bring about developments, brighter future, technical skills and know how with experience. With all that they are promising and saying about what they can do and what they are capable of doing, where are they on the other issues on the referendum, and the legal challenges ? Where are they ?
    Even with the limited window of opportunity offered to them, they really do not care to know.
    What is found in the law granting dual citizenship to diaspora Liberians with limited political participations were once practiced by the settlers to educated children of the natives. They came from the cold with master degrees, PhD degrees, and BSc degrees. They were still citizens that left for future and further studies. Returning to make their contributions to the nation and their people, directors and deputy director positions were waiting for them. Even deputy minister positions were difficult to come by.
    Today , it is the law for dual citizenship with limited opportunities. What was done to the educated native children in the past by the settlers, it has become law for people of dual citizenship. By the same people who were themselves denied open privileges.
    But it is all vote yes for dual citizenship that is on the minds of diaspora Liberians only.
    Like they say, to see the change that one desires, be part of the movement.
    The diaspora Liberians are part of the movement that says, if you can’t beat them, join them. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Because something is better than nothing. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Can’t beat them, join them.

  4. Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh Mistake is about to happen again. first fool is a fool second fool is not a fool. no one listening to the whisper of the same problem or mistake coming until it is done again.

  5. What do you think about my daughter who was born in Liberia in 1973 but could not have Liberian citizenship as both of her parents are white? How about this for racsim!

    • If you would consider the de facto or prima facie arbitrary discrimination vis a vis legislations by particularly EU countries and generally western countries ON THE ISSUE OF IST COUNTRY, SECOND COUNTRY, AND THIRD COUNTRY, NATIONALITY, where the disadvantaged are of course, blacks, Arabs, or generally Africans,, you would forget about the word ”racism”.

      As for “these ones“ who want to “eat their cake and still have it“, it is so good that their “ME ME ME“ mentality is to shortly end up A MIRAGE BULLDOZED INTO EVERLASTING OBLIVION!

  6. The current crop of Liberian lawmakers need to be booted out of office! Why? Because some of them are:

    1. Dishonest, dispicable and unreasonable,

    2. Hypocrites who have no moral compass,

    3. Greedy for money, clout and sex,

    4. Green Cardholders, buy yet they are opposed to dual citizenship for diaspora Liberians,

    5. Naturalized US citizens but yet, they act un- American. This happens because some or most of them are unsophisticated, dimwitted and downright weak and disorganized.

    6. Unpatriotic because they fly quickly out of the country in order to obtain medical treatment for themselves. How’s about when their constituents contract a dreadful disease like them? Will the sick constituents be flown out of the country in order to obtain medical treatment? Instead of finding ways in which Liberian hospitals could be helped, some Liberian lawmakers do not show sympathy or humanity.

    7. Inexperienced politically, economically and educationally. This happens mainly because of their self-centeredness and finally,

    The Liberian lawmakers need to booted out of office because they don’t know why Liberia was founded. It’s a shame. The lawmakers know it. But because they’re dumbfounded, they pretend it’s okay for our beloved country to go on like that.

    God bless Liberia.

  7. I agree 100% with my Grand Frere here.
    They should all but Darius Dillion be booted from out of office. Please do, my people!

  8. Good grieve! For once, my petit Frere has finally agreed with me on the issue of booting the current crop of Liberian lawmakers out of office. But when that happens, the big question becomes who replaces them?

    I will hedge my bet. Maybe petit Frere would like to see the ANC/CPP and CoP types voted in. Of course, in and of itself, that could be, but a majority of the Liberian people will never agree to his idea. And so, there you have it……A stalemate!

    If they are voted out of office democratically, who replaces them? Answers please….!

  9. Grand Frere,

    I hope and pray that the referendum can hold on December 8. If we succeeded it with a confident YES win, there will be many qualified aspirants come 2023.
    People will begin to look at themselves in the mirror before raising their hands to represent us in the house or senate.

    I cannot address your worries about the CPP or CoP. I could have answered if you were to ask me about the ANC. However, I know you will.

    Let me make a prophecy: In the next 5 or 10 years, we will have 2 major political parties in Liberia namely: The ANC of Alexander B. Cummings and The CDC or NPP. Many political parties will be absorbed into other parties soon and very soon, the time is coming.
    The Liberian people have started scrutinizing candidates objectively. It will be proven to you this December 8.
    By the way, did you follow the Montserrado senatorial debate? If you did not, I will beg you to be VERY patient to watch it from start to finish.

    The ANC will change the political landscape of Liberia; we will modernize and civilize politics in Liberia. We will move politics from hooliganism to an intellectual game in the interest of Liberia.
    Let’s pray for long life, Grand Frere!

Leave a Reply to Petarus Dolo Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here