More than three months after delegates at the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) held in Gbarnga, Bong County overwhelmingly rejected to amend the 1986 Constitution to enable Liberians to hold dual citizenship, it seems the people’s decision has been reversed by the Constitution Review Committee (CRC).
A meeting held recently at the CRC headquarters in Monrovia, was intended for the CRC to brief the political parties on the outcome and recommendations of the NCC, since the parties walked out of the conference, claiming their request to vote for the propositions via secret ballot was rejected by the delegates.
At the Gbarnga conference held March 29 to April 2 this year, Liberians from the Diaspora who were part of the meeting made a cogent case for a change to allow dual citizenship to be included in the new constitution.
The proposal was one of the most controversial issues during the conference; it was also part of the 25 propositions of which 19 were endorsed by the Gbarnga’s delegates.
Despite the case made by Diaspora Liberians, the delegates went ahead and voted against dual citizenship.
Surprisingly, while the political parties’ representatives were seated and expected to commence discussion on the proposal last Tuesday, Cllr. Gloria M. Scott confidently stood -up and informed the gathering that,” after several close-door discussion among her committee members, they resolved to make dual citizenship as one of the contentious issues to be handle by the National Legislature.”
“We want to inform you that after meeting and discussing among ourselves, we agreed that dual citizenship remain of the three contentious issues that we recommended in our draft report on the just ended conference to the President,” she stated, adding, “President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf would now look at it and later present it to the National Legislature for a referendum.”
She said, the other contentious issues were Christian State and whether property owners on whose land minerals or natural resources are found should share the benefits accrued by government and should they be part of the negotiation.
Given the CRC’s closed door decision concerning dual citizenship, members of the various parties’ are asking why, in the first place, did the CRC spend taxpayers’ money on the Gbarnga Conference?
With that early confession, it is now proven that something had gone wrong with the recommendation of the people, who come from the 15 counties and sat for five days to arrive at this decision.
The 25 recommendations were collected during a nationwide constitution held with the 15 counties of Liberia regarding the amendment of some provisions within the 1986 Constitution.