House Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay has said that he would campaign for dual citizenship to be accepted, along with eight other propositions out of the original 25 from the Constitution Review Committee (CRC).
The Speaker said his campaign message would be the acceptance of dual citizenship and the rejection of some of the propositions in a constitutional reform process.
The House’s Speaker said he supports dual citizenship, because it will be in compliance with best practice to meet international standards, and will welcome back onboard Liberians who are already citizens of other countries.
“If other countries are doing it, including our neighbors, and are developed and developing, why [can we not] accept dual citizenship? We must accept this idea because it is rational…And in this dispensation, it would be expedient for our country to accept it,” Speaker Nuquay said.
Speaker Nuquay (who is also Margibi County District #5 Representative) made the remarks in his district, Weala, on Saturday, April 29, during a dialogue program of the Liberia Media Democratic Initiative (LMDI), under the theme: “Deepening Citizens Engagement in Constitutional Reform in Liberia.”
The Margibi lawmaker stated that he rejects the restriction of citizenship to people of non-negro descent because it is racist, divisive, and does not promote good investment and development.
“Investors of non-negro descent would not be loyal to your country because their hearts are not here simply because they can’t be citizens…and there is no guarantee that if they apply annually for permits, they would be accepted, so there will be repatriation of their money to where they are loyal or where their hearts are,” the Speaker said. He however failed to acknowledge that there still would be no guarantee of loyalty to Liberia should dual citizenship become legal.
The Speaker also said he supports the reduction in terms of the Presidency and Representatives from six to four years, and the Senate from nine to six years.
On the proposition for the enhancement of women’s participation in national affairs, the Speaker said he disagrees because it is not appropriate and would not encourage women to build their capacity. The Speaker said the proposition has the propensity to open the floodgates to the youth, the disabled, the elderly, and others in the country.
He said though “it is a good thing” for international groups to encourage women in politics, it will also be a dead-end. “Their main objective should be contributing to the building of the capacity of the women to strive for positions in national affairs,” he said. “I support the universal law that it is equal opportunity to all.”
Nuquay also disagreed with the proposition that Liberians who owned lands should be parties to negotiations with investors or concessionaries, saying it would be to the disadvantage of the Government, who is responsible to provide basic services to the people. He said even though he does not support this proposition he is happy that a consideration will be made through a statute or an act that land owners must be given extra incentive.
The House Speaker said he supports the change of the date of the elections from the second Tuesday in October to March because of the rainy season; and that changing that date of the elections would mean to change the day of inauguration, the date of the State of the Nation Address, among others.
The Margibi lawmaker said though he also supports the election of local leaders, including Superintendents and Commissioners, their election would put them on par with Senators.
Nuquay said he disagrees with the reduction of political parties, as any attempt to reduce them would bring about chaos – though he did not indicate what kind of chaos.
The Speaker argued that Liberians have the right to participate in the political process and to decide their national leaders.