House Speaker Supports Dual Citizenship

- Backs reduction of presidential term to 4 years

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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.

Author

  • I am a Liberian journalist, born November 7 and hailed from the Southeast and of the kru tribe. I began contributing to the Daily Observer 2008 and was fully employed in 2012. I am the 3rd of eight children and named after my great grandfather. Am happily married with three children (girls). I am a full member of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and also the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) and the Legislative Press Pool (LEGISPOL). I can be contacted through email: [email protected] or cell number/WhatsApp: (+231) 0886585875 or Facebook.

26 COMMENTS

  1. I totally agree with you. If we as Liberians in the diaspora are cultivating our energy, resources and connections to someday come back home and live where we are not welcomed because we took on another citizenship, it will be so unfair to us. Looking at the huge monetary support we send annually, which backs the economic stability of our country; I think it’s about time Liberia shakes itself from the shackles of ignorance and divisiveness. Now is the time to tear down walls of division and bias. We educate our kids daily about home, making them long year after year to come and see and someday reside here. We tell our African American and Caucasian friends about the Land of Liberty but denies minorities their rights. The constitution was setup to protect the country at that time of the Europeans division of Africa. Today, it is no longer needed and is now divisive and racist. I push that more rational change be done to our constitution and laws. And let’s see how positive the nation moves. God bless Liberia!!

    • I wonder whether you won’t still send the money you send monthly if you were not granted citizenship. I agree that whatever money you send support the economy but at the end of the day you will still send money to your families and friends whether you are granted or not. So, don’t make it look as if it is mandatory that you send money home and that if you don’t the country will collapsed. You are doing it because of your families and friends and not because you love Liberia. Should we reward people because they support their families? I guess not! What does granting dual citizenship to you have to do with you returning and settling in Liberia? I guess no one is stopping you from returning to Liberia. There is no guarantee that accepting dual citizenship will improve the loyalty of Liberians with dual citizenship. There is even a serious concern of loyalty on their part because many of these guys willing accepted the citizenship of the second country under no duress. If you are truly patriotic to your country, you would never opt for another citizenship. I strongly think we should be careful in our calls for dual citizenship in Liberia. We don’t want the situation where we will open the flood gates and allow every other nationalities to scramble for Liberian citizenship. We have got very weak institutions that makes monitoring such laws very difficult. Our neighbors did not blindly accept dual citizenship. They did it at a time when they had the capacity to do so. Not only that, there clauses inserted in their laws which forbid those with dual citizenship from interfering in their national politics. Hence, in those countries, a person with dual citizenship cannot become a president nor a minister of state or head other positions within the legislature, executive and judiciary. This prevent the case where a dual citizenship holder, i.e. Chinese becoming a president or a Speaker of the House of Legislature and etc. The fact that the question of loyalty remains unanswered, we must guide the interest of Liberia against those with dual nationalities.

      • I strongly support your argument on dual citizenship especially with someone with dual citizenship interfering with the governance of our country and the holding of strategic like president, speaker, senator etc by them I don’t support it.Let there be some limitation to their citizenship.

      • Only unselfish and ungodly Liberians will be against dual citizenship in this age and time. For over 100 years we have kept this droconian and undemocartic law where people of non negro descend cannot become citizen of Liberia. Hence most foreigners that come to Liberia earn wealth and take it away. Ghana has dual citizenship, but dual citizens are barred from becoming president, vice president, senators, representative and heading certain minstries such as defence, finance, etc. We can make the same laws here and allow dual citizenship. Why us Liberians are so antichange. There is no way we are going to continue doing the same old things and expect new results.

      • This is a complex issue. How do you understand dual citizenship to be?
        To my understanding, it is the ability of someone who is a citizen of another country to become a citizen of Liberia.
        What I believe the argument should be is all born Liberians and people who are born of a Liberian born parent with citizenship in another country should be considered Liberians.
        Tell me what you thinK…….

      • There is nothing wrong with the dual nationality except the way we Liberians want to do. This no issue in Guinea cote d’ivoire, ghana, etc. In Liberia, the dualnationality project seems to be a project of excuse to keep the country lagged behind NOT BECAUSE OF REFUSAL to anti-dual nationality law. Lets see the clear way forward. I would suggest the following: 1. a census of all Liberians in Us, Europe, Australia must be conducted, 2. All Liberians working outside of the country should return at least 1% of the gross annual income as income tax to the country, 3. all Liberians mainly in Us, Europe, Canada and Australia should be given voter card to vote for presidential legislative candidates, 4. All Liberians abroad should return social security tax to NASSCORP, so that when they are old, they return and benefit and finally, All Liberians to benefit from the dual nationality project should sign legal agreeing to be prosecuted and face trial at home should one commits crime and runaway to heaven(US, EUROPE, AUSTRALIA OR CANADA).Stop and ask yourselves, who benefited from the senior executive service program and the TOKTEN program in after 2005, our diaspora brothers and sisters, even bus driver from new York became transport company manager.

      • Don’t be silly and mimumize the issue to just the monetary contribution from the diaspora, this is about bring human resource to Liberia. Children born in the diaspora who will return and start families in Liberia and reestablishing a entire generation to the development of our great Nation. My concern about dual citizenship is for those born in Liberia and their descendants. If Liberia is to grow and develop into a 21st century, there that to be influx of new policies, starting with immigration.

  2. Speaker which of Liberia’s neighbors that accept dual citizenship and are developing?What is the sense of nationalism and patriotism when you are a Liberian citizen who denounced your citizenship for another country?We have to be very serious as people in order to move forward.Dual citizenship should not be encourage in Liberia which is already backward intense of development and transformations. We are face with that mentality of some leaders who believe in coming to get resources in Liberia and take it abroad and leaving the people and country with nothing.Accepting dual citizenship will be a recipe for the continue backwardness of our dear nation.

    • Answer to your first question: _Ghana has DUAL citizenship.In accordance with the Citizenship Act of 2002 (Act 591),Ghanaians who have acquired US Citizenship, are eligible to apply for dual citizenship.

      Ivory Coast _ Ivory Coast’s parliament approved new laws to ease access to citizenship for millions of foreigners- Lawmakers passed two laws concerning nationality on Friday. One will allow foreigners to acquire Ivorian citizenship upon marriage to an Ivorian national.The second will allow foreign-born residents living in Ivory Coast since before independence to become citizens along with their descendents. Foreign nationals born in Ivory Coast between 1961 and 1973 and their children will also qualify.

      A leading African economic think tank expects Ghana to have economic growth of 8.7 percent in 2017, the fastest of 54 countries ranked on the continent. Cote d’Ivoire (8.3),is also on the list according to the African Economic Outlook (AEO), a partnership between the African Development Bank, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations.”

    • Vagued argument. 95% of Liberians that left Liberia during the war have brought back development to Liberia either by building a house, a business or sending remittances back home.

    • My Brother, why are you so against dual citizenship for Liberian born citizens and yet in favor of dual citizenship of those that are naturalized? What negative impact will such dual citizen have on this country?

  3. some of the Liberians outside are more patriotic than those inside. Our legislators are so patriotic that they take money from our children mouths to feed their girlfriends. Those inside Liberia are so patriotic that they stand in line in the hot sun to the US embassy to get out of Liberia. if there was no war, then perhaps this debate would make sense but people fled for their lives.

  4. Is Liberia changing for the worse or for the better? Too many times we have seen laws made and implemented just for the sake of political expediency rather than for the sake of national unity, economic progress and social equality. The revised constitution of 1986 is a typical example when Liberians had the chance of revisiting outdated Laws: like that of citizenship, presidential and legislative term limits.

    That opportunity was squandered. Instead, we kept intact outdated racist law prohibiting people of non-negro descent from becoming Liberian citizens (even if they were born in Liberia); we prohibited Liberians from obtaining dual citizenships. The originators (Dr. Sawyer, Dr. Kesselly and others) of the revised constitution succumbed to Doe’s military might in extending the duration of presidential and legislators’ term limits…..detrimental to economic and political competition.

    As our neighbors (Ivory Coast, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, etc…) see it fit to develop their countries, they have extended their citizenships to their fellow countrymen and women living in the diaspora….regardless of their skin color or how long they have lived abroad. A wholesome functioning society in this modern day era cannot be accomplished by creating obstructive barriers to economic success like we have in Liberia’s constitution and the self-centered Code of Conducts.

    Yes indeed, countries need reasonable code of conducts that are ethical and fair for all. Unreasonable Laws that are implemented just political convenience will always not pass the test of time: because it only creates chaos, confusion, polarization, and deprive people who have the knowledge, technical know-how, and experience from contributing to the success of Liberia. There are too many people of non-negro descent that were born in Liberia, denied Liberian citizenship, or dual citizenship, who are now citizens of the world serving in many useful capacities. The brain- drain will continue in Liberia if we do not change our outdated laws to face present day reality.

    I applaud Speaker Nuquay for his proposal to change our draconian laws. The speaker realizes how some African countries, and how other Western nations (most especially the United States) have become successful over the years by embracing the talents of immigrants who have become citizens (including many Liberians).

    Our inability to amend our constitution to adapt “equal rights amendment” is detrimental to the progress of Liberia. Amend our draconian constitution to stop racial and ethnic discrimination; amend our draconian constitution to enable all Liberians to enjoy equal economic opportunities; and social justice.

    Liberia wants to develop but Liberia refuses do what it takes to develop!!!!!!!

  5. I agreed with the opinions of many of my fellow Liberians on here as it relates to the subject of dual citizenship. I understand the frustration of our diaspora Liberians who are being denied dual citizenship, In a country where they were born, raised, and unfortunately left because of the civil crises. These Liberians should be granted dual citizenship but with restrictions because of security reasons. If we denied our brothers and sisters dual citizenship, or punished for decisions they made to safe their own lives during the heat of the war, a decision many of us would had made if we had the opportunity, it will be unfair, unliberian, and failing our nation. We have many Africans from other West African countries who are flooding into Liberia and obtaining Liberian citizenship under the name “ECOWAS Citizens”, but our own people who left the country during the heat of the war are denied citizenship. Also, I’m in favor of none negros for example the Lebanese, Indians, Chinese, Whites, becoming permanent residence with and 5yr renewal based on certain conditions, but not dual citizens because we don’t have the systems and infrastructure in place to monitor and keep Liberia’s interest protected.

    May I also add that Liberia is one of the least explored and exploited countries in the world that is sitting on some of the world mineral reserves. This means that we don’t have to beg developed nations for handouts but partner with investors who are willing to help Liberia develop. This is possible with both our brothers at home and those in the diaspora.

    • Marck – as you rightly said other West Africans flooding into Liberia and obtaining Liberian citizenship under the name of ECOWAS Citizenship, which I have got nothing against. What I do not understand about our dual citizenship clause is whether it was crafted mainly to keep only Liberian born citizens from obtaining citizenship of other countries. How do we ensure that a Ghanaian, whose country also allows dual citizenship, who naturalizes as a Liberian citizen is still not a citizen of Ghana? As long as dual citizen is allowed in Ghana, our law has no jurisdiction in that country, so the Ghanaian citizen who is now a Liberian citizen is still a citizen of Ghana, hence you have dual citizenship. This law only works for countries that do not allow dual citizenship.

      Our laws must be equally applied to all citizens regardless, but it seem like this law creates a two tier citizenship, which makes it unconstitutional. I am a bit surprise this law has not been challenged and struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. The mere fact that this law creates two sets of citizen in the country, where one citizen (naturalized citizen) is allowed dual citizenship and the other (natural born citizen) is not allowed dual citizenship, is enough to declare it unconstitutional.

      I understand this civil war has done a lot on our psychic but at some point in time we have to wise up and rise to the occasion. For heaven sake we led this continent before on the world stage in terms of their freedom and elected the first female president; so then why is it now difficult to sort out these inconsistencies within our laws, or to even take our rightful place on the world stage again! We must stop acting on our emotions and start thinking with our mind and heads.

  6. Speaker Nuquay is a very smart young man. His analysis makes a lot of sense. The benefits of a country recognizing dual citizenship is enormous. People with selfish agendas might argued against it; but depriving natural born Liberians the privilege to re-acquired their citizenship is not in Liberia’s national interest. History is replete with instances and the devastating consequences of a country’s attempts to denied a segment of its citizens; who left the country for whatever reasons, the privilege/right to re-entered and contribute meaningfully to its rebuilding. The deprivation of natural born Liberians and their offsprings the right to re-acquired Liberian Citizenship because they naturalized in another country, while allowing individuals who are citizens of other countries to naturalized as Liberia, while retaining the citizenship of their country of birth, is unexplainable. No nation has ever succeeded in banishing a segment of its citizens away from its shores. No matter how long it takes, they will returned home. Let’s remember the story of the Hutus in Rwanda. If there is a lesson in history, speaker Nuquay’s support for dual citizenship is worth consideration.

  7. I did not know that the Liberian House of Legislatures have some of the smartest people. This is the first time I have heard some of the smartest lawmakers speak. There are those who call their own Liberian citizens in the diaspora foreigners only they because they use the foreign citizen status to make ends meet. A whole lots of Liberian in the diaspora have built houses all over Liberia, will you take those houses from them? During the senseless 14 years of civil war, Liberians in the diaspora spent millions of dollars helping relatives through western union and moneygram, that shows their loyalty to their country of birth. Africans who wants to be citizens of Liberia should be allowed to be because they may help to develop the country as well. It is just pure jealousy of the part of those Liberians who do not support their brothers and sisters to become dual citizens in their own land of birth. How many Liberians build houses in America like the way Liberians built houses in Liberia? I support speaker Nuquay and I am sure millions of other Liberians will support his idea. Finally, I support the reduction of the terms of President to 6, Senators to 6 and Rep to 4. Legislatures to

  8. I see why Liberia will not develop, because we can put good ideas together but implementing those ideas is the problem. We are now hearing CORE OF CONDUCT going to spend time just for the election to come and passed us. we are poor in implementing this is our problem.

  9. your remain in your america where the grass is green and leave us in our Liberia!! DAMMIT!!!! We aint want no dual citizenship in this place.

    • And why do you not want dual citizenship for Liberians born in the country but you want it for those that are naturalized?

    • Most of you don’t want dual citizenship, why is it that all Liberian presidential aspirants come to America to beg for money? Why can’t they go to Russia, Japan, China etc, but America?

      • Because they see eagle in your faces. For the Speaker, he had a podium and so, utilizing pages and time was best for him. In his right mind tried to justify huge incentives received from the sweat of the Liberian people who continue to suffered poverty and lack of basic social services. If, he could only reflect each of the direction taken to date, his campaign would focus on adequate healthcare, water and sanitation, investments and jobs as well, utilities instead, dual citizenship.

  10. Dual Citizenship!!!! WE Don’t want no double face in our country.black or white! We have no problems with being a Liberian.but Liberian only.why are you people crying to come back to hell?.rain fall or sun shine.we will vote no!! Diaspora! Diaspora!! We don.t want those criminals in our country.if you really love your country. Throw the American passports away and come.the situation that brought about racist laws had long gone! And same situation that brought about your American citizenship had also finish.so you are welcome back home but with one face not double face!!!

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