The Pastor of the New Water in the Desert Assembly (NWIDA), Reverend Dr. Kortu K. Brown, has called on “ordinary Liberians” to stand up against dual citizenship to avoid what he called “recreating the age-old Americo-Liberian Country divide” that plunged the country into a bloody coup and a devastating civil war to undermine the country.
Rev. Brown, who pastors the Apostolic Pentecostal Church (APC), was speaking last Sunday during divine thanksgiving worship service. He argued that the current dual citizenship drive is not timely nor a priority for reconstruction and development.
Dr. Brown, who is also the 1st vice president of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), averred that “there are those who argue that the country will not be developed until it embraces dual citizenship.”
The Pentecostal cleric, however, reminded dual citizenship advocates that statistics show that there are more than 65 countries, some very powerful in the world that do not promote dual citizenship and have considerably developed; citing China, Sweden, Japan, Cameroun, Malawi, Indonesia, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe, among others.
The APC general overseer noted that the real challenge with the dual citizenship is “divided loyalty”.
Dr. Brown argued that more influential Liberians with foreign connections have shown more loyalty to foreign states than their country of birth; saying the question of divided loyalty cannot be ignored in the current debate.
“When Liberians who have resided in foreign countries are dismissed, they revert to their new country of residence where they hold greater loyalty and willingness to follow the laws of that country than their country of birth.”
Furthering his argument, Dr. Brown suggested that Liberia adopt the Indian model of dual citizenship, dubbed as the “Overseas Citizens of India,” (OCI), not “Dual Citizenship.”
The apostolic cleric is therefore suggesting that the country endorses a law creating the “Overseas Citizens of Liberia” for all persons of Liberian birth, provided that OCL status holders are not permitted to carry Liberian passports, vote in local elections, stand as candidates for any elected office, hold constitutional offices of President, Vice President, Lawmaker, Judge, Cabinet Minister, among others and senior level appointments in government.
According to Rev. Brown’s anti-dual citizenship debate and his favored OCL suggestion, Overseas Citizens of Liberia, will be entitled to travel documents, dubbed “OCL Booklet” to enable them to freely travel to their motherland and participate in the socio-economic development of the country.
The OCL Booklet holders, according to Rev. Brown’s suggestion, may own properties and engage in any lawful business of their choice.