Margibi County District 2 Representative Ivar Kokulo Jones has openly expressed support to the controversial Dual Citizenship Resolution, which is now under scrutiny at the House of Representatives.
Because of his ardent support for the process, Jones has meanwhile called on his colleagues to approve the Resolution to form part of the Agenda for Referendum in one year’s time if it is approved by the legislature and the president.
Rep. Jones said the amendment of the Constitution to allow non-Negros to become citizens would hugely contribute to the economic growth and development of the country.
He made his feelings known in a Daily Observer exclusive interview at his Capitol Building office on Monday shortly after he returned from a three-week Easter break. Jones is of the opinion that dual citizenship would create job opportunities, “because those to gain the status are financially potent.”
Rep. Jones indicated that the benefits of dual citizenship would be compared to the “Open Door Policy” that Liberia’s 19th President William V.S. Tubman introduced.
Through the “Open Door Policy,” Tubman facilitated and encouraged foreign businesses to locate and invest in Liberia.
“We are living in a world that is now a global village, so there is a need for us to support dual citizenship,” Rep. Jones said, adding, “the benefit of the process will be similar to the Open Door Policy that brought about infrastructure development,” Jones said.
He added, “The dual citizenship is a modification to Tubman’s Open Door Policy, because it will open our economy, attract investments and create jobs for prepared citizens.”
Jones’ support to citizenship for non-Negros is in sharp contradiction to many of his colleagues, who opposed the process, including the Muslim Council of Imam, who argued that because the majority of Liberians are “very poor, there should not be dual citizenship to deprive the underprivileged of their meager achievements.”
Liberia’s Chief Imam Ali Krayee said when the ‘white become citizens, a new class system, with city dwellers comprised mainly of non-Negro people and country folks of indigenous background, would automatically be established.
“This would only be a time bomb because in the future, our grand and great grandchildren may resort to the formation of the Liberian versions of a group such as the Mau Mau in a repeat of the continent’s ugly story,” Krayee observed.
Meanwhile, if the bill is approved, the constitution would be amended; that is, Articles 27 and 28 would be altered to conform to the situation.
Articles 27 and 28 of the constitution say: “All persons who, on the coming into force of this Constitution were lawfully citizens of Liberia shall continue to be Liberian citizens.” And also, “In order to preserve, foster and maintain the positive Liberian culture, values and character, only persons who are Negroes or of Negro descent shall qualify by birth or by naturalization to be citizens of Liberia.”
In a related development, Rep. Jones has also called on his colleagues not to support the Landownership Bills; instead, it should be addressed through the Land Right Act.
Jones believes that the Act would tackle the land ownership issues, because it deals with private, government, customary and public land ownership.
It may be recalled that the bills were submitted on February 6 of this year by Grand Kru County District 2 Representative Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa to the Lower House, following President George Weah’s call to revisit laws on citizenship and property ownership at his first Annual Address on January 29.