Senate Votes on Dual Citizenship Debate on Thursday

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— Banking and Currency Committee retrieves L$35Bn printing report

The Secretariat of the Senate has been mandated to compile all notes from the day-long debate on Dual Citizenship, which is one of 13 Articles of the 1986 Constitution before the Senate for amendments.

According to the Senate plenary vote, the Secretariat report will be submitted to the Senate on Thursday, September 19, 2019 to be voted for approval or rejection by two third of members of that august body.

Grand Cape Mount County Senator, H. Varney Sherman, a lawyer by profession, who submitted the report to the Senate plenary presided over by President of the Senate and Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, underscored the need to give value that once a Liberian, always a Liberian.

Montserrado County Senator Abe Darius Dillon, passionately and vehemently pleaded for the passage of the Dual Citizenship, which is under Article 28 of the Liberian Constitution.

Like Senator Sherman, Dillion believes that once the blood of Liberia runs in the veins of an individual, such person should not be denied his/her birth right.

Although majority of the 23 Senators in attendance at Tuesday’s sitting vowed to vote in favor of the Article, many of them, however will do so with caveats attached.

For example, Senator J. Milton Teahjay , of Sinoe County, though supports the proposal on the Dual Citizenship, he promised not to accept any law that supports such person hold offices of President, Vice President, Senator or any elected or appointed governmental positions.

Senators Sando Johnson, (Bomi County), Armah Jallah, Gbarpolu County, and Marshall Dennis, Grand Gedeh County, all support the proposal, but with similar caveats of limiting their functions in the areas such as superintendent, Senate, House of Representatives, Finance Minister, Defense, and/or President and Vice President.

Based on the passion shown by majority of the Senators, and the patience of the President of the Senate for the hours she spent in presiding, there are indications that the Dual Citizenship proposal will receive the necessary blessings towards referendum.

In another development, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, A. Marshall Dennis, on Tuesday retrieved the submitted report his committee in which the Senate was requested to approve its recommendation for the printing of L$35 billion to replace L$21 billion of the current banknotes in circulations.

Dennis’ decision to proffer the motion to return the report back to committee room, was necessitated by a minority report by a member of the Banking and Currency Committee, Oscar Cooper, who argued that due diligence was not done before the report was submitted to Senate plenary for action.

Senator Cooper warned that if the printing of the L$35 billion is approved, “I see additional and irrefutable hardship on our people, and we will only have ourselves to blame; if we do not carefully study the various scenarios, we will impose extreme hurt on the Liberian people who are already suffering from the last infusion of L$16 billion.
Senator Dennis welcomed Senator Cooper’s decision, and agreed that there was a need for flexibility so that mistakes of the past are not repeated.

“We have observed that most of our colleagues still have a lot of lingering concerns on their minds that need answers; Mr. Cooper is quite correct when he said he sent to me that a list of questionnaire for Central Bank response, and since CBL is supposed to be responding to those concerns, at least to allay his apprehensions, it is but necessary that we accept his request to retrieve our report and invite CBL and the Ministry of Finance here,” Senator Dennis said.

The CBL Governors and the Minister of Finance are meanwhile, expected to appear before the Banking committee on Thursday, immediately after the Senate’s regular sitting.

20 COMMENTS

  1. When making laws we should ask ourselves: What is in the best interest of the country? Making a law that excludes a dual-citizen from elective office such as President, Vice President, Supreme Court Justice makes sense but to bar a dual-citizen from all elective office and senior government positions is a bad idea. The fact is the country needs an educated workforce to develop and most diaspora Liberians have skills, advanced degrees, and financial resources that could make a meaningful impact on the country’s economy. However, if the goal of this law is to encourage diaspora Liberians to return home to contribute, this law as proposed falls short.

  2. The loss of Liberian citizenship following naturalization in another country is an enormous error that needs correction. It was presumptuous on the part of the framers to believe natural-born citizenship was something that could be forfeited merely via constitutional or judicial fiat. How can one’s natural place of birth not be a natural and inalienable right? My Liberian citizenship is my birthright and was neither granted nor conferred on me.

    Rather than raising all sorts of spurious arguments on why those who have taken on citizenships where they now live should no longer be considered citizens of Liberia, this country needs to do the right thing by claiming all natural-born Liberians as its own.

  3. Comrades Phil George and Zlando have made plausible points. Like them, I sometimes wonder what causes the mental hemorrhage. Or is a kind of cognitive decline that wreaks havoc in the ranks of those who politically represent us?

    Phil, you have the tendency to laugh when I call on Jesus for help in matters like these. Don’t try it this time, or else Zlando and I will gang up on you. But I see your point, regardless. The man (Jesus) is probably fed up with the way in which things are done in Liberia. So invoking his precious name could be a waist of time.

    In Israel, Y. Shamir, Golda Meir and others who served as Prime Ministers of their country were not born in Israel. Shamir and Meir immigrated to Israel. Because of Israel’s “law of return”, the country enjoys a wealth of foreign expertise on its soil. In Liberia ‘s situation, there is a battle! The battle is one of discrimination. In Criminal Justice, it’s called “black on black” crime. The lawmakers of Liberia, some of whom are probably holders of US passports, are blatantly discriminating against Liberians in order to protect their turf. Isn’t this a shame?

    In recent years, some of the graduates of our universities are inexperienced. In fact some of them cannot speak or write well. Fact! Of course, every Liberian who lives in the diaspora is not educated. But it is factually correct to say that an overwhelming majority of Liberians who live overseas are better educated, trained and experienced than their Liberian counterparts! The question is this…how do we as a nation move forward if we’ve got unqualified people leading the way. We are being led into a ditch.

    We need civil disobedience in Liberia. Through the use of civil disobedience, Gandhi defeated British colonialism and imperialism in India. Dr. Martin Luther King used that strategy to weaken white dominance in the US. It will work in Liberia!

  4. Let us be very clear. It is not all of the senators who are trying stop dual-citizens from running for political office. It is just a handful of them.

    The reason they are trying to stop dual-citizens from running for political office is simple:
    They are only interested in stopping dual-citizens from taking their jobs from them..!!

    If they want to be sincere people and true representatives of the Liberian people in the Legislature; here is the very first step they should be taking.

    1) Call the traditional leaders to the Capitol Building and ask the chiefs this question:

    “We want to restore Liberian citizenship to your sons & daughters who naturalized in America and other
    countries around the world. Should we also allow them to have the right to run for political office in Liberia”?

    I don’t know about your grandparents but I know my grandma and grandpa will say “YES”!

  5. Granting of dual citizenship is a win-win.
    That said, Liberia has in recent times had its share of business-killing protests to add “civil disobedience”; not to mention that fifteen presidents were foreign-born until 1912 when Daniel Howard, whose birth place was in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, ascended the presidency.

    Moreover, even though I’m not an American citizen, it is shortsighted denying dual citizenship to capable people who only migrated to either empower themselves, or seek safe havens from war. Especially so, in a Liberia of near mass illiteracy where capacity isn’t only needed for state performance, but also as engine of social mobility and economic growth.

    Few politicians ought to stop the same old, same old denial of reality that got our resource-rich land stuck in backwardness, and underdevelopment. Leaving for a just cause doesn’t make anyone out of love with Liberia. Undoubtedly, there is much to do for stability, and now that the national consensus is towards establishing war and economic crimes court, adding dual citizenship will galvanize us all.

  6. Trio-citizenship, quadruple, etc. etc. will soon be asked for. As for me being a Liberian, one citizenship is enough for me. I want no parts of another nation. Liberian I remain only, Liberian I die.

  7. Dual citizenship laws excluding people from electives and top gov’t positions is like inviting a man to a party , expecting he brings good gifts but restraining him of drinks, foods and dances. Dual citizenship should be win-win situation, unfortunately it wouldn’t be for for us.

  8. Hi everyone.
    Please don’t worry about anything. We are all Liberians. No one can take that away from you.
    You will be able to have any Governmental position that you are qualified to lead. Qualification is the key word. Be happy that your brothers and sister are going to vote in favor that you are full flesh citizens with all the privileges granted to all citizens.
    Thanks be to God.

  9. Dual citizenship for me only means that my birthright as a born Liberian irrespective if I was born in another nation, is not hindered. I have the same rights as the individual physically born in the nation. I grew in Liberia in the 70’s and 80’s in normal days and have traveled back every year for the past 12 years. Our focus should be on creating a robust private sector and working with government as a partner but not necessarily to work for government. This is a great step forward. Let us embrace it and work together holistically for a better and greater Liberia. Peace and Blessings

  10. constituteproject.org PDF generated: 12 Aug 2019, 19:19
    Ghana 1992 (rev. 1996) Page 18
    8. DUAL CITIZENSHIP
    1. A citizen of Ghana may hold the citizenship of any other country in addition to
    his citizenship of Ghana.
    2. Without prejudice to article 94(2)(a) of the Constitution, no citizen of Ghana
    shall qualify to be appointed as a holder of any office specified in this clause if he
    holds the citizenship of any other country in addition to his citizenship of Ghana-
    a. Ambassador of High Commissioner;
    b. Secretary to the Cabinet;
    c. Chief of Defence Staff or any Service Chief;
    d. Inspector-General of Police;
    e. Commissioner, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service;
    f. Director of Immigration Service; and
    g. any office specified by an Act of Parliament.
    3. Where the law of a country requires a person who marries a citizen of that
    country to renounce the citizenship of his own country by virtue of that
    marriage, a citizen of Ghana who is deprived of his citizenship by virtue of that
    marriage shall, on the dissolution of that marriage, become citizen of Ghana.
    • Requirements for naturalization 9. CITIZENSHIP LAWS BY PARLIAMENT
    1. Parliament may make provision for the acquisition of citizenship of Ghana by
    persons who are not eligible to become citizens of Ghana under the provisions of
    this Constitution.
    2. Except as otherwise provided in article 7 of this Constitution, a person shall not
    be registered as a citizen of Ghana unless at the time of his application for
    registration he is able to speak and understand an indigenous language of
    Ghana.
    3. The High Court may, on an application made for the purpose by the
    Attorney-General, deprive a person who is a citizen of Ghana, otherwise than by
    birth, of that citizenship on the ground-
    • Conditions for revoking citizenship
    a. that the activities of that person are inimical to the security of the State or
    prejudicial to public morality or the public interest; or
    b. that the citizenship was acquired by fraud, misrepresentation or any other
    improper or irregular practice.
    4. There shall be published in the Gazette by the appropriate authority and within
    three months after the application or the registration, as the case may be, the
    name, particulars and other details of a person who, under this article applies to
    be registered as a citizen of Ghana or has been registered as a citizen of Ghana.
    5. Parliament may make provision by Act of Parliament for-
    a. the renunciation by any person of his citizenship of Ghana; • Right to renounce citizenship

  11. As in the United States of America, we do not resent the return of Liberians who will obviously become a part of their ownership scheme. But the point is injecting ideological differences of our traditional,cultural healthy base; upon which the Chiefs, Elders, Settlers their sons and daughters and those that followed enhanced the formulation of this nation which ignited fire, war and recent economic infusion necessary to financial growth if aim is to save the nation from suppression. It is true that there is one God and even those who do not believe in God know fully well that there can only be one leader at a time in term. In short, come back to be citizen of your own nation or place of birth. But you must denounce verbally and on script of the one you cannot be a part of. You must chose one nationality. You will not take a Liberian’s seat and say you are dual. If you prefer being an American or another nation’s national, make a choice. One nation for all. Not two, three, four, or 5 nations for us. I will not consider even my own relative a Liberian as long as your scripts have more than one identity. Liberia on the West Coast of Africa was formulated by more than one identity under one name. Genetics is scientific and 1/2 + 1/2 = 1 . Not 2 or 3 or 4…… If you are kru man and married a bassa woman or a Guinean or any other nationality (also applies to other tribes and settlement), that child produced from the unity becomes a separate identity. If the child grows to marry another half, the grandchild produced is no longer 1/2. That grandchild becomes one. Property is not in limbo when it in use by anyone in the family until it is delivered to the proper heir. This is how this nation was formulated. It will stay this way. Tell it to Liberians. Do not reply.

  12. The burning of the bush. Will dual ignite or will it destroy?
    Do we need to fight a war again? One nation is enough.
    Gone to silence. Do not answer. Tell the people.

  13. He obtained it when he was at PSG. It was at a time when teams were allowed to field not more than 3 non European players. Taking up French nationality enabled the careers of many African players at the time.

  14. You’re,
    Thanks for the information. I will definitely check it out. There are thousands of Africans who are French citizens.

    But I see no hypocrisy so far on Weah’s watch as it relates to the issue of dual citizenship. The last time I looked, Weah was supportive of dual citizenship.

    Lastly, the people who seem to be complicating matters of dual citizenship for Librarians abroad are the politicians of Liberia, not Weah.

    The local politicians are well-rooted. They earn over $175,000 per annum, they’re supplied with brand new cars, they’re given free internet, free telephone air time and free gas slips. Don’t forget to add to the list of perks a good healthcare plan and a retirement package that’s better than most retirement packages!

    So, the question is what are they afraid of? Most Liberians (of course not all of them) who live abroad and have naturalized are better educated and workwise experienced than some nocos back home. Check it out!

    • The law makers closed their eyes on President Weah’s French citizenship, while hindering the advancement of the nation. have always advocated for dual citizenship. I am a dual national. Some of opted for dual citizenship in order to have easier path to opportunities that is reserved for citizens of the country.

  15. Sorry brother Toure!
    The stupid spell check changed Toure to You’re. Now we can all laugh about it, but spell check is not always good.
    Hang in there buddy!

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