Tipoteh ‘On the Wrong Side of History’

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One of the founding fathers of Liberia’s modern democracy, Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, who on August 30, on the ELBC Super Morning Show opposed dual-citizenship for Liberians abroad, has come under strong criticism for not defending the cause he supported when he was in exile.

A release from The All Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship, an assembly of six Liberian community associations in the Diaspora, under the signature of its chairman Eminent Emmanuel S. Wettee of Ohio in the United States, said Dr. Tipoteh “is on the wrong side of history.”

The Diaspora organizations are Conference of Liberians (Southeastern United States), Coalition of Concerned Liberians, and The Federation of Liberian Communities in Australia, The United Liberian Association of Ghana, Liberia Dual-Citizenship Movement and the European Federation of Liberian Associations.

The release admitted to Dr. Tipoteh’s contributions to “our country and we honor and respect your views on national issues, including dual citizenship.” However, it noted that he resided in the Diaspora where he opposed “the Government of the Republic of Liberia and its laws, including the 1973 Alien and Nationality Law. While in exile, you advocated for Diaspora Liberians’ involvement in the overall development of Liberia and their right to citizenship in Liberia (Dual Citizenship).

“In the early 70’s when progressive movements were formulating in both the Diaspora and Liberia, Title 3 of the Liberian Code of Laws of 1956 known as the Aliens and Nationality Law, adopted by the Legislature of the Republic of Liberia on March 22, 1956 was amended through the Fourth Regular Session of the Forty-Fifth Legislature on May 9, 1974 as the Alien and Nationality Law, to be Title 4 of the Liberian Code of Laws Revised.

“The 1974 Alien and Nationality Law include the automatic loss of citizenship as stated in Chapter 22 without any due process of the law. Progressives living in the Diaspora at the time cried foul that the law was modified to deny them of their Liberian citizenship as they return home.

Today, the very law you opposed in the early 70’s is the law you are now supporting.”

The release reminded Dr. Tipoteh that “when you oppose Dual Citizenship now, you are telling the Diaspora relatives of those that died supporting your “progressive activities” of the past that they no longer deserve to be Liberians.

“Our quest for Dual Citizenship is not an event but a process that is a generational fight and shall continue from your time as an advocate when you lived in the Diaspora until it is achieved. Unfortunately, you have now turned your back on this progressive crusade for fairness and development of the Motherland and are now a member of the regressive forces in Liberia trying to deny other Liberians their rights to citizenship of their native land.

“Dr. Tipoteh, you are on a “Sinking-Ship” and very soon your iconic progressive contributions shall be replaced and remembered by your “Anti Dual Citizenship” Standard Bearer ship.”

Dr. Tipoteh, who recently turned 75, was the political leader of the Liberian People’s Party. He previously served as Budget Advisor to President William R. Tolbert, Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs under Samuel K. Doe Administration. He was a former Associate Professor of Economics, former Chairman of the Economics Department, and former Director of the Management Research Institute at the University of Liberia.

He was also the leader of the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA), one of the political bodies that agitated for participatory democracy for all Liberians. He opposed divisions of any kind among Liberians and right after the civil war, he organized the humanitarian group SUSUKUU that encouraged young men and women in arms to turn over their weapons, and assisted them to reintegrate in the Liberian society.

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