By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
The most talked about Dual Citizenship Bill has been introduced to the plenary of the Liberian Senate but suffered serious setback with some Senators expressing rejection during Thursday’s session.
It can be recalled that during the first state of the nation’s address delivered by President George Weah, he spoke about the need of dual citizenship which will grant citizenship to people of non-negro descent, something the Liberian Constitution forbids.
The Bill which was introduced by Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Varney Sherman highlights among other things the giving back of citizenship to Liberians who have denounced their citizenship and take up another country’s citizenship.
According to the Bill, the same right given to a male Liberian should be given to a female Liberian, something which is not the case and the crafter of the Bill, Cllr. Sherman sees it as discriminatory.
“A person born outside by a Liberian father should have the same right as a person born outside by a Liberian mother. There should be no discrimination between whether it is a Liberian male who fathered the child or a Liberian female who mothered the child,” Sen. Sherman stressed within the Bill.
The Dual Citizenship Bill is necessary because according to the crafters, hundreds of thousands of Liberians fled the country during the country dark days and seek refuge in other countries.
The crafter further indicated that the Bill is not a harmful one to Liberia and Liberians, but it is a Bill that spurs social harmony and development, adding that it is a conduit through which remittance money can continue to stimulate the Liberian economy.
Pres. George Manneh Weah
“Dual citizenship will facilitate investment in Liberia by dual citizens, especially through the acquisition and development of real property. It will incentivize those Liberians who remained in Liberia to continue to invest because they know that their heirs, who might be citizens of another country, will be able to inherit from them,” the Bill argues.
The crafters then argue that the Bill is today the generally accepted practice, thus, it is practice by all West African countries with the exception of Liberia and as such; this is the reason why Liberia shouldn’t nullify the law against dual citizenship.
But during Thursday, April 26, 2018 session, many of the Senators expressed rejection of the Bill, thus, terming the Bill a complete joke and as such, there is no space for such Bill in the Liberian society.
Senators Prince Johnson, Sando Johnson, Oscar Cooper, Gbleh-Bo Brown of Nimba, Bomi, Margibi and Maryland counties and many others strongly kicked against this Bill.
Meanwhile, the plenary of the Liberian Senate has deferred the discussion of the Bill to next Thursday, but the possibility of passing this Bill into law still remains slim.