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Rehashing the Dual Citizenship Debate

There is something some of my fellow Liberians are missing in their blanket rejection of Dual Citizenship as championed by Mr. Emmanuel Sunnyboy Wettee, the ULAA Czar on dual citizenship. Those against are either comparing oranges to apples or simply have neither the wherewithal or interest in putting policies into place that will curb corruption and fugitivity either by single or dual citizens. There is no need to be intimidated by folks from the Diaspora and no right reason to build a fence to prevent their re-entry into mainstream of Liberian politics while still holding American or other citizenships. Dual citizenship or allowing Liberians who have taken on foreign nationals to enjoy all the rights and privileges of Liberian citizenship is a good thing. This will be leverage for the country and with cooler heads at the table and proper laws in place there is a lot to be earned from allowing all native born Liberians to still retain their Liberian citizenship with all its rights and privileges no matter how many other citizenship they may have added on to themselves at a time they went “fishing” or when fate had them on other sides of the globe. Call it whatever name you like “dual citizenship” or “Permanent Citizenship,” or "once Liberian and always a Liberian,” or whatever, allowing native born Liberians to re-enter their parent’s house and retake their birthright with no strings attached is a god giving right for all born Liberians.

The Family is the basic unit of our Liberian society so if the family does not reject a native born who now holds a foreign passport, what right has any government or law maker got to reject them? Interestingly, the dual citizenship debate is only in Monrovia around the seat of power. No one in the villages and towns is trying to strip their fellow Liberians of anything no matter how long they have been away from those villages and towns. If no one in Doodwicken or Pynestown or Gibi can reject, discriminate or set new boundaries for a friend or neighbor they grew up with because he or she got naturalized somewhere, it is beyond comprehension that our elected officials and other big book people in Monrovia will take that up and make it a constitutional roadblock to reject Liberians who still hold US citizenship for confirmation to ministerial and other posts.

The fear that native born Liberians who naturalized in other countries will have divided loyalty or be less patriotic than their counterparts who have not left the country or obtain other nationalities is unfounded. There is no history or proof of those who have not left the country or have not taken on any citizenship showing more loyalty than those who obtained foreign passports. Both my siblings in Doodwicken, Greenville, Monrovia and those in the USA and Canada all love Doodwicken, Jeadepo and Liberia the same and there has been no litmus test to prove otherwise.

Those who are all in favor of putting native Liberians with foreign passports in another category or creating road blocks for them in Liberian politics often argue that when those Liberians commit crimes in Liberia, they will abscond to their second country and become fugitives. They often cite the Liberia Airport saga involving Miss Ellen Cockrum as a case in point. They cannot be wrong any more than that. The Airport story where Ellen and Judge Johnson were whistle blowers who were reportedly smuggled out of the country by the Police Chief Mr. Chris Massaquoi is very far from the dual citizenship story. If Liberia has no anti-corruption and commonsense criminal laws or if law enforcement is too compromised to enforce existing laws, dual citizenship must not be used as a scape goat. Using dual citizenship as an excuse is a lazy way out of not putting the right laws into place and enforcing them to the letter. Additionally, there is also no history to prove such case. Liberians who left the country in the 1980s for example and got trained to invade the country did not do so because they had Libyan, Ivorian or Burkinabe citizenships. Whether Mr. Taylor, their chief war executioner had or did not have American Citizenship was not the reason he absconded or a factor in his reentry to destroy our country.
Some opposed to dual citizenship argue that if there is a war between Liberia and another country where an individual has his or second citizenship, which side will that dual citizen take? I turn that to the positive that if those two countries are competing to put someone on the moon or invent the latest cure for cancer and Ebola, which side will the dual citizen take? My counter argument stems from the fact that folks are looking at the negatives to disown and spit out their fellow Liberians and thereby rejecting the enormous benefit to the country that comes along.

Fellows, open your eyes and think again. Our villages are not rejecting us because we took on other citizenships and so you cannot for whatever reason you and your book may have.

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