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Liberia: Why We Took Dual Citizenship Off The Agenda

By Emmanuel Wettee

What Happened in Gbarnga?

Within the last two years the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) conducted a nationwide consultation within the 15 counties of Liberia and diaspora Liberians regarding the amendment of some provisions within the 1986 constitution, including dual citizenship, reduction of the terms of office of the president, the National Legislature, etc. In total, 25 recommendations were prepared for the National Constitution Conference (NCC) held in Gbarnga, Bong County.

The objective of NCC was to determine which of the 25 recommendations should be forwarded to the President for her consideration and consequently submitted to the National Legislature for voting. The voting results from the National Legislature will be submitted to the National Elections Commission for national referendum.

Dual Citizenship was one of the items that were not selected to be forwarded to the President for her consideration. However, the President can include it in her final recommendation to the National Legislature or it can be included by the National Legislature as an item for National Referendum.

Dual citizenship non selection is a victory for us because the Liberian people are asking their government by way of the Executive, Supreme Court or National Legislature to resolve the issue of Dual Citizenship and not the constitution.

Let’s consider a scenario where Dual citizenship was selected as an item on the National Referendum:
• We do not have the time, money or resources to campaign for it countrywide
• Can you imagine the impact if it were defeated in a National Referendum?

To admit, it was a strategic decision on our part to have it not selected at the National Constitution Conference in Gbarnga, Bong County. This way we have more options to resolve the issue of Dual Citizenship with our limited resources.

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