Diaspora ‘Liberians’ Urge Compatriots to Vote ‘Yes’ to Referendum
Monrovia – Diaspora Liberians and others with Liberian linage under the banner, All Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship (ALCOD), are urging their compatriots with voting rights in Liberia, to vote ‘yes’ to all the proposals that will be on the Referendum ballots, especially the proposition that has to do with dual citizenship.
Liberians are expected to head to elections on December 8th to elect 15 new senators; two new representatives in a by-election in Districts #2 and #9 in Sinoe and Montserrado Counties respectively; and possibly vote ‘yes’ and/or ‘no’ on eight sets of propositions in a Referendum to amend their Constitution.
Speaking exclusively to FrontPageAfrica recently, Mr. Emmanuel S. Wettee, Chairman of ALCOD, which is a conglomeration of other diaspora-based Liberian groups, including United Liberia Association in the Americas (ULAA), Liberians in Europe, Australia, Canada and Ghana, said that their main objective at ALCOD is to advocate for dual citizenship.
At the moment, Liberia’s Alien and Nationality law forbids dual citizenship.
Speaking further Mr. Wettee, who is currently back home in Liberia, disclosed that he had come basically to urge his fellow Liberians to vote ‘yes’ to all the proposals especially the one on dual citizenship.
“We are advocating for a yes vote to all the proposals, including the Dual Citizenship, on the Referendum,” Mr. Wettee stressed.
ALCOD’s advocacy for dual citizenship, which began since 2012 during a conference in Washington DC, has been a long, arduous journey, and they have continued to push to see that Liberians or their linages, who one way or the other, were forced to take up citizenships of other places, especially as a result of the 15-civil war which ended in 2003, to be granted their full Liberian citizenship rights and privileges.
Wettee thanked former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for giving ears to their advocacy by keeping it on the “political table;” however, not doing much to resolve it. He especially praised President George M. Weah, who has openly expressed his support for dual citizenship.
“President Weah from his end, he declared his support for dual citizenship in his first year. In his second year, Pres. Weah made it a legislative agenda item and in his third year as President, it is now on the ballot for referendum. So, we see light at the end of the tunnel; we see that we have made tremendous progress even to have it at this level,” Wettee stated.
He was very optimistic that Liberian voters are going to vote ‘yes’ to the referendum especially the one on dual citizenship. However, he added: “We do respect the democratic process; we are going to honor whatever results that come out of the process. Liberians are the stakeholders of the country; we will respect their views. But we believe, as we speak right now, with one week to the elections, that Liberians will vote ‘yes’ to all of the propositions.”
While he is advocating for a ‘yes vote’, he, however, stated that he or ALCOD isn’t oblivious of the fact that there are some who are against the referendum and are going to vote ‘no’.
He nevertheless expressed his disdain for those calling for the deferment of the referendum to a later date.
Members of opposition political parties and other groups, including the Liberia Council of Churches, Liberia National Bar Association and some civil society organizations, have called for the postponement, citing lack of sufficient education or awareness of the Referendum.
A recent Supreme Court ruling on the Referendum is being interpreted differently in different quarters of the divide.
Mr. Wettee tried as much as possible to avoid the politics beclouding the whole referendum; adding: “We have members who are on all sides of the aisles. What we are here to push is to urge Liberians to vote yes to the proposal on dual citizenship when they go to the polls to vote on elections day.”
According to him, a ‘yes vote’ will give them the “opportunity” to “reclaim” their Liberian citizenship, adding: “because you know according to the law, we are not Liberians.”
The All Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship (ALCOD) was born in December, 2012 in Washington DC, USA out of the desire to advocate for dual citizenship in Liberia.