Liberia: Catholic Bishop Supports Dual Citizenship


Report by Willie N. Tokpah, [email protected]

Harper, Maryland County – Catholic Bishop Francis J. Karnley has joined scores of Liberians in and out of the country to support a dual citizenship law.

Bishop Karnley said enacting dual citizenship will provide other nationals the chance to enjoy similar privileges appreciated by Liberians in other countries.

The debate on dual citizenship is one of several discussions that have taken the center stage in Liberia, with some supporting while others expressing firm opposition.

Said Bishop Karnley: “I support the debate on dual citizenship clearly for Liberians, because there are a lot of people who left this country because of war and threat on their lives, because of the lack of opportunity to go and develop and today they are in other parts of the World contributing and supporting their brothers and sister here. Why should they be denied citizenship?”

Speaking with FrontPage Africa recently in Harper, Maryland County, the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Cape Palmas noted that there are several Liberians who are citizens of other countries but still intend to enjoy their Liberian nationalities.

These Liberians, according to him, left their homeland for several factors that were unbearable to them and should not be denied Liberians citizenship.

While he sees dual citizenship important for Liberia progress, Bishop Karnley emphasized that enacting the law must come with certain restrictions or limitation, especially on vying for the presidency.

This would allay fears by some Liberians that dual citizenship would deny them possession of their properties, he said.

“I think we should give serious thought to that because some people harboring fears that all the lands will be bought by few people. I think that’s where limitation comes in, and if you want to work through someone, that land can be taken back, so we should not be afraid,” he noted.

The Catholic Bishop said dual citizenship will build the confidence of some who are monetarily capacitated to invest in the country’s economy.

These investments, according to him, could also serve as a way of fostering the national development.

“It’s just out of human decency and also in fairness and justice that Liberians in all parts of the world enjoy privileges but at home we are denying other those privileges,” the Prelate opined.

At the same time, he expressed dismay over the death of Liberian Journalist Tyron Brown, and urged media practitioners not to rely on government alone, but rather do an independent investigation.

“There where your role as an investigative journalist, you have to follow it and not just the security apparatus that has to follow it. Yes, have a role to play but I think we could come across some pieces of information that could help the process aim at seeking justice,” Bishop Karnley said.

“It was a murder and someone has come up to say, I did it. What is the motive? So this is something I urged you to pursue vigorously, because this young man death should not be like any other death in this country.”

The Catholic Prelate wants those liable directly or indirectly for the Liberia Journalist death to face justice in serving as deterrence against future reoccurrence.

Bishop Karnley in the meantime frowned at what he calls; intimidation against the media in recent months, referencing situation involving FrontPage Africa and BBC Reporter Jonathan Paye-Layleh saying, it poses serious threats to the media.

“It should not discourage you from doing what you suppose to do, I know people are threating with lawsuit, do not be deter if you are convinced of what you are reporting and facts are there,” Bishop Karnley maintained.

Meanwhile, Bishop Karnley called on the media to extend its reportage to rural Liberia, instead of placing more emphasis on Monrovia alone.