Liberia: ULAA Wants Dual Citizenship Bill Passed
Report by J. H. Webster Clayeh, [email protected]
Monrovia – The Union of Liberia Associations in the Americas (ULAA) is seeking the passage of the dual citizens’ bill to allow Liberians who have taken citizenship in other countries to come home and contribute to the development of Liberia.
President George Weah during his first Annual Massage to the Legislature called on the body to see reason to amend the citizenship clause in the 1847 Constitution which denies non-negro and other Liberians who have taken citizenship in other countries the right of Liberian citizenship.
Speaking to journalists at the Capitol Building Tuesday, May 1, ULAA Chairman George Toto said the association is not seeking for the citizenship of non-negro, rather pushing for nature born Liberians to regain their citizenship status.
“There are lots of confusion in the public concerning the bill and we want to make that distinction. This bill is about natural born Liberians who left this country and went in various parts of the world for some economic reason,” Toto said.
“To advanced themselves; they had to take French citizenship, American citizenship and other citizenship. They want to come back to contribute to the development of Liberia.”
He continues: “We are not talking about the non-negro descendants that the constitution is talking about. We are talking about the nature born Liberians.”
ULAA was founded 1974 has had former Presidents Charles Taylor and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as past officials of the association.
Many of the past officials of the institution had played a significant role in Liberia’s politics, Toto said.
Although ULAA calls for dual citizenship began during the Unity Party-led government, Toto says his short stay in the country is to again propose the dual citizenship bill under the Weah-led government.
“We started this process during the presidency of Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. We are here again to lobby and to seek the legislative support on this bail,” ULAA Chairman said.
“And we want to send a special thank to Senator Varney Sherman for championing this bill. The bill is no longer in the committee room; the bill now is on the senate floor for debate.”
Also, the Chairman of ULAA stressed that in the second portion of the bill the association is lobbying to seek the interest of Liberian women who could have children by foreign nationals in America and other parts of the world and yet their children cannot take on Liberian citizenship.
“We are in the 21th century. If a Liberian man can bear a child and that child become a Liberian citizen, why our women cannot do the same thing. So that is the second aspect of this bill we are advocating for,” he said.
“We are reaching out in the various communities and later we will be going up-country to engage the local population, in our local dialects to educate the people about the need of this bill.”
“It is no other people but our own Liberian brothers and sisters that left from here because of the war and they want to come back home,” ULAA Chairman concluded.