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Dual Citizenship Debate Ends In ‘Deadlock’

By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.

It seems that from all indication, the much talked about dual citizenship Bill which has been introduced to the plenary of the Liberian Senate is far from being passed into law.

Sen. Sherman                                                                 Sen. Morias

This is as a result of the first debate on the Bill by members of the Liberian Senate Tuesday, May, 22, 2018 that did not materialize, but ended in ‘deadlock’.

Members of the Liberian Senate have agreed to discuss the Bill during Tuesday’s session following a brief overview of the Bill by Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Cllr. Varney Sherman but said debate did not continue due to disagreement among senators.

According to our reporter who covers the Liberian Senate, during the deliberations of the Bill, Senator Dan Morais described the law as plagiarism from the constitution by the committee’s chair, Cllr, Varney Sherman, a statement which did go down well with the Grand Cape Mount County Senator.

Following the comment made by Senator Morais, which turned Senator Sherman off, he (Sen. Sherman) then pleaded with the President Pro-Temp and the plenary of the Senate that his colleague retracts the statement and apologize to him.

“Do you know what a plagiarism is, it’s academy fraud and you cannot use that on me because it is I who did this work, so Mr. Pro-Temp, I asked that Senator Morais please retract his statement against me,” Sen. Sherman stressed in a very harsh tone.

Immediately, the Pro-Temp Albert Chie asked Senator Morais to retract his comment and apologize to his colleague, something the Maryland County Senator did and immediately the session was adjourned.

However, the Bill highlights among other things the giving back of citizenship to Liberians who have denounced their citizenship and take up another country’s citizenship.

According to the Bill, the same right given to a male Liberian should be given to a female Liberian, something which is not the case and the crafter of the Bill, Cllr. Sherman sees it as discriminatory.

“A person born outside by a Liberian father should have the same right as a person born outside by a Liberian mother. There should be no discrimination between whether it is a Liberian male who fathered the child or a Liberian female who mothered the child,” Sen. Sherman stressed within the Bill.

The Bill stated that the dual citizenship Bill is necessary because according to the crafters hundreds of thousands of Liberians fled the country during the country dark past and seek refuge in other countries.

It furthered that this Bill is not a harmful one to Liberia and Liberians but it is a Bill that spurs social harmony and development, adding that it is a conduit through which remittance money can continue to stimulate the Liberian economy.

“Dual citizenship will facilitate investment in Liberia, by dual citizens, especially through the acquisition and development of real property. It will incentivize those Liberians who remain in Liberia to continue to invest because they know that their heirs, who might be citizens of another country, will be able to inherit from them,” the Bill argues.

The crafters then argue that the Bill is today the generally accepted practice, thus, it is practice by all West African countries with the exception of Liberia and as such this the reason why Liberia should nullify the law against dual citizenship.

But during Thursday, April 26, 2018 session many of the Senators expressed rejection of the Bill, thus, terming the Bill a complete joke and as such there is no space for such Bill in the Liberian society.

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