I am for dual citizenship for Diaspora Liberians.
This is not an endorsement of a group or a particular person’s effort. Had the individual who supposedly is in the forefront of this crusade done a good job and not pander to his own selfish and opportunistic political interest, it would be a done deal by now.
Of course, dual citizenship for Diaspora Liberians is a good and worthy cause.
And I urge Liberians and their organizations to lobby for it because it is about giving back to the homeland, as these highly skilled Liberian professionals are already doing in many other ways.
I am not throwing my support behind dual citizenship for all the wrong reasons cited by opponents, but for all the right reasons cited by many Liberians in the United States.
Liberians want to have a constructive voice in their country’s affairs.
They want their natural rights intact or restored to run for political office, to build homes and own properties, and they also want to be entrepreneurs to create jobs for unemployed Liberians. And living out of their country shouldn’t be a reason why Diaspora Liberians cannot do all of the above.
However, it is worth the time to pay attention to the ambivalence on the other side as they continued to scream the loudest through their lungs to be heard about their opposition to the dual citizenship proposal on the table.
Their apprehension about dual citizenship for Diaspora Liberians is a legitimate one that shouldn’t be ignored.
There argument is there are criminal-minded Liberians with U.S. citizenship who are abusing their status in the United States, and are running quickly to Liberia whenever they get in trouble with the law.
Once this law is passed, they believe other criminal elements with no patriotism and loyalty to Liberia, will do the same by running to Liberia as soon as they are wanted by law enforcement in the United States.
However, are these people going to deprive law-abiding and well-intentioned Liberians their right to live wherever they want to live, because of the fears they have of others?
To deprive these Liberians their right to live between two countries – or to live in as many countries they want to live because of a phantom belief that some criminal elements might circumvent the law to make some unlawful gains, is unproductive and undemocratic.
Doing so means they are violating the rights of those individuals by denying them the chance to remain citizens of their birth country, while maintaining citizenships of their adopted countries.
Interestingly, there are also some elements with U.S. citizenship that are currently working in the Sirleaf administration.
So why defeat or hold up the dual citizenship bill in the Liberian legislature when Liberians with U.S. citizenship are currently employed in the Sirleaf administration, and were even employed in previous administrations?
If these Liberians are keeping scores both at home and abroad, they should know by now that granting dual citizenship to their Diaspora brethrens is a productive way of being inclusive.
They also should know that Sierra Leone, Gambia, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and many other African countries, granted dual citizenship to their countrymen and women, at least with some restrictions.
Not holding public office is one of those restrictions. Also, waiting time (in terms of years) is imposed on those with dual citizenship or naturalization seeking public office.
It is unfortunate when the current debate against making dual citizenship legally permissible under the law is shifted to what Liberians might do, will not do, or are prone to doing once they law is passed.
These anti-dual citizenship crusaders are not psychic readers who are capable of predicting the future about who’s going to abuse the law, and who is not going to abuse the law of the land.
There argument, so far is based on the fear of what they think their kind of Liberians – the criminal elements among us will do once the law is successfully passed in the Liberian legislature.
However, there are criminal elements in every society who will exploit anything, once it is in their selfish interest.
After all, a better way to contribute to one’s country’s growth, development and success (especially if the country is Liberia that is incapable of providing opportunities to its people to grow on a personal level), is to allow those people to grow elsewhere and be productive citizens.
If those people are willing to return home with dual citizenship status, they should be genuinely encourage and embraced to contribute to national development.
That way, highly skilled Liberians whose patriotism will not be questioned and cannot be accused of conflicting loyalties either, can return home to help make Liberia prosperous, and make the Liberian government accountable to its people.