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Fear and Nationalistic Fervor Dilutes President Weah’s Support for Land Ownership, Dual Citizenship, and Citizenship for Whites and Non-Whites in Liberia

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh     

 

Liberians are good at stirring themselves up and beating their chests when it comes to discriminating against white people and non-whites whom they swear to God shouldn’t be citizens of Liberia.

For a struggling country that needs all the assistance to move in the right direction in terms of jobs and economic development, empowering a thriving business community comprised historically of Lebanese, Indians, Syrians, Pakistanis, whites and non-whites, and bringing them onboard to participate in the development process, is the way to go.

But some Liberians are not buying it.

These Liberians, many of whom will never, never live in Liberia because of poverty and underdevelopment, and are now living in the so-called ‘promised land’ of milk and honey, haven’t been back to their own village for decades since they left home; and have no plan to even live in that village, even though they’re opposed to white people owning land in Liberia.

Some of these individuals were born in those villages and grew up there before moving to Monrovia and overseas; but are not building their dream homes there either to develop the area.

Many of them are building their dream homes in Monrovia, the nation’s overcrowded capital.

As these so-called nationalists ignore their birth homes and villages for city life and a better future, those areas become underdeveloped, blighted and an eyesore that needs economic development.

But how can a poor and abandoned piece of land or a village get the development it needs when the children of the soil – those that were born there are not doing their part to develop it?

Instead, they are using all the emotional, pretentious and overblown comments to sound the unproven alarm that granting citizenship and land rights to white people is comparable to selling the Republic of Liberia to foreigners.

Their opposition to white people becoming citizens of Liberia and owning land doesn’t stop with just white people.

Some of these Liberians are even anti-Mandingo. 

They are adamantly opposed to and refused to co-exist or recognize Mandingoes who were born in Liberia as legitimate Liberian citizens. 

After all, these are the same Liberians without any urging from the other side who are quick to brag about their American, Canadian and Australian citizenships, etc., etc., their citizenships in other countries, and the homes they own in those countries as if I care to know.

Like most Liberians, however, I listened to and watched President George Manneh Weah’s State of the Union speech via Facebook, to the 54th Liberian national legislature.

President Weah’s speech was progressive, idealistic, realistic and unrealistic.

He received positive marks from me for the boldness he showed by even discussing these centuries-old issues that have been shoved under the Liberian coastal sands for such a long time as if they don’t even exist.

However, I applaud President Weah for absorbing the WAEC fees of $200,000 for all 12th graders.

But where is he getting the money from? “Stealing from Peter to pay Paul?
Road construction and expanding agriculture and constructing a coastal highway that runs from Buchanan to Harper.

Again, how is he funding these programs?

Ambitious? Yes, indeed.

According to President Weah, “The is a medium-term project which will take several years to complete, but it is the intention of my government to prioritize the planning and raising of funding for this important development goal, which has been estimated to cost approximately three billion dollars. This is going to be very challenging, but I am convinced that, with the assistance of friendly governments and institutions, this can be achieved before the end of my tenure.”

For such bold national infrastructure initiatives, is President Weah suggesting that he will pass a plate around to his international friends to raise the funds needed to finance his country’s rebuilding efforts?

I will suggest that President Weah get with his financial advisors/tax policy advisors and put in place an aggressive tax policy such as sales tax, income tax, import tax, export tax, gasoline tax, property tax, luxury tax, death tax, hotel tax, inheritance tax, payroll tax, airport tax, building tax, road tax, and any fair, equitable and compulsory tax collection system that will raise the funds to keep the government up and running, and implement his programs?

However, as I listened to Mr. Weah’s speech about granting land rights/property rights and citizenship to white people, it felt like I was whispering in his ears as he spoke – telling him to say the things he was saying at that moment.

Because I have written about those issues for decades; and I even wrote an entire chapter in my new book, “Liberian Democracy Ambushed,” that white people be granted property rights and Liberian citizenship for development and economic reasons, because it is the right thing to do.

In an age of globalization when people, businesses and organizations are all over the place in search of influence and a business-people-friendly environment to invest and do business, a racist, prejudicial and xenophobic policy that dislikes and disallows white people and others from owning land and becoming citizens of Liberia, is a recipe for poverty, underdevelopment, ostracism and even economic exploitation. 

As it is in Liberia today, some white people and non-whites reportedly are already in the country exploiting rural and urban Liberians by buying their family lands for little or no money.

Because of abject poverty and miseducation on their part, these Liberians are desperately selling and selling every land their family ever owned to these foreigners to survive.

So why not make it legal for white people and the Indians, Pakistanis, Lebanese, Syrians and other non-whites that lived in Liberia for decades and have done business there, and have their children there, own land, property and become citizens of Liberia?

These Lebanese, Indians, Pakistanis and others who are not citizens and property/land owners of Liberia often have children by Liberian women, and either leave their children in Liberia or take the kid or kids out of Liberia and leave our Liberian women emotionally broken and financially burdened.

How fair is that?

Because these foreigners are not citizens of Liberia, and because they don’t even own land and other properties there, and because they don’t have the emotional connection to Liberia, gives them the cover and a huge excuse to take the money they make in Liberia out of Liberia and invest it in the economies of other countries.

How fair is that to Liberia and the Liberian people?

The notion that white people will take over Liberia once they become citizens and property/land owners is based on lies and fearmongering.

What Liberia need are tough laws, implementable laws that protects unsuspecting Liberians from fraud and exploitation?

The pragmatic progressive I am support dual citizenship. I also support white people and non-whites to own land and property in Liberia.

I also support the citizenship of qualified black people who meets the nation’s nationality laws, to become Liberian citizens.

This is about the future of Liberia.

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Category: Editorial, News Headlines

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