The Liberian leader, President George M. Weah has described as momentous the decision of the Supreme Court of Liberia to nullify a section of the Alien and Nationality Law that automatically takes away the citizenship of any Liberian who acquires another nationality.
According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, the court’s decision is a fulfillment of the long-held desire of the President to ensure Liberians of all persuasions, who left the country due to the civil war, are not deprived of their rights and privileges in the land they regard as home. “This is Victory for all Liberians,” he said.
Last month, the Minister of Justice, Frank Musa Dean, officially notified the Dean of the Cabinet, Foreign Minister D. Maxwell Kemayah, of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
In his communication, Minister Dean stressed that henceforth a Liberian by birth who obtains naturalization in a foreign country will only forfeit his Liberian citizenship as a result of a “due process” of law. He called on the Foreign Ministry to ensure that the implementers of the revised regulations governing the administration and issuance of Liberian passports “take due note”.
It can be recalled that despite the objection of some politicians, the Weah Administration introduced a set of proposals – including the call for dual citizenship – at the 2020 national referendum. The President also made a similar plea to the National Legislature during his first address to that body in 2018. By this decision, therefore, all Liberians remain Liberians unless divested of their citizenship by order or judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction.
“Some of them [Liberians] are successful, but they do not have ownership [of land], the referendum is a proposal to make it happen”, the President urged voters on the campaign trail in October 2020.
The ruling to quash the anti-dual citizenship section of the Alien and Nationality law comes at a time the government is planning the 200th year anniversary of the arrival of freed slaves to Liberia. The year-long celebration, which begins in January 2022, is aimed at reclaiming and heralding Liberia’s leadership role in Pan-Africanism, while also celebrating its rich cultural heritage and vast tourism attractions. It will be an opportunity for the Liberian diaspora, African-Americans, and friends of Liberia to visit the country.