President George M. Weah’s call to open Liberian citizenship to people of non-negro descent and Liberians who hold other citizenship have since garnered mixed reactions from Liberians both home and abroad.
Despite some opinions suggesting that the call will disadvantage Liberians economically, Liberian lawyer, Lawrence Suah, believes the country’s overall development efforts will be achieved when a dual citizenship bill is passed.
In an interview, the Liberian legal professional said the call by President Weah will open the door to development. “We are losing infrastructure by our refusal to accept dual citizenship. I am confident it will sail through during a referendum. A Guinean and Ivorian can come to Liberia and become citizens but a Liberian with dual citizenship cannot become citizen and it does not make sense”, he said.
He mentioned “our development gains could be tied to this dual citizenship stuff. Development partners could tie this to giving us aid in the future. And I think, it was based upon that the President made that declaration at the Legislature”.
“The fact that he recommended white people to become citizens here, they think he has the political will and so they would want to invest. Though it will be the decision of the Liberian people through a referendum, I think was a smart move by the President. This gives grounds for a lot of help to come to Liberia from people of white origin”, he said.
“Some Liberians will leave here and get citizenship in other countries for greener pastures. If my child is an Australian or American he or she cannot own my properties when I passed out. And I think that is unfair. We can begin the dual citizenship by first accepting Liberian born and children with Liberian parents. We must give them citizenship”, he added.