The Eminent Chairman of the All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship (ALCOD), Eminent Emmanuel S. Wettee, has lauded the Senate, under the leadership of Pro-temp Albert Chie, for concurring with the House of Representatives on the passage of the Dual Citizenship Act with their own version of the bill.
The Senate on Friday, May 19th, voted to concur with the House to amend provisions of Liberian Aliens and Nationality Law, which caused automatic loss of Liberian citizenship. The Senate’s amendment essentially confirms a famous saying of Eminent Chairman Wettee, “Once a Liberian, always a Liberian.”
The bill that the Senate had concurred with, with the House, had been championed by Montserrado County’s District #8 Representative, Mr. Moses Acarous Gray, who is a staunch member of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). He was backed by at least 30 of his colleague lawmakers in the House, including Deputy House Speaker J. Fonati Koffa.
Specially, the bill sought to repeal Part III, Chapter 20, Section 20.1; Chapter 21, Sections 21.30, 21.31, 21.51 & 21.52 and Chapter 22, Sections 22.1, 22.1 & 22.4 of the Aliens and Nationality Law of the Liberian Code of Law Revised, Vol. II.”
The Montserrado County lawmaker submitted the Bill on Friday, October 29, and it was read on the House’s floor on Tuesday, November 2nd, and forwarded to the Committee on Judiciary to report back to Plenary within one week.
The HOR passed the bill into law on Thursday, Nov. 11, and it was sent to the Senate for concurrence. Gray had reportedly scripted on his bill: “Once a Liberian, always a Liberian.”
Gray’s bill was done under the auspices of ALCOD, which includes the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), European Federation of Liberian Associations (EFLA), Liberian Advocacy for Change (LAFC), Federation of Liberia Communities in Australia (FLCA), United Liberian Association of Ghana (ULAG), Liberian Association of Canada (LAC), and Conference of Liberian Organizations in Southwestern United States of America (CLOSUSA). ALCOD represents more than 500,000 Liberians living in the diaspora.
Rep. Gray had submitted his bill a few days after it was published in the media, in late October 2021, that some diaspora Liberians had become fed up with “lack of action and will” from Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon and had urged the Senator to withdraw similar bill that he had submitted with his colleagues, in the Senate, for legislative enactment.
The speed with which Rep. Gray’s bill picked up, far outweighed that of Sen. Dillon, who had submitted his version in March of 2021, and it was sent into committee room for perusal and advice to plenary but nothing tangible was done about it but “only gathering dust on the shelf,” some dissatisfied diaspora Liberians stated.
However, Sen. Dillon was among the first group of senators to break the good news about their concurrence with the House.
He posted on his Facebook page, “No Liberian should lose his/her citizenship upon taking citizenship of another country unless said person/s decide so of their own accord.”
He even disclosed that their Amendment was passed with some restrictions for which a Five-Member Conference Committee of the Senate was constituted by Pro-Temp Chie to meet with the House so as to reconcile any addition or subtraction from what was passed by the House.
Sen. Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County, who had been a long-time champion of the dual citizenship bill passage, chairs the Senate’s Conference Committee, and Sen. Dillon, who represents Montserrado County in the Senate, is also a member of the Committee. He even thanked and acknowledged the role played by Rep. Gray in getting the amendment passed by the House of Representatives.
Of the 30-member Senate, only 21 senators were present and voted. Of the total membership, 19 voted for, four abstained, 2 persons were reportedly absent and one person was distance away. At least four senators, including Chie and Sherman, didn’t vote. Of course, no one voted in the vacant Lofa County seat.