AB Darius Dillon Da me Darius Dillon say so!

A Call To Open Liberian Citizenship To ALL

2. March 2013 14:45 by abdillon in

Fellow Liberians, I am deeply moved to once more draw your kind attention to Article 27 (b) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia. Article 27 (b) states: In order to preserve, foster and maintain the positive Liberian culture, value and character, only persons who are Negroes or of Negro descent shall qualify by birth or by naturalization to be citizens of Liberia”. I feel very strongly that this provision promotes and encourages racism. The 11th Edition of Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines racism as “racial prejudice or discrimination”. The reasons for which the Framers of our Constitution inserted the said 'protective' provision at the time was understandable; “to preserve, foster and maintain the positive Liberian culture, value and character”. However, one tends to wonder whether these reasons, when matched alongside current realities, can still be justified.

 

My fellow Liberians, you will agree with me that indeed our culture, value and character” have been accepted, is being practiced and or adapted by some people of non-negro descent. People of non-negro descent do not have any constitutional rights to become citizens; yet, they are allowed to enter into intermarriages with citizens of Liberia. Some of these unions bear children whose fathers or mothers are denied the rights to become citizens of Liberia because of this clause. Persons of non-negro descent are denied the rights to become citizens; yet, they are allowed to engage in investment activities with very huge and lucrative profitable returns. This, in my opinion, encourages “capital-flight”, and is one of the contributing factors leading to the backwardness of our country in terms of technological, infrastructural and other developments. People of non-negro descent are denied the rights to own property (Lands) in Liberia; yet, they are allowed to enter into lease agreements that last beyond a whole life spam and enter into generations. In some cases, some citizens aid these very people of non-negro descent to acquire lands by fronting for them.  

Moreover, some of these people bear children in our country. Throughout their lives, most of these children grow up and live in Liberia; they attend our schools; some of them even learn and speak our local vernaculars. They know no other country as their home but Liberia. Yet, our law denies them the rights to become citizens even if they wish to take up Liberian citizenship, etc.  This, in my humble view, is unfair and discriminatory.

Fellow Liberians, there is a maxim that says “a man’s heart is where his treasure is”. This maxim is true for all intents and purposes. For instance, people who are denied the rights to Liberian citizenship by reason of this 'racist' clause in our constitution hold no loyalty, nationalism and/or patriotic allegiance to our country. Some of these people engage in wealthy business investments in our country and are constrained to transfer the huge profits back home to their respective countries because our law denies them the rights to make Liberia their home. I believe it is time to reconsider this issue.

 

In consequence of the above, I wish to urge you, my fellow Liberians, to join this call on our Legislators to begin considering a legislative process that will lead to the conduct of a constitutional reform with specific reference to Article 27 (b) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia. The objective of said reform will be to remove the racist and discriminatory clause contained therein in order to grant rights unto people of non-negro descent to become citizens of Liberia, (especially) by birth or naturalization.

 

 Respectfully,

 

 Abraham Darius Dillon, Sr.