A Group Accuses Several Presidential Canidates of Dual Citizenship

By: Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
August 11, 2005


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A group calling itself “Progressive Action for Change in Liberia has protest to the National Election Commission (NEC) not to allow Madam Sirleaf and 14 other candidates Dr. Togba Nah-Tipoteh, Cllr. Charles Brumskine, Cllr. Varney Sherman, Alhaji G.V. Kromah, Mr. Natheniel Bannes, Mr. Sokou Konneh, Dr. Roland Massaquoi, Mr. David Fahart, John Morlu to contest the elections on grounds that they all allegedly hold dual citizenships.

The Progressive Action for Change in Liberia protest against these candidates comes in the wake of a dual citizenship protest against Amb. Weah and a professor of Political Science at the IBB Graduate School of International Studies, University of Liberia (UL), Dr. Marcus Dahn, by the “Coalition of Political Parties Youth” while the Daily Observer has also accused Madam Sirleaf, Mr. John Morlu and Cllr. Charles Brumskine of dual citizenship.

The Progressive Action for Change in Liberia protest against these candidates took was formally filed Wednesday with the NEC. The latest protest comes two weeks after the Coalition of Political Parties Youth protested to the commission over the alleged dual citizenships of Amb. Weah and Dr. Dahn.

What is more fascinated about the latest development in the political landscape of Liberia presently is that the Progressive Action for Change has not accused Amb. Weah and Dr. Dahn of dual citizenship while on the other hand, the coalition of Political Parties Youth only accused Amb. Weah and Dr. Dahn of dual citizenships.

But if found guilty of the accusation, the candidates involved are likely to be disqualified if the full board of the National Election Commission (NEC) rules against the political figures. .

On the contrary, the authority of the NEC has vowed to respect provisions and articles within the 1986 Liberian constitution which banned people with dual citizenship from vying for the offices of the President and Vice President.

The tough-spoken Chair-person of the commission, Cllr. Frances Johnson-Morris, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, told journalists on Tuesday that the commission would do nothing to violate the constitution of Liberia by allowing people with dual citizenship to participate in the polling.

According to Commissioner Morris, there had been protests filed against the CDC Standard-Bearer and the Vice Standard of APD, over what she calls dual citizenship. She also said there are protests filed against other candidates, but did not reveal the purpose of the protest neither the names of the candidates involved.

Although Commissioner Morris did not give the ruling of the NEC full board, but in an apparent reference to Dr. Dahn and Ambassador Weah on the protest filed against the two gentlemen, the NEC boss said “people with dual nationality will not be allowed to contest these elections”.

Cllr. Morris latest statement on the protest is sufficient enough for one to conclude the NEC’s ruling on the subject matter imminent. The commission is expected to rule on the protest over the week.

The issues of Ambassador Weah’s dual citizenship was reported recently in a local daily, the Daily Observer, in its Tuesday, July 19, 2005, Volume 10, number 22 edition, quoting the nation’s football icon of admitting to have naturalized as a French citizen but also said that he has since renounced allegiance to that world power. He, however, felt short to give details of whether he has reapplied as a Liberian citizen, as speculated in the 1986 constitution and Liberia immigration and nationalization laws.

According to Articles 52 (A) of the Liberian constitution, only a natural born Liberian citizen of age 35 or above is qualified for the office of the President and Vice President.

Both Amb. Weah and Dr. Dahn have persistently denied the dual citizenship allegation against them but the Coalition of Political Parties Youth insisted that both Weah and Dahn have dual citizenship, therefore, NEC should not allow them to contest these elections in October.

Ambassador Weah told a recent news conference in Monrovia that he is a peaceful and law-abiding citizen and that the rules for the elections are in his party's favor, therefore, there was no need to panic.

The dual citizenship debate has been a major distraction for the Weah campaign and many of his opponents have been secretly advocating against his presence in the race.

But a legal expert believe that if the NEC rule against the two individuals, both men can challenge the decision in the Supreme Court, similarly their respective political parties-CDC and APD too can challenge the NEC.

According to the legal expert, the Supreme Court will then probe into the merit and demerit to determine if the NEC ruling is in line with the elections laws and the Liberian constitutions but said what-so-ever way the court ruling goes; the parties would be compared to accept the decision of the highest court.

Recently, Mr. Milton Teahjay accused Dr. Dahn of not being qualified for the Liberian president on grounds that Dr. Dahn is just a “sectoral candidate” as well as his tribal affiliation denies him the nation’s highest office.

Mr. Teahjay made the statement after Dr. Dahn flogged him during the United People’s Party (UPP) primary held across the country but Mr. Teahjay has since filed a protest to the NEC on grounds of being embittered.

Meanwhile, the CDC in May this year had a bitter experience of another protest from one Christian Peah on accusation that the party’s membership list published in two local dailies was fraudulent; the party managed to survive on the basic of “peace sake”.

But the Unity Party (UP) late Wednesday night issued a press statement in Monrovia to rebuke the dual citizenship against its flag-bearer, Madam Sirleaf. Below is the full text.

Our attention has been drawn by an article in the Daily Observer-online-that has pondered the Citizenship of the front-runner in the Liberian Presidential Race, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. It is obvious that some people are playing politics with the future of Liberia by using young and inexperienced Liberian journalists to link Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to American Citizenship. we would like to set the records straight: Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is not and has never been a citizen of the United states.

Additionally, Mrs. Sirleaf does not own any property in Virginia as claimed by the Daily Observer. The property that the Observer alleges that Mrs. Sirleaf owns was sold soon after Mrs. Sirleaf Mrs. Sirleaf accepted a position with the United Nations in New York in 1992. In fact, research of the tax records in Virginia shows that the property in question, 6056 Estates Drive in Alexandria Virginia, has been owned by other people since June 1993. Further Mrs. Sirleaf’s brother Carney Johnson has never leased or rented the property at 6056 Estates Drive in Alexandria as also alleged in the Observer article. Mr. Johnson and his family have owned and maintained a home of their own for the past 15 years in Springfield, Virginia. Since selling the Alexandria property when she joined the U.N. in 1992 up until today, the house in question has been occupied by its rightful owners and Mrs. Sirleaf has never bought another house in America. It took Mrs. Sirleaf’s team 30 minutes to get this information.
We want to also unequivocally state that Mrs. Sirleaf does not hold a U.S. Permanent Residency Card or Green Card. Additionally, we want to inform the Liberian people that upon taking a position with the UNDP in 1992, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf subsequently surrendered her Green Card to the American Government and was immediately issued a UN Travel Document for the length of time she worked with that Institution. After resigning her U.N. position to fully contribute to the recovery and development of Liberia, Mrs. Sirleaf has traveled on a Liberian passport.
As a means of putting to closure the lies about Mrs. Sirleaf having U.S. citizenship and maintaining a U.S residence, the Ellen for president Campaigns encourages every interested and credible Liberian media institution to contact the US State Department and the Bureau of US Citizenship and Naturalization Services (BCIS) to obtain any and all citizenship records of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Additionally, we encourage all credible media institutions to contact the Virginia Tax Office to review the history of ownership of the property at 6056 Estates Drive in Alenxandria, Virginia or to contact the Ellen for President Campaign for a copy of the MRIS Full |tax Record for the property in question.

We are confident that the record will show Mrs. Sirleaf is not a U.S citizen and does not own property in Virginia.
The questions we would like to raise on behalf of the Liberian people are: “Why all the lies now?” And “Who is paying who to spread these lies?”
Let us put this falsehood to rest and focus on the business of the Liberian people. We would like to reiterate that the time has come for all candidates participating in and all credible media outlets covering the ensuing Liberian elections to demonstrate their commit5ment to the Liberian people by focusing on the issues that the Liberian people care most about. Mrs. Sirleaf and the Unity Party are committed t bringing jobs, electricity, pipe-born water, education, and quality healthcare to our people. It is our commitment to these objectives that is winning us the support of the Liberian people.