Liberia: House Draws Up Citizenship, Land Ownership Amendments for Referendum

Published: 9/Feb/2018
Source: Liberian Observer

But uncertainty hangs over its approval by the People

By Leroy M. Sonpon, III

The House of Representatives has begun reviewing four resolutions amending certain provisions of the Liberian Constitution, including citizenship and land ownership but uncertainty hovers over its passage into law by referendum.

The titles for the four resolutions are Citizenship Amendment, Property Amendment, Qualifications I Amendment, and Qualification II Amendment.

At the 8th day sitting yesterday, the first reading of the resolutions was done and sent to two separate Joint Committees for revision and report to the House Plenary in three weeks — by Thursday, March 1.


The Citizen Amendment is aimed to remove the “discriminatory” Negro clause and open citizenship to any race, while at the same time defining natural born Liberians and allowing them to have dual citizenship. The amendment will upset Articles 27 and 28 of the Liberian Constitution.

The purpose for the amendment of the Property Amendment is to allow non-citizens of Liberia to own property, with certain restrictions. The Amendment will affect Article 22, in which the entire Article 22 will be deleted and a new Article 22 will be written as “Every Liberian citizen shall have the right to own property, as well as in association with others.”

Also, “Non-Liberians may own property under the restrictions,” and Qualification I Amendment is intended to restrict certain elected offices to natural born Liberian citizens as the term may be defined in the constitution. The amendment will be done in Article 30 and is rewritten: “Natural born citizens of Liberia who meet the following qualifications are eligible to become members of the Legislature.”

In addition to the restriction of only natural born citizens to be eligible to become members of the Legislature, Qualification II Amendment is also restricting the appointment of Supreme Court justices to natural born citizens. This amendment will be done in Article 68.


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Themes: Discrimination, Ethnic/Racial/Religious, Dual Nationality
Regions: Liberia
Year: 2018