Source: Premium Times (Nigeria)
A pointless and potentially dangerous controversy has recently been triggered by an argument about the extent of rights to be enjoyed by dual citizens of Sierra Leone. This is in part because the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) has opportunistically, in an effort to disfranchise its most potent rival the National Grand Coalition party’s standard-bearer Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, seized upon Francis Gabbidon’s ill-timed and wrongheaded opinion that a justly long-ignored provision in the 1991 constitution should be enforced.
In his article, Mr. Francis Gabbidon, a former ombudsman, cited Section 76(1) of the 1991 Constitution which states that no naturalised citizen of Sierra Leone or a “citizen of a country other than Sierra Leone having become such a citizen voluntarily” can contest an election to become a member of parliament, and by extension president and cabinet minister. This interpretation misunderstands the letter, context and spirit of this provision and the intent of the 2006 Citizenship Amendment Act. Section 76(1) of the constitution does not deal with or in any way apply to citizenship acquired by birth and can in no way be used as a basis to disqualify Dr. Yumkella, who is a citizen by birth.