Sierra Leoneans angry over proposed removal of citizenship clause

Published: 24/Feb/2016
Source: Cocorioko (Freetown)

The Sierra Leone constitution guarantees citizenship through African-Negro ancestry. In other words, to be a Sierra Leonean citizen, one must be born in Sierra Leone by either black African parents or outside Sierra Leone by parents who have naturally qualified as citizens.

Platinum Media has observed that the suggestion by the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) to have this provision removed from our constitution has become increasingly unpopular among ordinary citizens, especially as it favors the Lebanese, whose monopoly over the private sector confers on them substantial power and advantage over the average Sierra Leonean. The move is seen as seeking to further empower the Lebanese, by giving them benefits previously available only to native Sierra Leoneans.

Some Sierra Leoneans now hold the view that the CRC may have been compromised by some members of the rich Lebanese community to have our citizenship clause removed to pave way for automatic citizenship for people of Arab descent.

A human rights lawyer who holds strong reservations about some aspects of the CRC report explained among other things that our two sister Republics of Guinea and Liberia have their citizens laws intact. “Removing our citizenship clause will cause a floodgate of foreigners seeking to gain citizenship and this will compromise our national security as well and territorial integrity…..the Lebanese people will never tolerate this in their native Lebanon” he stressed.

We have also observed that the recent Lebanese trash saga involving former Senior Presidential Adviser, IB Kargbo has fuelled resentment against the Lebanese as many now see the move to dump unwanted Lebanese waste as an attempt to ridicule Sierra Leoneans.

“With all that the Lebanese people have benefited from our country, what has their government back home done in return for us….where was Lebanon when Ebola was killing Sierra Leoneans?….if they believe what we deserve is their trash, why would they run to acquire our citizenship? Queried Ansumana Kallon who described himself as a youth activist. Kallon thus called on the CRC to immediately review its report or risk the wrath of the general public.

“The CRC was established to promote the interest of Sierra Leoneans. It is a shame that they are now promoting the interest of foreigners …..I believe the CRC Chairman must resign immediately for this shameful proposal” he maintained.

A popular Sierra Leonean lawyer supported the idea granting citizenship to people with one Sierra Leonean parentage. “This category is clearly covered by the constitution but an individual with 100% Lebanese parentage should go seek for such political rights in Lebanon not here” he blasted.

The CRC report is still a draft proposal submitted to government for the amendment of the country’s constitution.

Platinum Media is of the view that naturalised citizens all over the world are not granted political power. The draft CRC law relating to citizenship if allowed to pass will confer political rights on aliens.

This law if allowed to prevail will seriously compromise our national security. We are not against the Lebanese as a people but we are concerned over granting them the corresponding rights that goes with the new definition of citizenship. This also goes to other nationalities in Sierra Leone.

In our subsequent editions, we will bring out how citizenship is acquired in various countries including Lebanon and other countries in sub Sahara Africa.

Themes: Acquisition of nationality, Discrimination, Ethnic/Racial/Religious
Regions: Sierra Leone
Year: 2016