By Melvin Tejan Mansaray
It is an established fact the prior to the 2018 Presidential and Parliament elections, political aspirants who were known to hold dual citizenship were prevented to vie for various political positions to the annoyance of many.
Regarded as the two-sim (dual citizenship law) it is a socio-politically divisive issue among ordinary and diasporan Sierra Leoneans.
During a recent Town Hall meeting with the Sierra Leonean diaspora community in the UK, Pres. Bio reiterated his commitment to get this law reviewed assuring its tabling in the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone. The President, however, underscored the need for engagements including Parliament as was done with regards repealing of Part Five of the Criminal Libel Repeal.
When a random opinion sampling was conducted among Legislators in Parliament most of them unequivocally stated that, “we are not going to approve any such proposal from the President to review this law.”
They further added that “it is only MPs who are diasporians that will support the proposed review on the dual citizenship.”
It was noticed that not more than five MPs are in support of the review process of the law.
Those Legislators who are not dual citizens say it will be foolhardy for them to approve the law also maintaining that over ninety percent of MPs in the present Parliament are there because of the law adding that to remove it means opening the doors for their own removal for people who have the resources, expertise and lots of other advantages.
At the moment, Hon. Dr. Kandeh Yumkella Leader NGC party and former UN diplomat and Hon. Wuyatta Songa representing the governing SLPP party (whose CV almost speak British) are the proponents of the citizenship law review and their colleagues say they will not entertain any such proposal from them or even the President.
According to the Public Elections Act 2012, Section 16 paragraph (a); “No person shall be registered as a voter or, having been registered as such, shall be entitled to vote at a public election if the person is – (a) a non-citizen;”
In the Sierra Leone Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2006 (Being an Act to amend the Sierra Leone Citizenship Act, 1973 so as to grant the right of dual citizenship and citizenship by birth directly through the mother), Section (5), Section 10 of the principal Act is repealed and replaced by the following section:– 10. “A citizen of Sierra Leone may hold a citizenship of another country in addition to his citizenship of Sierra Leone.”
In Section 13 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone (Duties of the Citizen), paragraph (B) says ‘Every Citizen shall – “cultivate a sense of nationalism and patriotism so that loyalty to the State shall override sectional, ethnic tribal or other loyalties;”