“Dual Citizenship Eventual, but Not a Priority”

first_imgThe nationwide debate on the claim to legitimate ownership of Liberia continues to be tested with zeal, heightened by the controversial dual citizenship clause proposed for Liberia. In recent years, the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) toured the country and sought the views of Liberians on changes or amendments to certain clauses in the Constitution and came up with a list of 24 propositions for referendum – among them, dual citizenship and the right of people of non-negro descent, to be allowed to attain Liberian citizenship.In what was described by other Liberian academics as ‘a very meaningful contribution to the dual citizenship debate’, a young Liberian scholar, Dr. Robtel Neajai Pailey, presented her doctorate thesis on the topic on Wednesday, April 20, at the University of Liberia auditorium, with some fellow Liberian scholars and other members of the Liberian society in attendance. Her thesis research work which was done at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, is entitled “The Love of Liberty Divided Us Here” and cataloged factors leading to the introduction postponed passage of a dual citizenship bill in the Liberian Legislature. The postponed status of the proposed bill happens to sum up her thoughts about the matter, given her findings from interviews of 209 Liberians residing in Europe, the United States of America and West Africa. In a nutshell, according to Dr. Pailey, a decision on dual citizenship is nowhere near the top of the list of priorities for most Liberians, at the present time. Moreover, her study sheds light on the respective journeys of several other African countries on the very dual citizenship issue, and what Liberia could learn from those experiences. Dr. Pailey scrutinized in her thesis the “markers” of citizenship narrowly defined in Liberia’s current Aliens and Nationality Law; how citizenship is currently conceived and practiced domestically and trans-nationally; and the symbiotic relationship between (dual) citizenship and post-war recovery.According to her, “Liberia, not formally colonized and more recently emerging from 14 years of armed conflict, represents a stark case study in citizenship construction, because of its idiosyncratic (distinctive, individualistic) history of black settler state formation.“Liberian citizenship has historically been a tool of exclusion, one barring women, non-settlers, non-Christians, and non-blacks, and it remains a violently contested space of inquiry with newer forms of citizenship now developing in Liberia and within transnational spaces.”She argued that conflict, migration, globalization and postwar recovery have configured Liberian citizenship across space and time, thereby influencing the introduction and postponement in the passage of a dual citizenship bill proposed in 2008. Her argument continued that the “bill is used as a point of entry to evaluate Liberia’s long-standing struggle to construct a unique brand of citizenship that is totalizing, tactical and timeless.“The rationale behind my research and contribution to this cardinal proposition is for us to practically fill in the empirical gaps, make informed policies, influence public discourse and begin wider discussions about what Liberian citizenship is and why should people of non Negro descent become citizens of Liberia.”She categorized Liberians into three main classes, namely: Homeland Liberians or citizens who are born in Liberia, reside in Liberia and have all their activities in the country; Permanent returnees or Liberian citizens who live in other countries that return to Liberia and settle; and Circular Returnees or Liberian citizens who are in and out of Liberia frequently due to transnational or global opportunities.She called on her fellow Liberians to stop the multilayered, gendered, aged, racial and ethnicized politics of citizenship.“This leads to the conflict-related expression that, for example, ‘Mandingoes are foreigners or strangers in Liberia’. Let us remember that Liberia is a signatory to many international conventions on global human rights, and that Liberians are citizens in other parts of the world,” she added.“Citizenship definition goes beyond legality. Being a Liberian rationally means having Liberia at heart by making meaningful contributions to its development by the use of one’s talents, time and energy.”Liberians all across the nation will be going to the polls in a referendum expected to take place before the presidential and legislative elections in 2017 to decide a number of critical issues, which include the reduction of presidential and legislative tenures, state religion, among others.Meanwhile, Dr. Pailey intends to publish her study on the matter to inform the Liberian decision on the topic, as well as to contribute to the global discussion on the matter. In attendance to hear the presentation were people from various vocations and persuasions, intelligently engaging the Dr. Pailey with many poignant and thought-provoking questions. The final question, which aptly concluded the question-and-answer session, was asked by the moderator, Norris Tweah, vice president for public affairs at the University of Liberia: “Is dual citizenship in Liberia an eventuality and, if so or if not, why?” “Given the global trends,” Dr. Pailey responded, “I think it is an eventuality in Liberia, but I will say as a caveat that perhaps… this particular moment may not be the right time. If you ask a typical Liberian what are [their] priorities, dual citizenship is not going to be at the top of their list of priorities. There are other bread and butter issues around making sure they have a living wage; that they are able to support their families; that the people they vote into power represent them adequately. They are not necessarily paying attention to what would-be dual citizens could achieve. They respect and appreciate the remittances, but are also concerned about people coming back and disenfranchising them. Whether those concerns are valid or not, they are concerns that I think should be appreciated and they should be reconciled.” She also said that there is a growing trend of dual citizenship being embraced across the African continent: one-third of African countries, she found, have varying forms of dual citizenship, some more restrictive than others. “And Liberia will follow that trajectory,” she said. “But at the moment, given the interviews that I have done and the push-back… I am not convinced that it is a priority now or that it will be passed now.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Bulldog Top 10 of 2016-17: No. 6 — Lizzy Wendell Leaves a Legacy at Drake

first_imgIn 2016-17, Wendell was chosen to the All-MVC First Team for the fourth-consecutive season, an accomplishment only six other MVC players have been able to claim. Wendell was also named the 2017 Jackie Stiles Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Year. She is the first MVC player to lead the league in scoring (averaging 21.0 points per game) in three-straight seasons since Jackie Stiles led the league four-straight seasons from 1998-2001. Wendell was named MVC Player of the Week an impressive 14 times in her stellar career, a total that ranks only behind Stiles (18) for the most in MVC history.  No. 7 – Student Athletes Receive Academic Honors After the season, Wendell was the first Bulldog to earn Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention accolades since Rachael Hackbarth in 2012. Wendell’s other postseason awards also included earning 2016-17 WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches’ All-America honorable mention accolades and being named to the NCAA Division I women’s basketball Senior CLASS Award All-America First Team. She was earlier selected as a WBCA All-Region nominee.Wendell finished her career with 2,551 points, a total that ranks third all-time at Drake and in the MVC.  In her senior season along with leading the league in scoring, she handed out 98 assists (3.0 per game) to rank fifth in the league and was second in the MVC in steals with a total of 88 (2.7 per game) to go with 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 50.2 percent from the floor. No. 10 – Football Finishes the 2016 Season Strong No. 9 – Men’s Basketball Defeats Missouri State Check back on July 13 as the No. 5 moment of 2016-17 is unveiled. Print Friendly Versioncenter_img Story Links The No. 6 moment of the 2016-17 season comes from Lizzy Wendell’s hard work and dedication on the women’s basketball team earning her a number of titles and honors during her career. Especially her impressive final year at Drake. The 2016-17 season featured many thrilling moments and accomplishments for Drake athletics. From conference titles, outstanding team and individual accomplishments, postseason appearances and significant regular season victories, the Bulldogs had plenty to celebrate as they look forward to the upcoming season. Before embarking on 2017-18, www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com will take a look back at the top 10 moments of the 2016-17 throughout the months of June and July. No. 8 – MacLeod Becomes All-Time Leader in Drake Men’s Soccer History last_img read more