MONROVIA – As the October 10, 2023, Presidential and Legislative Elections approach, many individuals and organizations are resorting to the laws of Liberia, in most instances, questioning and challenging the eligibility of some aspirants to contest for elective public office in Liberia.
One such organization is the Konobo Administrative District Urban Youth (KODUY), a Grand Gedeh youth organization that is alarming that one of the aspirants seeking a Legislative seat in the Southeastern county, Madam Marie Johnson is a citizen of the United States of America. The Youth Group says this is in violation of the Amended Alien and Nationality Law of Liberia that bans non-Liberian citizens from being allowed to contest in Liberian elections.
KODUY is, therefore, challenging the eligibility of Madam Johnson to contest for the representative seat of Konobo District #2 in Grand Gedeh County. The group is calling on the National Elections Commission (NEC) to disqualify her based on the preponderance of evidence that proves her citizenship of the United States.
Section 7.1 (C) of the election law states “Anyone seeking to be representative must be a citizen and no less than 25 years. He or she must be domiciled in the constituency for no less than one year prior to election (12 months)”.
KODUY claims that Madam Marie Johnson holds a United States citizenship, and as such must be excluded from running for representative seat in Grand Gedeh where she has not been residing for the past two years. The group argues that the decision of Madam Johnson to apply to contest for the Grand Gedeh County District #2 seat is in gross violation of the laws of Liberia.
KODUY also asserts that the status of Madam Johnson as a Liberian-American renders her ineligible to contest in Liberian elections because she is yet to renounce her American citizenship. They allege that Madam Johnson carries her American passport which she used to travel from the United States to Liberia in February and April of this year to jumpstart her representative bid.
According to Executives of KODUY, Madam Johnson was seen with an American passport (passport number 503831854) at Roberts International Airport, and when some supporters warned her that she needed to renounce her American citizenship before contesting for the Representative seat of Konobo in keeping with the Aliens and Nationality Laws of Liberia, she, however, assured her supporters that she is capable of circumventing the laws of Liberia to contest in the elections. “This is not an issue to worry about.” Johnson allegedly told her supporters to not consider her US citizenship an issue that may prevent her participation in Liberian elections.
Providing limitations on a Liberian citizen who holds the citizenship of another country, Section 1 Article 4 of the Aliens and Nationality Laws of Liberia states “A Liberian citizen who holds the citizenship of another country shall not be eligible for any elective public office while still a citizen of another country.
Should such a person desire to contest for elective public office, the person must renounce the citizenship of the other country at least one (1) year prior to applying to the National Election Commission to contest for an elective public office and such documentary evidence of such renunciation of citizenship of the other country shall be filed with the circuit court in Liberia and with the National Elections Commission at least one (1) year before application to the National Election Commission to contest for elective public office.”
The group says giving the information confirming Madam Marie Johnson’s American citizenship, there is no history of her renouncing her American citizenship one year prior to submitting her nomination papers to the National Elections Commission. KODUY says if Madam Johnson had done so, she would have displayed documentary evidence to the circuit court in Monrovia and the National Election Commission as required by the law. They claim this informs their belief that Madam Johnson still carries her American passport and she has not renounced her American citizenship.
It can be recalled that about a week ago, KODUY, through a law firm filed a complaint to the National Elections Commission seeking an injunction and the disqualification of Madam Johnson from contesting in the forthcoming Presidential and Legislative elections because she is an American citizen according to documents in their possession.
According to the KODUY Executives, they are disappointed by the slow pace of the hearing process at the National Elections Commission but they still trust the NEC’s process.
According to Article 7 of the NEC Complaint Regulations, NEC is to appoint hearing officer/s who shall be independent is their duties as hearing officer. Similarly, Article 7 of the NEC Hearing Procedures requires that the hearing of a complaint shall be done in an expeditious way.
The KODUY Executives argue that the woeful and deliberate violation of the elections law and other laws of Liberia by Madam Marie Johnson is a threat to our peace and democracy. Press Release