January 19, 2018 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Presidential Candidate of the National Grand Coalition (NGC) yesterday displayed to the press, documents showing renunciation of his American citizenship.
On the 9th of January, 2018, the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) put out a notice that they will be adhering to Section 76(1), Act No. 6 of the 1991 Constitution in awarding symbols for the forthcoming Parliamentary elections.
Section 76(1) states that, “No person shall be qualified for election as a Member of Parliament, if he is a naturalized citizen of Sierra Leone or if he is a citizen of a country other than Sierra Leone, having become such a citizen voluntarily or is under a declaration of allegiance to such country.”
The move by the APC disqualified individuals, especially those from the Diaspora, to contest the parliamentary election. Former Members of Parliament were also denied symbol on the grounds that they carried dual citizenship.
The action was seen by some sections of the pubic and some political parties as a witch hunt to debar certain individuals from contesting the elections.
Since then, there have been rumours on the social media that Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella has dual citizenship and in essence, he is not qualified to run for the presidency on March 7, 2018.
However, during a press conference in Freetown yesterday, Dr. Yumkella said: “It is a fact that I have had dual nationality. Because of my firm commitment to serve my country, I renounced my US citizenship to ensure that I fully qualify to run for parliament in Samu Chiefdom and contest the position of president of the republic of Sierra Leone.”
He stated that he decided to renounce it because of his firm belief that the constitution is supreme, coupled with the fact that the president as the fountain of hounour and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, should have allegiance to only the country he/she leads.
He encouraged other political leaders currently running for parliament and the presidency to come clean and declare their status before nomination.
“Today, before my nomination, I categorically say to you the people of Sierra Leone that as of this moment, I do not hold any other nationality, nor do I have allegiance to any other country. I am a citizen of one country in the world and that is Sierra Leone,” he declared.
According to him, Sierra Leoneans were granted the right to dual citizenship by late President Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah because the late man recognised the rights of the hundreds of thousands of people living abroad and their families.
The NGC presidential Candidate noted that President Ernest Bai Koroma cannot claim to have been ignorant about the conflict between the 2006 citizenship amendment Act and the 1991 Constitution because “the issue was brought to his attention twice during his tenure.
“The actions of the APC on this issue are just plain hypocrisy and it is a continuation of the selective use of the constitution to settle political debts and witch hunting. He is knowingly stirring up a constitutional crisis on the threshold of the March, 2018 elections and perhaps still pushing the more time agenda,” he claimed.
He also accused the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) of being a complicit on the duplicity because they approved all the president’s ministerial appointments without providing true debate or challenge laws and bills sent to them.