Varney Sherman’s March to the Executive Mansion
Takes him to Liberians in the United States
Varney Sherman’s march to the Executive Mansion, which officially began on March 15, 2004, with a parade through the streets of Monrovia by thousands and thousands of Liberians and culminating in a very impressive program at the Monrovia City Hall, steadily continues. In June, 2004, Varney Sherman visited several places in the United States to talk to non-resident Liberians. Some of the places he traveled to and met with Liberians are Washington, D.C.; Silver Spring, Maryland; Minnesota, Minneapolis; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Atlanta, Georgia.
At each town hall meeting, Varney Sherman spoke about the challenges facing Liberia, his dream and vision for Liberia and what he termed the “enormous possibilities and tremendous opportunities to transform our native land”. But that was not all. Unlike any other candidate for President of Liberia, Varney Sherman boldly acknowledged that most non-resident Liberians have their hearts in Liberia and they demonstrate their love and commitment for Liberia by the huge amount of money that they send to relatives and friends. “This remittance money, aggregating in the millions each year, has not only put bread on many tables, placed a smile so many distraught faces, or provided education and health to others, it kept Liberia’s economy buoyant during very turbulent and extremely difficult years of our most recent past history.” Varney then called on non-resident Liberians to translate their love for their native land into direct participation in the political process leading to the 2005 general and presidential elections by openly canvassing for candidates, providing material and financial supports for candidates, and by demanding for the exercise of the right to vote as citizens of Liberia even though they are resident outside of Liberia. “As we move to electoral reforms, which would obviously require suspending provisions of our Constitution and setting aside certain law in order to facilitate “free and fair” elections immediately after a civil war, the reform should include the mechanism for the enjoyment of franchise by non-resident Liberians.”
Varney Sherman did not only stop at the issue of participation of non-resident Liberians in the 2005 general and presidential elections; he went on to advance the proposal for dual citizenship for all natural-born Liberians. “I did not choose to be born a Liberian and so no law, statutory or constitutional, should take away from me the right of Liberian citizenship only because circumstances at home forced me to live in another country and the situation in my adopted country compelled me to acquire residency or citizenship.” We need to scrap all laws which take away from a natural-born Liberian his right of citizenship and we need to adopt new laws which would allow Liberians to retain their Liberian citizenship even if they voluntarily acquire the citizenship of another country.
The issue of dual citizenship is so passionate to Varney Sherman that he just did not stop at the “rights” of the non-resident Liberian; he went on to argue that non-resident Liberians have acquired knowledge, skill, experience and wealth that Liberia is in dire need of. “One of the ways to attract non-resident Liberians to return, live and work in Liberia is to give them the comfort that in returning they will be returning home as citizens, not as foreigners in the land of their birth or the land where the navel strings of their fathers and mothers are buried.”