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Politics

Campaign promises Vs. realities

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-Naymote brings 9 lawmakers to light

Naymote Partners for Democratic Development through its Legislative Accountability Project (LAP) has tracked completed, ongoing and unfulfilled campaign promises of nine (9) members of the House of Representatives, from January 2018 to January 2021.

A 3-year performance report on nine (9) members of the House of Representatives from Montserrado, Bong, Nimba, Grand Gedeh and Rivergee Counties uncovered that since the ascendency of these representatives into office, actions have been taken towards a combined total of 77 campaign promises, of which 23 campaign promises were completed, 42 ongoing, and 12 promises have not started or not rated due to the lack of available date to assess any action taken.

According to the report, majority of the promises tracked focused on the provision of social services, including support to education, health care, construction or rehabilitation of community roads, market buildings, handpumps, setting up district development committees, renovation of school building, local government offices and support to youth and women groups, including agriculture projects, among others.

Legislators’ performance tracked from NAYMOTE’s project locations include former Representative Prince K. Moye, now a senator; Representatives Moima Briggs Mensah and Robert F. Womba from Bong County, Representatives Richard N. Koon, Samuel R. Enders and Rustonlyn S. Dennis from Montserrado County; Representative Roger S.W. Y. Domah from Nimba County, Representative Alexander Poure from Rivergee County and former Representative Zoe E. Pennue from Grand Gedeh County, now a senator.

The report published Monday, March 08, 2021 on the entity’s website notes that as a result, the nine lawmakers involved achieved very little in
lawmaking which is one of their cardinal functions.

It details that in Bong County, Representative Moima Briggs Mensah, of electoral district # 6 made 13 campaign promises, of which five are rated completed, and eight promises are ongoing, while her colleague, Representative Robert F. Womba, of electoral district # 4, made 12 promises, five of which were completed, six ongoing, one has not started, and one not rated. Former Representative Prince K. Moye of electoral district # 2 (now Senator) made 7 campaign promises, none completed, six are ongoing, and one not rated due to the lack of available information.

In Montserrado County, Representative Rustonlyn S. Dennis, of electoral district # 4 made 8 (eight) campaign promises, none completed and are all ongoing, while Representative Richard N. Koon of electoral district # 11 made 10 promises, 2 completed and eight ongoing. Representative Samuel Enders, electoral district # 6 made five (5) campaign promises; none completed, and all five are ongoing.

Nimba County Representative Roger S. W. Y. Domah of electoral district # 7 made 8 (eight) campaign promises; one completed, six ongoing and one not rated due to the lack of available information.

In Grand Gedeh County, former Representative Zoe E. Pennue of electoral # 1 (now Senator) made seven (7) campaign promises; six completed and one ongoing, and in Rivergee County, Representative Alexander Poure of electoral district # 1 made seven (7) campaign promises; six completed and one ongoing within six years in office.

Meanwhile, Naymote recommends that elected officials/lawmakers should focus more on implementing their campaign promises and keep holding town hall meetings with their constituents.

It also calls for public education to help citizens to understand workings of their lawmakers and lawmakers should be more accessible, responsive, and accountable to the needs of their constituents.

Naymote recommends need to have distinction between the County Development Funds projects and lawmakers’ self-supported projects to ensure accountability and transparency for public funds.

“As Liberia’s prime democratic advancement institution, Naymote Partners for Democratic Development considered the Legislature as the fulcrum of Liberia’s democracy because of its constitutional responsibilities to enact laws, represent citizens’ interests, and oversee executive policy implementation and performance. However, citizens do not often hear from those elected lawmakers until the next election”, reads the executive summary of the report.

Members of the House of Representatives in Liberia are elected for six years with three cardinal functions: Lawmaking, Representation and Oversight. Story by Jonathan Browne

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