The Institute for Research and Democratic Development or IREDD catalogs campaign promises by lawmakers during the 2017 elections.Addressing a news conference in Monrovia this week, May 21, Executive Director Harold Aidoo said the Liberian Legislature over the past 12 years has had a rather checked image problem.
“What we’ve documented over the past 12 years is that, there is a clear lack of mechanism that will ensure the accountability of the elected representatives. Beyond elections, there is no means of tracking promises of elected officials as often these promises are not documented, and citizens themselves rely only on what their personal expectations are of a particular lawmaker during an election year to make a decision,” he notes.
According to him, IREDD has no way of documenting and validating campaign promises of members of the House of Representatives in the 54th Liberian Legislature who contested under banners of political parties, noting that many of the promises made by legislators are extremely broad and not time bound.
“We believe this is an important first step in deepening Liberia’s democracy and a tool that can be used to hold legislators accountable by citizens,” Mr. Aidoo underscores.
He explains, “Like many democratic institutions in post-war environment, the legislature had had its fair share of challenges. The public perception about the legislature has not been pleasant. Citizens have often accused legislators of either not being sensitive to the plight of ordinary Liberians or not working for their interest. This public perception has led to an average turnover of 60 percent at the legislature since the 52nd Legislature.”
Mr. Aidoo agues strongly that many of the reasons used by citizens to vote in or vote out lawmakers are not founded on democratic principles, primarily because the level of education and awareness about the role of lawmakers among the population still remains low.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor