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Local officials brainstorm over Local Government Act  

By Lincoln G. Peters 

Local officials from across Bong and Montserrado Counties converged at a one-day dialogue of traditional leaders under the flagship of the Women Situation Room (WSR) initiated by the Angie Brooks International Center (ABIC) to discuss the Local Government Act 2018, its implementation and impact on the local governance structure of the county, especially women.

The dialogue took place yesterday, 3 March 2022 in the Cecil Dennis Auditorium at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia. In attendance were superintendents, traditional chiefs, mayors, and commissioners, among others. 

cross-session of local government officials

The Local Government Act  2018 is the law passed to give the legal effect to most provisions of the National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance. The aim of both the policy and the law is to ensure that the Government is decentralized so that people can have more opportunities to participate in decision-making and policy development at the local level as a means of strengthening democracy and promoting socio-economic development.

During the discussion, the local officials outlined barriers and negative perceptions to women’s inclusive participation and leadership. They said that most part of the Act is not executed, adding that the  Act is not having a holistic impact on the local officials because most of the local cities are not included in the national budget thereby undermining the operation of most local officials.

The local official said that it’s saddening that only Monrovia and Paynesville are part of the national budget, even though they too were created by an Act and the local government Act supports them.

They argued that the Act calls for budgetary support for them, adding that due to the lack of budgetary support they are finding it difficult to administratively run their cities.

Esther Walker, Bong County Superintendent, urged CSOs to advocate for gender balance in the counties, mentioning that there is no woman in the local leadership of Gbarpolu County.

She said the situation needs serious attention, adding that gender inclusion will make a greater impact in the counties and the nation at large. 

Arthur Kolleh, one of the oldest commissioners of Zota District, said representatives should be keen on budgetary allotment for cities that are left out of the National Budget. 

Mr. Kolleh, followed by John Tucker, the Superintendent of Todee District, like other speakers, told the gathering that women have been marginalized for years and that it is now that men will see their counterparts and begin to give them equal opportunity at all levels.

Serving as facilitator, the Acting Assistant  Minister at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mr. Boniface S. Kolee noted that women should not be out but brought together side by side to work for the development of the country. 

“They have been marginalized for years and there is [a] need that we bring them closer and give our support to leadership.”

Following the discussion of the local officials, the Establishment Coordinator of the influential Liberian-Based Angie Brooks International Center for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security, Counselor Yvette Chesson-Wureh, admonished the local authorities who are coming to seek their approval for public office.

“The role of the legislators is to put those necessary things that are to benefit the districts and not to ask for hand out”, she said, adding that “The role of the legislature is to put it in the budget and not to build roads and clinics.”

Attending the program were some prominent women including former Chief Justice, Cllr. Francis Johnson Allison, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Olubanke King Akerele, and former Monrovia City Mayor, Ophelia Saytumah, among others.


The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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