By: Lisa T. Diasay
Liberia-January 18, 2023: A pro-democracy group, Naymote has released findings of a five year (2018-2022 ‘President’s Meter’ Report indicating that Liberian President George Weah has completed 8% (24 promises) of his 292 promises across the Country over the last five years. A percentage that shows decimal performance.
Naymote report also pointed that eventhough out 31% (91) of the promises are going nearly two third of all promises, 61% (177 promises) were rated ‘not started’.
Naymote Partners for Democratic Development tracked presidential promises and reported on the status of their implementation annually. This year report comes ten months to the general and presidential election. George Weah was elected on a mantra of ‘change’ and his key promises included economic reforms that would ensure substantial Liberian participation in the economy, fighting corruption and enhancing service delivery.
“The majority of the promises implemented are promises under Pillar 2 of the Manifesto (Economy and Jobs). These constituted (56%) of all completed promises. Specifically, promises on infrastructural development received a high completion rate — constituting 38% of all completed promises. Pillar 1 of the Manifesto (Power to the People) which has a total of 106 promises, has the lowest completion rate of 8%. Although the completion rate under Pillar 4 (Governance and Transparency) remains the lowest, the assessment however observed that implementation of some promises under this thematic area was ongoing and these could take several years due to the complex nature of the institutional and legislative reforms that may be required to fully implement them”, the report emphasized.
According to Naymote Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo, the assessment found that there was limited efforts by the government on promises centered on ‘Physically Challenge and Senior Citizens’, and action was taken on only 1 out of 10 promises under this sector.
Jarwolo however highlighted that the government made progress by taking action on all 8 promises under ‘Gender Equality’.
The report was launched at a local hotel on January 18, 2023.
These promises were articulated in the 2017 election manifesto of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), several campaign speeches before the election, the inaugural address, and in policy statements (like the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, PAPD) and presidential addresses.
This report documents promises, and policies made by President Weah during and after the 2017 presidential campaign. The aim is to promote political accountability, influence public policy, and stimulate discussions among citizens and stakeholders.
“This discussion will hopefully empower and give voters a voice in reviewing the social contract between them and their leaders.
This edition of the President Meter Project reports on 292 promises made by the president, his political party, and the government over the last five years. Of the 292 promises, 65 promises came from the Coalition for Democratic Change 2017 Manifesto, 34 from campaign speeches, policy statements, presidential priority projects (3Ps), and Annual Messages to the Legislature, 6 from the COVID-19 State of Emergency (SoE) relief support 8 from Pillar 4 of the PAPD, 167 from the President’s Nationwide County tour of 2021 and 2022, 8 from the President’s speech at the U.S. Summit for Democracy held in December 2021, and 4 from the President 65th Armed Forces Day Message on February 11, 2022”, the report noted.
Naymote further recommended that the government leads internal processes of self-evaluation and prioritizes specific sectors for implementation ahead of the end of the mandate. “In particular, fulfilling promises on governance, accountability and anti-corruption are crucial as they were a key part of the many policy speeches that elicited support for President Weah during the presidential campaign and after the inauguration. Implementing promises in these areas are crucial for strengthening institutions and laying the foundations for delivering on all other promises”, the report noted.
The findings also showed that President George Weah and his government have yet to implement nearly two-thirds of the promises they have made to the people of Liberia.
Numerous promises made over the years were focused on poverty reduction, infrastructural development, social service delivery, rule of law, government accountability, and decentralization, among others.
“Delivering promises made in campaign manifestos and policy statements is important for sustaining trust between the government and the citizens; conversely, failing to deliver undermine trust and confidence in the authority of the government”.
Naymote findings suggested that the government focused more on infrastructure; needed to spur jobs and growth, but stressed the slow pace at which government is implementing promises on crucial reforms. It emphasized the need to strengthen anti-corruption institutions, improve delivery capacity, and implement decentralization because those reforms would build the foundation and systems required to manage public infrastructures, sustain growth and retain jobs. “For instance, making the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Procurement and Concession Commission more effective and efficient would potentially reduce waste, fraud and abuse, and save resources for investment in social services and infrastructure. We therefore cannot overemphasize the need to accelerate these reforms through both the policy and legislative processes”, the report noted.
According to Jarwolo, an important challenge with tracking government promises is the dearth of data/information and the unwillingness of duty-bearers to provide information in some cases which sometimes limits the scope of the President Meter report. “Moreover, the lack of available information poses a greater challenge to accountability and government transparency. Public information on the status of government programs is important for building trust and enhancing accountability. It is crucial, therefore, that the government strengthens its public information dissemination mechanisms, and ensures periodic information on the status of all ongoing projects is provided to enhance transparency and public trust in the government”, he noted.
Following the launch of the report, Representatives from the US Embassy, USAID and Embassy of Sweden lauded Naymote for the report and indicated that it tracking promises and deliverables are key to building a citizens’ trust and democracy.
Other civil society organizations including Center for Accountability and Transparency in Liberia (CENTAL) and Accountability Lab, also praised Naymote for the report but further urged the government to take the report in ‘good faith’ to advance accountability in its undertakings.
Naymote Partners for Democratic Development created in 2001 is a good governance and research institution working to advance democracy, rule of law, and democratic governance in Liberia and the region.
The institution believes that a purposeful and effective civil society is needed to set the national policy agenda, stimulate sound and healthy grassroots responses to governance issues, and influence the uneven power dynamics that characterize the relationship between Liberia’s citizens and government.