“There can be no Public Trust Without Accountability” VP Koung Echoes at Naymote Democracy Summit

By: Laymah Kollie

Monrovia -March 19, 2024: Liberia’s Vice President Jeremiah Kpan Koung has stress the essentiality of accountability in any democracy.

Speaking at a Democracy and Political Accountability summit organized by Naymote Partners for Democratic Development, VP Koung echoes that the backbone for gaining public trust in any democratic society is accountability.

The summit on Democracy and Political Accountability aims to create a forum where diverse stakeholders, including government officials, political parties, civil society organizations, development partners, youth, and marginalized groups, can come together to explore challenges and pathways for sustaining Liberia’s democracy, enhancing democratic dividends, promoting political accountability, and encouraging active citizens engagement in democratic processes.

The event which commenced March 18, 2024 features open discussions, expert panels, and interactive sessions focused on identifying challenges hindering the delivery of democratic benefits, evaluating the government’s developmental agenda, defining the roles of various stakeholders in upholding political accountability, and deliberating on the strategic leadership role of Liberian youth in ensuring the long-term sustainability of democracy.

The summit brought together a total of 25 exceptional speakers, facilitators and panelists and six panel discussions. Specifically, the event is anticipated to bring together 75 participants from eight of the country’s fifteen counties: Montserrado, Margibi, Bassa, Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Bomi, and Cape Mount counties.

“At the heart of our discussions lies a shared commitment to enhancing democratic dividends and ensuring that the promises of democracy translate into tangible benefits for all Liberians. We will delve into the complexities of governance, examining the effectiveness of existing policies and programs in delivering on the aspirations of our people. Through open dialogue, we will identify gaps and opportunities for reform, with the aim of strengthening the foundations of our democracy and fostering greater public trust in our institutions” said Alphia Faith Kemokai, giving overview of the summit on behalf of Naymote.

Adding, “This summit will provide a platform for deepening our understanding of political accountability-the cornerstone of any functioning democracy. We will explore the roles and responsibilities of different actors in holding our leaders to account, from elected officials and public servants to the media, civil society, and ordinary citizens. By fostering a culture of transparency, integrity, and responsiveness, we can ensure that those in power are held accountable for their actions and decisions, thereby strengthening the legitimacy of our democratic processes”

Serving as Keynote speaker for the occasion, Vice President Jeremiah Kpan Koung highlighted the importance of accountability in democracy. Stressing that accountability strengthens democracy and the fight against corruption, the abuse of political power while upholding the rule of law.

“For me, accountability is a central piece of good governance, necessary for checks and balances over the management of public resources. It is accountability which strengthens democracy and fights against the abuse of political power, corruption, and upholding the rule of law. There can be no public trust without accountability; our citizens must have the right to access information, get explanations and pass judgement on those of us entrusted with public responsibilities”

The VP urged Liberian Leaders to make meaningful decisions that seek the common good of the ordinary citizens. He admonished authorities in Leadership to see the burdens, dreams and inspiration of the people as an ultimate sacrifice that demands accountability.

“We, as Leaders, have the rare privilege to make decisions with consequences for the common good of our people; however, we still struggle to demonstrate a sense of accountability to the people we lead. Let it be known that the burdens, dreams, and aspirations of the people we carry on our shoulders demand the ultimate sacrifice of accountability for our stewardship”

V P Koung cautioned Liberians to exhibit attributes that inspires true telling and improve the livelihood of the citizenry.

“Our democracy must not only be celebrated because of peaceful elections and transition of power, but must also based on our collective ability to be accountable to our people and improve their livelihood. This is the essence of true leadership in a modern democracy, and we must embrace this new mindset”

The Vice President then told leaders to put Institutional interest above individual interest if accountability must be strengthen in Liberia’s democracy.

“While our democracy is steadily improving, there must be an emergence of a new generation, with an approach of building strong democratic institutions. We can never achieve accountability and democracy unless institutions are placed above individuals; This is the challenge which confronts our democracy, and we must change the narrative without any form of doubts”

Meanwhile, International Partners gracing the occasion recommitted their support to democracy and accountability in Liberia and to the works of Naymote.
The partners include Jim Wright, USAID Mission Director, U.S. Embassy in Liberia, Nikolina Stålhand, Second Secretary, Swedish Embassy, Program Officer, Democracy and Human Rights, H.E. Neil Bradley, His Majesty’s Ambassador, British Embassy in Liberia and H.E Nona Deperz, Ambassador, European Union in Liberia.

Naymote Partners for Democratic Development, a leading civil society institution established in 2001 by student leaders and activists to advance accountable democratic governance, political accountability, and strong civic engagement in Liberia and across the continent. Since its inception, Naymote has been at the forefront of efforts to strengthen Liberia’s democratic institutions and empower citizens to participate actively in the governance process.

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