Liberia: Citizens Rate Weah's Govt 'Very Poor'

21 November 2019

-Naymote

Most Liberians think the country is heading in the wrong direction, rating the performance of President George MannehWeah's government in managing or handling the economy as "very poor" in the sixth survey report released here by Naymote Partners for Democratic Development.

Releasing the report at his office in Paynesville Wednesday, 20 November, Naymote Executive Director Mr. Eddie D. Jarwolo says there is a sharp reduction in citizens' level of satisfaction with the quality of democracy in the country.

The survey conducted from July 15, 2019 to August 30, 2019 focused on service delivery, the economy, accountability, civic engagement and participation, and security.According to Mr. Jarwolo, 3,600 registered voters from 46 electoral districts across the 15 counties were randomly selected as respondents for the survey and ten enumerators were trained to conduct the survey.

The citizens' perception survey is conducted every year by Naymote to assess what citizens across the country think about the quality of governance here.Of the total sample size of 3,600 registered voters from 46 electoral districts, Naymote reports that 82% of respondents think "the country is going or somehow going in the wrong direction while 15% think the country is going or somehow in the right direction."

The current 82% in 2019 represents a sharp increase in negative perceptions of the management and governance of the country because in Naymote's 2018 survey findings, 64% of respondents at that time said the country was going in the wrong direction.Also in the 2019 survey 89% of the respondents described the current economic conditions here as very poor or poor, as compared to 70% who described it as very poor or poor in the 2018 survey report.

The report also indicates a sharp reduction of citizens' satisfaction with the level of democracy in the country, as 57% respondents said they are very satisfied or satisfied with the way democracy is working while 40% said they are not satisfied.Three percent of respondents said they did not know. In the 2018 survey, 80% had said they were "very satisfied and satisfied" with the way democracy was working," meaning there is a sharp reduction to 57% this year.

Additionally, the survey finds that the level of engagement between legislators and their constituents is weak, as 75% respondents say they have not attended any event in their district organized by their lawmakers since January 2018.Notwithstanding, the survey reveals that most survey respondents were satisfied with opposition legislators' and opposition political leaders' ability to hold the government accountable.

Naymote Executive Director Mr. Jarwolo tells the journalists that 65% of respondents said they are very satisfied or satisfied with the way political parties are engaging and holding the ruling party accountable on commitment to service delivery.On the other hand, he says 31% said they are not satisfied with the roles of the opposition political parties are playing in holding the government to account.

While the respondents commended the opposition for holding government accountable, Mr. Jarwolo how says the citizens indicated in the survey that they didn't want the opposition to organize demonstrations here."Most of the things that you see today that are coming up, it's because of the work of the opposition, exposing the government on corruption," he says.

"But they [citizens] complain about the demonstration," he continues, saying most of the people complain that when the opposition are demonstrating, citizens will not be able to go to work.He notes that every time you hear press conferences from the collaborating parties, and youth groups, taking the government to task, it's better than war and throwing stones.

"Irrespective of gender, the general rating of the economy was poor. Over 92% (males 2,121 and females 1,190) rated the performance of the government in managing or handling the economy as very poor and poor," Mr. Jarwolo reveals.In a similar vein, he says 81% (females 2,365 and males 539) rated the government's performance in managing or handling the health services as very poor and poor.90% (males 2,049 and females 1,172) of the respondents rated the government's performance in fighting corruption as very poor and poor.

Further, trust in the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) has decreased, according to the report.

While 93% of respondents in the 2018 survey rated the AFL as the most trusted security institution here, only 78% of the respondents in the 2019 survey rated the AFL as the most trusted or fairly trusted security agency in Liberia, a drop in confidence from last year.

At the same time, Naymote finds that mistrust of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) has decreased.

In the 2018 report, Naymote said 72% of the respondents said they did not trust the LDEA, as compared to 57% of respondents in the 2019 perception survey report.

Of the total sample respondents, Naymote says 58% of respondents were between the ages of 18 to 35, meaning that younger people mostly participated in the survey."This trend aligns with the fact that young people constituted a little over 65 percent of the total registered voters in the 2017 elections. Thirty two percent of the respondents were between the ages 36 -50 and 10% were ages 50 and above," Naymote concludes.

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