Liberia: Naymote - So Far, President Has Fulfilled Only 7 Out of 92 Promises

NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Initiatives, one of the leading Civil Society organizations in Liberia, with support from the Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA), has released a two-year comprehensive reports on the performance of the administration of President George M. Weah, unveiling seven (7) of 92 promises fulfilled so far.

The President's Meter Project seeks to monitor, document, rate, and report on the performance of the President against promises he made during and after the elections as well as the government's current development agenda from January 2019 to January 2020.

NAYMOTE's Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo, told a team of reporters at a news conference held in Monrovia recently that, during the period under review, his institution tracked and rated 92 promises of which 7 promises of the government were fully completed constituting (8%).

When asked about the yardstick his organization uses to determine the government's performance, he said, "these promises were categorized based on four scales as highlighted: Completed, Ongoing, Not started and Not rated. Completed: This is when a promise has been confirmed to be achieved."

Jarwolo: "Ongoing: This is when the government is working toward achieving a promise, but the promise has not been fully achieved. Not rated: is when information is not easily accessible to verify whether an action has been taken on a promise.

Not started: This is when no concrete action has taken place in response to a given promise." Mr. Jarwolo indicated that out of the 92 promises, 38 are ongoing, which constitute (41%), and 47 promises (51%) have not started or not been rated due to the lack of available information to assess the progress made towards implementation.

According to Jarwolo, the tracking was undertaken against the assumption that citizens care deeply about whether their government has followed through on what it originally promised and provides citizens with the tools to cut through the misinformation that often plagues political discourse surrounding the status of the government.

The project, he said, "has tracked, documented and rated 92 promises, of which (65) promises from the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) manifesto in 2017, and 27 promises from the campaign speeches, policy statements and presidential priority projects," he said in the report.

The 7 completed promises include the following:

Payment of WASSCE fees for all 12-grade students at both public and private schools; renovation of the JFK Medical Center; the passage of the Land Rights Act; reduction of salaries of public officials under the Executive Branch of government; the pavement of the Doe Community road to Clara Town; the construction of the New Kru Town fire victim's homes; and the revised and launch of the National School Curriculum Grade (1-12).

However, Mr. Jarwolo said for the past two years now, the Weah administration has not done much to address the issue of good governance, transparency, and accountability. Furthermore, he said all of the promises tracked were placed under four pillars as outlined in the CDC party manifesto.

For the first pillar, Power to the People, 32 promises were tracked, of which three have been completed, while 15 are ongoing and 14 promises are not rated. For pillar two, regarding the Economy and Job creation, 36 promises were also tracked, four of which were completed, 15 ongoing and 17 have not yet started or not been rated. For pillar three, Sustaining the Peace, 10 promises were tracked, 4 promises ongoing while 6 have not started.

The fourth pillar, Governance, and Transparency shows 14 promises tracked, 4 promises ongoing and 10 not started or not rated. The report further said that, out of the 92 promises tracked over the years under the four pillars, 11 promises were focused on education and training, of which 2 are completed while 6 ongoing and 3 not started. Also, 8 promises on were made on health and Sanitation 1 completed 5 ongoings and 2 not started.

The report also highlighted the issue of gender equality, of which three promises on were tracked, one ongoing while two have not started. The report also tracked five promises made on Youth reorientation and Empowerment, three promises are ongoing and two not started. Of the five promises made on physically challenged and senior citizens, none have started. Of the four promises made on accountability and Anti-corruption, none have stated.

Additionally, 12 promises were made concerning Sustainable Economic Growth. One has been completed, while five promises are ongoing and six not started. Seven promises on agriculture and forestry were made, with one completed, three ongoing and three not started.

For infrastructure development, 16 promises were tracked, two completed, six ongoing and eight not started, while for Justice and Human Rights, five promises were made, with one ongoing, four not started.

Meanwhile, the NAYMOTE's report has further observed that during the 2 years period, President George Weah's administration has taken no tangible actions on promises around Accountability and Anti-Corruption as well as promises on Physically Challenged and Senior Citizens; while limited efforts have been placed on Gender Equality, and Justice and Human Rights in Liberia.

According to the report, in tracking and documenting these promises, several distinct, yet inter-related quantitative data monitoring tools were used. They included: extraction, verifying promises, and monitoring and tracking.

A database was established where all information generated from the various tracking tools was stored and collated. In order to ensure accuracy, information on promises tracked was triangulated using primary data sources (Government official records), Non-partisan Think Tank reports, civil society reports and independent media reports, and interviews conducted with government officials. The outcome of this triangulation was also reinforced by the findings of on-site visits by NAYMOTE staff.

Through this triangulation method, data was analyzed, findings were generated, and conclusions made whether a promise could be classified as completed, ongoing, not started or not rated.

The Executive Director of the NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development, Eddie Jarwolo said, the objective of the President's Meter is to promote democratic accountability, improve government's performance and strengthen public service delivery. He said, his institution is providing the space for ordinary citizens to contribute and participate in their democracy, and to hold their elected leaders accountable on campaign promises made.

However, Naymote's reports have recommended a greater degree of cooperation from government institutions in terms of providing timely information to the President's Meter project team. NAYMOTE further urged the government to develop a results-based communication strategy to facilitate a two-way flow of information between the government and its citizens.

"Establish an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate the government's efforts in fulfilling promises. Develop a monitoring and evaluation system for monitoring the government's promises and link them to the pillars of the Pro-Poor Agenda and its implementation," he said.

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