CSO Group Releases Booklet on Lawmakers’ Campaign Promises
Report by Henry Karmo, [email protected]
Monrovia – The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) on Monday, May 21, released a booklet on campaign promises made by politicians specifically lawmakers who were then aspirants during the 2017 Presidential and Representatives Elections.
The IREDD booklet contains campaign promises of all 73 members of the 54th House of Representatives. The promises were captured during the 2017 elections campaign period and verified by the lawmakers.
According to Mr. Harold Aidoo, the exercise is part of the ongoing Legislative Strengthening Project (LSP) being executed by IREDD.
Speaking Monday during the release of the campaign promises, IREDD Executive Director Aidoo encouraged residents of the 73 electoral districts in Liberia, to ensure that their lawmakers implement their promises.
“Part of the objectives of the booklet is aimed at providing citizens with necessary pieces of information and tools to hold their elected representatives more accountable based on the promises made during the elections,” Aidoo stated.
Of the 73 lawmakers, 71 of them made promises during the campaign and validated their promises after taking the oath of office. Only Representative Yekeh Kolubah of District #10 Montserrado County did not promise his constituents anything during the validation.
Since Rep. Kolubah’s took his seat in 54th Legislature as District #10 lawmaker, according to our senior Legislative reporter, he has been a controversial figure.
“We could not also validate the campaign promises of Rep. Kargon Gunpue from District #4 of Nimba County. We completed our data validation process before the Supreme Court of Liberia could give its final ruling on the electoral disputes between him and former lawmaker Garrison Yealue,” Aidoo said.
According to him, IREDD utilized mixed methods in gathering campaign promises as well as variety of information sources. IREDD recruited 16 community-based journalists working with community radio stations from each of the 15 political sub-divisions.
Over the last 12 years, the Legislature, like many democratic institutions in a post-war environment, has had its fair share of challenges. Public perceptions about the Legislature have not been pleasant. Citizens have often accused their lawmakers of not being sensitive to their plights and not working in their interests.
IREDD argues strongly that most of the reasons constituents voted in or out legislators, are not founded on democratic principles.
“This is particularly so, because the level of education and awareness about the role of lawmakers among the population still remains low,” Aidoo added.
Although CSOs particularly IREDD and the media have for the last 12 years done considerable awareness around civic education about the work of the legislature. It is clear; however, that a lot still needs to be done.
This IREDD project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).