Liberia: Naymote Begins Tracking Campaign Promises

Naymote Executive Director Eddie D. Jarwolo

Naymote Partners for Democratic Development has begun tracking presidential campaign promises, which will be used to monitor the performance of the presidential candidate that will be elected on October 10, 2023.

Naymote is a CSO that holds duty bearers accountable for the leadership they provide to the Liberian people, and for the presidency, the group has the President Meter Project — which tracks promises that presidential candidates make during an election period.

For the 2023 presidential and legislative elections, Naymote has begun tracking promises that are being made by presidential candidates.

The President Meter project is a democratic monitoring tool that provides an independent assessment of the implementation of the campaign and post-election promises. It has been assessing promises made by President George Manneh Weah and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) during the 2017 elections and after he took office in January 2018.

Speaking at a press conference, Naymote Executive Director Eddie D. Jarwolo disclosed that the organization has trained and strategically deployed 15 observers across the country, established a Youth Elections Data Center, and reactivated its Liberia Decides platform with a substantial online following of over 23,000 people to track campaign promises and educate citizens about the electoral process using digital technology.

However, Jarwolo calls on all political parties to publish their manifestos in accessible formats, catering to citizens of varying literacy levels. The organization recognizes the forthcoming elections as an opportunity to fortify Liberia's peace and democratic progress achieved over the past two decades.

In addition, he said Naymote will put out at least 700 volunteers from its various youth programs to carry out civic voter education, specifically teaching young people about how to vote and staying peaceful.

Jarwolo declared, "Naymote appeals to all Liberians, especially political leaders and party members, to eschew violence and instead engage in constructive policy debates that will drive transformative agendas. addressing pressing issues such as corruption, economic growth, justice, human rights, unemployment, violence against women, and decentralization."

It can be recalled that Naymote, Partners for Democratic Development, released George Weah’s five-year performance report covering 2018 January to 2023 January, respectively.

The report narrates that the President's 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, Naymote says 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 Four of the PAPD, 167 from the President’s Nationwide County Tours 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's 65th Armed Forces Day Message on February 11, 2022.

The report indicates that the assessment found that only 8% (24 promises) have been fully implemented by the government over the last five years.

The assessment also found that the implementation of 91 promises (31% of all promises) was ongoing during the reporting period. Therefore, out of all promises, attempts have been made on only 39% (the sum of those completed and those with ongoing activities).

Nearly two-thirds of all promises, or 61%, or 177 promises, were identified as not started or not rated’ because the government had not commenced work on their implementation and there was no available information on the status of those promises, the report indicated.

According to the report, the majority of the promises implemented fall  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 observed that implementation of some promises under this thematic area was ongoing and could take several years due to the complex nature of the institutional and legislative reforms that may be required to fully implement them.

Additionally, the report points out that the assessment found that there were limited efforts by the government on promises centered on the physically challenged and Senior Citizens’, and action was taken on only 1 out of 10 promises under this sector. 

However, the government made progress by taking action on all eight promises under ‘Gender Equality’.

“As the Weah-led government completes its six-year mandate, it is time for the government to lead internal processes of self-evaluation and prioritize specific sectors for implementation ahead of the end of the mandate,” NAYMOTE said in a statement.

“In particular, fulfilling promises on governance, accountability, and anti-corruption is 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 is crucial for strengthening institutions and laying the foundations for delivering on all other promises.

Furthermore, Jarwolo said Naymote underscores the importance of civic and voter education during the 2023 electoral campaign period, equipping citizens with the knowledge required to participate effectively in the democratic process.

He also used the medium to call on all political parties not to use Liberian youths to engage in any act of political violence due to their status and unemployment.

“With a focus on safeguarding the security and rights of all candidates and parties, Naymote calls upon the Liberian National Police to execute their duties impartially. Ensuring the protection of all participants during campaign events is of paramount importance, and Naymote emphasizes the necessity for professionalism in the execution of these responsibilities,” said Jarwolo.