The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) has released a 21-page report on campaign promises of members of the House of Representatives in the 54th Legislature. The entity’s effort is to promote internal democracy and provide citizens with the necessary information and tools to hold their elected representatives more accountable on their electoral campaign promises.
Of the 73 Representatives, 71 made campaign promises during the 2017 presidential and representative elections, designed to sway voters’ opinions and get elected; but some of the promises are ideological in nature and difficult to quantify, while others are more direct and accountable, according to IREDD.
IREDD executive director Harold M. Aidoo, Sr., said some of the promises were vague, while others are complete, and has meanwhile warned against cheap talk, calling on lawmakers to intensify efforts in fulfilling campaign promises.
Aidoo further said though the electoral promises are not time-bound, the publication of the electoral promises is an important first-step in deepening Liberia’s democracy and a tool by which citizens can hold legislators accountable.
The IREDD’s report is part of the “Strengthening Political Parties Program – SP3.” It was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through implementation by National Democratic Institute (NDI).
According to the report, it catalogued counties, districts, political parties, cell numbers and campaign promises of each representative, besides Rep. Yekeh Kolubah of Montserrado County District 10 and Lofa County District 5 Rep. Cllr. Beyan Howard.
When contacted, Rep. Howard confirmed not disclosing his campaign promises to IREDD or to any Monrovia-based media institutions because it doesn’t have any impact in his district. Rep. Howard said he has campaign promises, but it is between him and his people (constituents).
Rep. Yekeh Kolubah in a brief telephone conversation yesterday, said he has campaign promises and it was not compulsory to share with any organization that would make it part of their report. He said his people knew his campaign promises and they would judge him, not through a report.
Bad Image of Legislature
IREDD said because of failed campaign promises and other reasons, the Legislature over the past 12 years has an image problem, and the public perception about the Legislature is unfavorable.
“Citizens have often accused legislators of either not being sensitive to the plight of ordinary Liberians or not working for their interest. This public perception has led to an average turnover of 60% at the Legislature since the 52nd Legislature,” Mr. Aidoo said.