Cllr. Negbalee Warner cautions elected officials
Cllr. T. Negbalee Warner, dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, has become the latest high profile Liberians calling on the CDC-led government to make available its campaign promises, something which they did not do during the political campaign period last year.
Cllr. Warner said in the absence of a public unveiled campaign policy by the government, it becomes difficult to hold the government accountable for their actions, which undermines democracy in some instances. He noted that when campaign promises are made available, they become morally and legally enforceable because that is what the people will hold them in the account during the campaign period.
He made these comments yesterday at the official launch of the President’s Meter Project (PMP) in Monrovia. The President’s Meter is an online platform designed to track President George M. Weah’s campaign promises, replicating the Buharimeter of Nigeria.
As part of the project, NAYMOTE has reproduced 800 copies of the CDC Party’s Manifesto which is being distributed across the country to help citizens understand what was promised during the elections. The institution has also produced a drama series titled, “We Voted, So What?”, which is being aired across Bong, Margibi, Lofa, and Nimba Counties, educating citizens on the CDC Party’s Manifesto and the institution has erected 15 signboards in key cities to create awareness about the project and promises and also engaging the media (social media and community radio stations).
NAYMOTE has also identified and quantified 66 campaign promises from the CDC’s Manifesto and 20 promises from speeches and other sources made by the President since his induction.
The public availability of campaign promises helps citizens to track government performance, which puts them to their feet to do their best.
The President’s Meter Project is put at US$189,000 and is basically designed to ensure democratic accountability by documenting, monitoring and tracking the government‘s progress in the implementation of its campaign and governance promises.
The project is currently being implemented by NAYMOTE, in Partnership with the Center for Democratic Development with support from the Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA). The President’s Meter marks the seventh of such initiatives that OSIWA has sponsored in the sub-region.
“Campaign promises are not empty talks. In fact, they are morally and legally enforceable,” Cllr. Warner stated.
Warner, who served as the chief launcher of the PMP, further said these promises are legally enforceable because there is hardly any reasonable and self-respecting person who will not agree with the basic training that one should keep his or her words.
“Imagine what a bad lesson it will teach if we all were to perceive that these were just big political talks that were not meant to be.”
He said it is important to know that campaign promise is unilaterally contracted as soon as the candidate has succeeded. He used the occasion to remind politicians who though they were being smart by not putting their promises in writing. “It does not need to be written documents because it is an enforceable contract by law.”
He, however, told the gathering that over the years campaign promises that were made repeatedly in Liberia with no intent to be kept are not only morally offensive, but they are legally offensive.
“We need to hold our promisors accountable,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Eddie Jarwolo in remarks told the gathering that this is also intended to build public trust in the government and to increase accountability and remind the President George Weah of those promises made. He further said as parts of NAYMOTE’s efforts to ensure that government does meet up with its promises, NAYMOTE remains committed to engaging the necessary stakeholders. Jarwolo, however, lauded OSIWA and other partners for their support to the project.