The rate of re-election for members of House of Representatives and the Senate has been relatively low since the 2005 presidential and legislative elections due to many factors. Key factors contributing to this trend, according to House Deputy Speaker Prince Moye, include the inability of constituents to comprehend the functions and rules governing Legislators, and also unfulfilled electoral promises.
Moye made the remarks during the formal launch of the Legislative Advocacy Handbook (LAH) to promote the culture of legislative openness and responsiveness as well as transparency of public finance, safeguard freedoms of expression and assembly.
The program was held at the Legislative Information Serve (LIS) of the Capitol Building on Wednesday, April 10, 2019.
The development of the LAH was inspired by NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development, and the production was in partnership with the LIS.
The handbook is a conscripted tool to engage the Legislature as the fulcrum of Liberia’s democracy, because of its constitutional responsibilities to enact laws, represent citizens’ interests, oversee executive policy implementation and performance. It is also intended to improve young people skills to engage in constructive ideologies.
“To be a lawmaker is something that we need to explain the function of to our people on a daily basis. It is becoming increasingly impossible for people to exercise the function of a lawmaker on the count that you see every election year, too many good people leave, because our functions have not been explained and some of the reasons are just simple,” Rep. Moye observed.
The Bong County District #2 Representative said that until the functions of the Legislature are explained and clearly understood by their constituents, there would continue to be a high re-election rate in the legislature.
Moye has therefore appealed to International Civil Society Organizations (ICSOs) to help NAYMOTE to print several copies of the handbook to roll-out the distribution to the 73 electoral districts.
NAYMOTE Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo, said the handbook provides an in-depth analysis of legislative advocacy highlighting the steps and tools to be used when advocating for the passage of a bill or to influence a legislature.
The handbook is divided into four parts: Know Your Legislature, which provides a detailed information about the Legislature and processes; Advocacy Tools and Steps; Promoting the Culture of Legislative Openness; and Know Your Lawmakers, which provides detailed information about all elected representatives and senators, including assigned Committees, their mobile numbers and email addresses, etc.
Jarwolo said NAYMOTE, in partnership with other CSOs, have planned to undertake a nationwide sensitization and awareness campaign on the launch of the handbook before 2023.