Says most Liberians think country is headed in the ‘wrong direction’; offers recommendations
A recent survey administered to identify gaps of underdevelopment has proffered candid recommendations and a way forward in the Government of Liberia’s successful implementation of the Pro-poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity (PADP). Conducted by NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development from July 15 to August 30, 2019, the survey focuses on service delivery, the economy, accountability, civic engagement and participation, and security.
Of a total sample size of 3,600 registered voters from 46 electoral districts across Liberia’s 15 counties, which is a statistical representation of citizens, 82% of respondents think the country is going or somehow going in the wrong direction, while 15% think the country is going or somehow going in the right direction, the Survey Report on the Quality of Governance in Liberia says.
The annual survey report, now in its 6th edition, assesses citizens’ perception on the quality of governance in Liberia.
In the 2018 survey findings, 64% of respondents said the country was going in the wrong direction. The 2019 survey, showing 82% for the same indicator, represents a sharp increase in negative perceptions of how the country is being managed and governed. When asked in 2019 about the economy, 89% of the respondents described the current economic conditions in the country as very poor or poor, as compared to 70% who described it as very poor or poor in the 2018 survey report.
There was a sharp reduction in citizens’ level of satisfaction with the quality of democracy in the country. In the 2019 report, 57% of the respondents said they are very satisfied or satisfied with the way democracy is working in the country, 40% said they are not satisfied while 3% said they don’t know. In the 2018 survey report, 80% of respondents said they were very satisfied and satisfied with the way democracy was working in the country.
The level of engagement between legislators and their constituents is weak, the survey suggests. 75% of the respondents said they have not attended any event in their district organized by their lawmakers since January 2018. Despite limited engagement with citizens, most survey respondents were satisfied with opposition legislators’ and opposition political leaders’ ability to hold the government accountable. 65% of the respondents said that they are very satisfied or satisfied with the way political parties are engaging and holding the ruling party accountable on the commitment to service delivery. On the other hand, 31% said they are not satisfied with the roles of the opposition political parties playing in holding the government to account.
Irrespective of gender, the general rating of the economy was poor. Over, 92% (males 2,121 and females 1,190) rated the performance of the government in managing or handling the economy as very poor and poor. In a similar vein, 81% (females 2,365 and males 539) rated the government’s performance in managing or handling the health services as very poor and poor and 90% (males 2,049 and females 1,172) of the respondents rated government performance in fighting corruption as very poor and poor.
Trust in the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) has also decreased. Whereas 93% of respondents in the 2018 survey rated the AFL as the most trusted security institution, only 78% of the respondents in this survey rated the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) as the most trusted or fairly trusted security agency in Liberia. In spite of the AFL’s declining trust factor, it remains by far the most trusted security security agency in Liberia. At the same time, mistrust of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) has decreased. In the 2018 report, 72% of respondents said they did not trust the DEA as compared to 57% of respondents in this survey.
The annual survey report, now in its sixth edition, assesses citizens’ perception of the quality of governance in Liberia. It is released by NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development, a leading civil society organization established in 2001 by youth leaders and student activists to enhance democratic participation of citizens and promote political accountability of elected officials.
Of the total sample respondents, 58% of respondents were between the ages of 18-35, meaning that younger people mostly participated in the survey. This trend aligns with the fact that young people constituted a little over 65 percent of the total registered voters in the 2017 elections. 32% of respondents were between the ages 36-50 and 10% were aged 50 and above.
Respondents were taken from a wide range of sectors representing different occupations, including farmers, self-employed, NGOs, government employees, marketers, motorcyclists, community leaders, elders, students, businessmen and women, as well as professionals in other areas.
The survey was conducted using mobile phones and google forms to collect and analyze the data collected from a mobile phone contact database (data bank) of over 9,235 registered voters within 46 electoral districts across the 15 political sub-divisions of Liberia.
NAYMOTE was established in 2001 by student leaders and activists and has been one of the leading national institution promoting democratic governance, peace-building and civic engagement in Liberia. The institution is a member of the World Movement for Democracy, the World Youth Movement for Democracy, the African Movement for Democracy and the National Civil Society Council of Liberia. The survey was undertaken through grant support from the National Endowment for Democracy