— President’s Meter report by NAYMOTE reveals
NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development, a civil society group that meticulously follows President George Weah’s promises to the country since taking the helm of the nation in 2018, has graded the President’s fulfillment of the promises in three years with a score of 8%.
According to Naymote Partners for Democratic Development, out of 113 promises tracked, nine promises were completed constituting 8%; 54 promises (48%) are ongoing; while 50 promises (44%) are not started or rated due to limited or lack of available data to assess progress made towards implementation.
On governance and transparency, which is one of the promises and the fourth pillar of the Coalition for Democratic Change’s manifesto, this promise remains the weakest pillar according to Naymote. With 23 promises recorded under this, none is said to be completed and 12 promises ongoing. The tracking record shows that 11 of the promises have not started or not rated due to lack of available information.
“There is no available data on action taken towards five (5) promises made on physically challenged and senior citizens,” the report said.
The score card further indicates that information is not available on the promises including provision of adequate and special attention to vulnerable students with a history of misconduct, learning and physical disability; submission for passage of the Liberia Technical Vocational Education and Training Commission Act, establishment in communities within various counties a viable adult literacy program for rural farming and market women; construction of seven modernized mini soccer stadiums across seven counties’ capitals, and ensuring of the provision of free medical service and recreation centers for senior citizens beyond the age of 70 years.
The government places a premium on infrastructural development with road paramount among other projects. According to Naymote, it tracked 20 promises, three of which are completed with 10 ongoing. Seven have not started or are not rated due to the lack of available data.
Naymote, the report notes, calls on the President to do more to fulfill his promises to the Liberian people after receiving overwhelming votes in 2017.
“The votes that George Weah received place an obligation on him to deliver on those things that he promised. Political accountability is an essential element in ensuring that politicians are held to account for promises that they make during the campaign period and those they make when elected,” said the group in a release.
According to Naymote’s release, Liberians, like others across the globe, are used to seeing political promises broken. Since the end of the civil war in 2003, Liberia has held three presidential and legislative elections, which have produced two presidents – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and George Manneh Weah.
“In each of their inaugural speeches, there were common threads: ending Liberia’s long crisis; fighting corruption, increasing access to social services, ending poverty, improving the economy, increasing food production, and fostering national reconciliation and healing – building a framework of a solid social contract between the electorate and their elected officials,” said Naymote.
The aim of the President’s Meter Project is to inform citizens on the performance of President Weah against promises made and to improve communication between the governed and the government in a sustained manner. This is intended to mainstream the voices of citizens in how the country is being governed against the background that most governments come to power on the rhetoric of change. In many instances, voters believe that change will take place.
Eddie D. Jarwolo, the Executive Director of Naymote Partners for Democratic Development, believes the “norm” where campaign and post-election promises continue to be broken increases the risk of voters’ apathy about politics and trust in their elected officials. For decades, Liberians have, by-and-large, put up placidly with the status quo as they struggle with limited access to quality social services, poor road infrastructures, unemployment, and varying forms of inequalities.
The dramatic victory of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in the 2017 presidential election suggested that the tide may finally be turning. At least, for the first time ever, presidential power was wrested from a ruling party, overturning the prevailing mindset that an incumbent government never loses power during an election. To secure that win, however, President Weah made a lot of promises to Liberians, which were promptly, and accurately documented by the Naymote Partners for Democratic Development and other Liberians. To ensure that he keeps to them, NAYMOTE, with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) launched the President Meter in 2018 to track the progress made by the new government on its promises and policies.
This report tracks and documents campaign promises and policies and to use the outcomes to stimulate public discourse this discussion is part of ensuring that voters have a voice in reviewing the social contract keeping the attention of citizens fixed on the cycle of governance from election to end-of-tenure.
“Ongoing citizens’ engagement delves to suggest that the Liberian democracy is pointing in the direction that Liberians want a president who either meets his or her promises or is honest and forthcoming about any challenges he or she encounters as he or she battles to do so. The previous norm where anybody can break the social contract and live happily with it is no longer an option,” said Naymote.