Nimba District #7 Lawmaker urges constituents to hold elected officials to their promises
The euphoria associated with having an elected official in the House of Representatives or the Senate can be very high when an official takes over; but as time progresses, and the person begins the main work for which he/she is elected, voters soon begin expressing apathy (disregard, unconcern) in him/her for failing to fulfill promises made during the time of campaigning.
Constituents across the country are expressing disappointment in their elected officials, especially at this time of Liberia’s harsh economic situation, leaving officials unnervingly silent and, sometimes, only defending themselves with the excuse that, “I am a lawmaker; I was not elected to build a bridge, road or school.”
Against this backdrop, Nimba County District #7 Representative Roger Domah has shifted the blame on voters themselves for the failure of elected officials to fulfill promises they made during campaigns.
On June 22, 2019 in Tengbein Town, where he served as a guest speaker at the induction ceremony of officials of an umbrella organization, the Gbehyi Loleawon Association (GLA), for the locals of Gbehyi Clan, Representative Domah said, “You voters make elected officials to move with big heads here. You are the ones who gave us jobs through your votes, and if we fail to provide the kind of leadership you need, or do not fulfill promises we made, you still maintain your voting right to vote us out in an election.”
He added, “Instead of exercising this right to teach politicians during elections, you people sometimes vote the same person, because of tribal or personal connection. This makes officials complacent to feel that the people love them.”
Liberians are expected to know the roles of their lawmakers as well as those of other branches of government through their Constitution; but the Constitution has not been taught in schools or through other media outlets as required in Article 10.
In the absence of such vital information, voters tend to view elected officials’ roles on the basis of sentiments rather than evaluating them on their constitutional roles.
In his statement, Domah said if voters were holding elected officials to their promises by voting them out when they fail, others coming to the position would be cautious of such an example and strive to do better.
“You voted me as your representative; if I fail to meet your expectations, you reserve the right to take it from me,” said Representative Domah.
He challenged residents to be frank to tell their leaders the truth, and not to get people deceived by “for nothing big heads.”
He said as a result of allowing leaders to go without being checks and truth telling, other incompetent people, who do not deserve a post, come with lies and flattery, to fool the people continuously.
“As long as leaders are up there and you do not tell them the truth or make a decision that will affect their actions, they will control the resources and live decent lives, without being conscious that the masses are suffering,” Representative Domah continued.
He said, “Leadership is more than the position occupied and less than the impact a leader makes.”
He therefore cautioned the newly-elected leadership of the GLA to perform in a way that those elected officials will maintain the trust reposed in them by the people of the clan.
Domah called on GLA president Ernest Duo Harris to avoid activities that will delay support to projects earmarked for implementation.
The GLA is currently undertaking a building project on its school campus near Garwonpa Town; residents are rallying to generate funds for the project.
Representative Domah contributed L$150,000 towards the Gbehyi project, and promised to donate unspecified building materials as the project is ongoing.
The induction officer, Nimba County Superintendent David Dorr Cooper, commended the leadership and Gbehyi people for not waiting on the government for development, but always initiating their own projects and underwriting the costs.
He told GLA president Ernest Harris not to see himself as a lord for the people of the nine towns of Gbehyi, but that he should limit his desire and boastfulness so as to look back to people who elected him to the position.
Superintendent Cooper contributed US$250 and 50 bags of cement towards the project.
In his acceptance statement shortly after the induction ceremony, Mr. Harris, having seen a gap of disunity in the new administrative district setup that divides Gbehyi Clan, expressed the need to bring back people of the clan together as it was before the civil war (1989-2003).