A leading democratic advancement institution in Liberia, called the National Youth Movement For Transparent Election (NAYMOTE), has released its four years performance report of President George M. Weah in office.
NAYMOTE disclosed while releasing its findings, that based on available data and records, only eleven (11) of the 169 promises were completed, constituting (7%) of all promises during the reporting period.
Additional 65 promises (38%) are ongoing, and 93 promises (55%) have not started or are not rated due to limited or lack of available data to access progress made towards implementation.
According to the civil society body, the report which covers the period January 2018 to January 2022, documented promises and policies made by President Weah during and after the 2017 presidential campaign and the progress made so far in implementing those promises.
“The findings of this report suggest that, after exactly four years in power, the Weah-led administration is yet to deliver on the majority of the promises it made to get elected and those made after being elected.
In order to make some gains on its manifesto and other promises, the government must do the following: develop a result-based communication system that engages citizens in an open and transparent manner; reduce the high recurrent cost of running the government in order to save more resources for social services and capital projects and develop a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system to track and report on progress and challenges in implementing government promises in the PAPD,” the report said.
It added that “the Weah government is yet to establish a performance assessment and monitoring system for each presidential appointee and the public agencies; convene periodic development conferences to assess progress and hear from the citizens at all levels about their needs and challenges, and cooperate with civil society and provide needed information for research and reporting on government activities in line with the Freedom of Information Law.
Naymote in its report also stated, that the government is yet to align presidential promises (policy and verbal) which translate into national development policy framework and sector strategic objectives with the national budget , by making sure that the national budget allocations are clearly disaggregated and aligned with government priorities or policies.
When this is done, it will allow civil society track sector deliverables of Ministries, Agencies, and Commissions (MACs) to make sure that they deliver on the president’s promises.
“The aim is in two folds, firstly, to inform the public and the government on the status of promises made in speeches and policy documents, stimulate discussions among citizens and stakeholders and influence ongoing policy discourses and public policy decisions.
Secondly, to serve as a cornerstone for citizens to hold the president accountable for promises made either through policy or verbal commitments as part of the social contract between the president and citizens (voters).
In this report of the WeahMeter, NAYMOTE has tracked and documented 169 promises made by President George Weah during the 2017 presidential campaign (when he was a candidate), and from January 2018 to December 2021 (the first four years of his administration as president).
Sixty-five of these promises came from the Coalition for Democratic Change Manifesto of 2017, 31 from campaign speeches, policy statements, presidential priority projects, 3 from State of the Nation Address (January 2020), 6 from the State of Emergency (SoE), 8 from the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) Pillar 4, and 56 from the President County Tour of 2021.
Election promises made during political campaign periods formed the basis for a social contract between the voters and candidates. This contract, wherein candidates promised to perform certain actions in return for the votes of citizens needs to be always respected and adhered to.
The votes that President George Weah received place an obligation on him to deliver on those things that he promised”, the report furthered.
Political accountability is an essential element in ensuring that politicians are held to account for promises that they made during campaign periods and those they made when elected to office.
The findings of this research are presented as found under the various pillars.
Pillar One: Power to the People,
Under this pillar, NAYMOTE tracked and documented 59 promises. Five (5) of these promises were completed, 20 promises are ongoing, and 34 promises have not started or could not be rated due to lack of available information to access action taken.
Pillar Two: Economy and Jobs,
The institution tracked and documented 71 promises. Five (5) of these promises were completed, twenty-eight (28) promises are ongoing, and 38 promises have not started or could not be rated due to lack of available information to access action taken.
Pillar Three: Sustaining the Peace
Under this pillar, 10 promises were tracked and documented. Available data shows that none was completed; however, 4 promises are ongoing, and 6 promises have not started or could not be rated due to lack of available information to access action taken.
Pillar Four: Governance and Transparency,
Under this pillar, 23 promises were tracked and documented. Available evidence shows that none of these promises was completed; however, 12 promises are ongoing, 11 promises have not started or could not be rated due to lack of available information to access action taken. These pillars are from the CDC’s Manifesto and the national development agenda.
This pillar, which is key to strengthening good governance and accountability seems to be the pillar receiving the least attention so far as the evidence shows.
At best, what the government has done is to pass and sign into law two important pieces of legislation, the Local Government Act, 2018 and the Land Right Act of 2018. Unfortunately, the implementation of both laws has moved at a snail pace.
The findings of this report suggest that, after exactly four years in power, the Weah-led administration is yet to deliver on majority of the promises it made to get elected and those made after being elected.
NAYMOTE, Partners for Democratic Development, is a civil society organization that promotes citizens’ understanding of democratic processes and the long-term benefits of their participation in these processes.
It was established in 2001, by students’ leaders and activists, and has been one of the leading grassroot organizations promoting democracy, peace building, human rights and civic engagement in Liberia.