Naymote Partners for Democratic Development, a good governance and research institution working to advance the principles of democracy, rule of law, and participatory governance in Liberia has released the first edition of its Legislative Digest Report 2022.
This first edition of the Legislative Digest presents findings on the number of activities conducted
under core functions of the legislature during the period 2018 – 2021. The assessment found that
the legislature is disproportionately occupied by men, despite numerous campaigns over the years
for women inclusion and representation in decision-making and leadership structures. As at the
end of 2021, the men constituted 91% of members of the legislature with women making up 9%.
Similarly, the two houses are strikingly unequal in terms of gender composition: men constitute
90% of members of the House of Representatives are men, and 93% of members of the Senate,
while women constitute just 10% and 7% of the House of Representatives and Senate respectively.
During the period under review, the Legislature held 497 sittings of which 243 were regular
sittings, 173 were secret/executive sittings, 68 were extra sittings and 13 were special sittings. The
Legislature passed a total of 129 bills during the reporting period — 65% of those bills originated
from the Executive/presidency.
There were 84 public hearings held during this period, with 2018 recording the highest number of
hearings (34) and 2021 the lowest number of hearings (13).
It is estimated that Liberian taxpayers spent USD 164,282,257 on the Legislature during the
reporting period. But it is difficult to establish how the legislature expends its budgetary allocation
due to the lack of public financial records on the legislature’s finances. Popular demands to audit
their financial records have yielded no results. The assessment did not also find any voting records,
nor did it find records on ministries, agencies and commissions, for instance, annual reports.
As a modern legislature, crucial reforms will be needed to strengthen its institutional capabilities
in exercising oversight, promoting inclusion and advancing democracy. In this light it is
recommended that the legislature, among others, work towards greater transparency and openness,
deepen engagement with government ministries and provide greater oversight and accountability;
and advance the inclusion of women by supporting constitutional reform that increases the
proportion of women in both house through affirmative action provisions. Click link to read the full report https://bit.ly/3ac6A4i.