Liberia: Naymote Wants A More Transparent, Robust 55th Legislature (Daily Observer January 08, 2024 Edition)

By David A. Yates

Naymote Partners for Democratic Development has called on the incoming 55th Legislature to champion the principles of accountability, transparency, and responsiveness in serving the needs and expectations of the Liberian people.

In a statement released on Friday, January 5, 2024, Naymote’s Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo, emphasized the importance of robust legislative oversight in a thriving democracy, urging the new legislators to enhance their oversight function by holding the executive branch accountable, monitoring executive activities, maintaining a balance of power, and defending the interests of the people.

Jarwolo stressed that the core legislative functions of lawmaking, representation, and oversight should consistently uphold social accountability and the efficient delivery of public goods and services.

After closely monitoring the performance of the 54th Legislature from January 2018 to January 2023, Naymote and its ED identified deficiencies in oversight functions, which led to a lack of transparency and openness in executive activities.

Naymote said in its statement that the 54th Legislature also failed to hold the executive branch accountable for its actions and inactions. The group observed the absence of budget performance reports and the non-submission of reports from ministries, agencies, and commissions to the Legislature during this period.

The lack of access to the voting records of legislators, the absence of a functional website for public engagement, and the non-availability of annual reports were also key observations.

Additionally, the Legislature received appropriations exceeding US$228 million without an accompanying audit report on fund management. In light of these observations, Jarwolo called for the 55th Legislature to adopt a more robust approach.

Meanwhile, Naymote has recommended the implementation of institutional reforms to strengthen oversight committees, establish transparent systems, launch a functional website for public access to legislative activities, and introduce a state-of-the-art electronic voting system to provide transparent voting records.

Naymote pledges to contribute to legislative strengthening by creating a Legislative Engagement Guide (LEG) to enhance the involvement of civil society organizations and citizens in the legislative process.

The CSO also plans to host town hall meetings, support youth legislative dialogues, provide training for legislative staff, monitor legislative engagements, and improve media engagement with legislators—committing itself to vigilant monitoring of policy responses and ongoing assessments of political accountability.

Naymote will develop and publish policy briefs and periodic reports, potentially on a quarterly and yearly basis, to detail the performance of elected officials. These publications aim to enhance transparency and accountability in government for the benefit of the broader population.


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