By Grace Q. Bryant
Naymote Partners for Democratic Development reports says that the performance of the 54th Legislature, from January 2018 to January 2023, is deficient in oversight functions, resulting in lack of transparency and openness in executive activities.
Speaking over the weekend at their office in Paynesville, the Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo, said the Legislature failed to hold the Executive branch accountable for many of its actions and inactions.
Director Jarwolo noted that Naymote’s observations during the period revealed the absence of budget performance reports, non-submission of reports from ministries, agencies, and commissions to the Legislature, no access to voting records of legislators, the absence of a functional website for public engagement, and the non-availability of annual reports.
“Notably, during the 2018-2022 period, the Legislature received appropriations exceeding US$228 million without an accompanying audit report on fund management,” the reports revealed.
Naymote calls upon the 55th Legislature to adopt a more robust approach, adding, “This includes implementing institutional reforms to fortify oversight committees, establishing transparent systems, launching a functional website for public access to legislative activities, and introducing a state-of-the-art electronic voting system to provide transparent voting records.
These initiatives aim to make the 55th Legislature more citizen-centric, accessible, responsible, and accountable, thereby fostering a democracy that effectively serves the people,” Director Jarwolo noted.
According to Director Jarwolo, Naymote commits to contributing to legislative strengthening by creating a Legislative Engagement Guide (LEG) that will enhance the involvement of civil society organizations and citizens in the legislative process.
Additionally, Naymote pledges to host town hall meetings, which are expected to bring legislators closer to the people, support youth legislative dialogues, provide training for legislative staff, monitor legislative engagements, and improve media engagement with legislators.
“Furthermore, Naymote affirms its commitment to vigilant monitoring of policy responses, coupled with ongoing assessments of political accountability. This commitment will result in the development and publication of policy briefs and periodic reports, potentially on a quarterly and yearly basis. These publications will meticulously detail the performance of elected officials, contributing to enhanced transparency and accountability in government for the benefit of the broader population,” the reports assured.
Naymote Partners for Democratic Development extends a warm welcome to the esteemed members of the 55th Legislature and urges them to champion principles of accountability, transparency, and responsiveness in serving the needs and expectations of the Liberian people.
“Recognizing the pivotal role of robust legislative oversight in a thriving democracy, Naymote advocates for legislators to enhance their oversight function. This entails holding the Executive branch accountable, diligently monitoring executive functions, maintaining a balance of power, and steadfastly defending the interests of the people.
The core legislative functions of lawmaking, representation, and oversight must consistently uphold the principles of social accountability and the efficient delivery of public goods and services,” Director Jarwolo expressed.
By Grace Q. Bryant