BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – In an effort to hold Pres. George Weah accountable for promises he made during the 2017 presidential campaign, a pro-democracy group has engaged with students at the Grand Bassa Community College to review the president’s accomplishments.
NAYMOTE’s President Meter Project was designed to ensure democratic accountability by documenting, monitoring, and tracking the government’s progress in implementing its campaign and governance promises, said executive director Eddie Jarwolo.
The program at GBCC was held at the college’s main campus in Paynesbury with over 50 attendees, including students, nearby residents, and staff of the college.
“We believe that when citizens are informed of what is ongoing – what their government is doing – they will build trust in the government and even reduce misinformation,” Jarwolo told The Bush Chicken in an interview.
Funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, the event aimed to inform participants about the performance of Weah’s first year in office, from January 22, 2018, to January 22, 2019. The organization had reviewed promises made in the Coalition for Democratic Change manifesto, presidential priority projects, campaign speeches, and policy statements made by the president.
For example, Jarwolo noted that on January 25, 2018, the president had announced presidential priority projects, which would include cutting waste, realigning the national budget, and repurposing resources to address critical challenges.
“Over the year we have been able to track, document, and rate 87 projects – 5 completed and 33 ongoing – during the first year in office, focusing on education, health, infrastructure, agriculture, and youth development,” he added.
Of the 87 promises (65 from the CDC manifesto and 22 from campaign speeches, policy statements, and presidential priority projects), Jarwolo noted that 49 were rated as “not started” due to lack of available information about them.
He named the completed five promises as the payment of fees for the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination for 12th grade students, renovation of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, passage of the Land Rights Act, reduction of salaries for public officials under the executive branch of government, and the pavement of the Doe community road.
The NAYMOTE executive director told The Bush Chicken that 10 promises were focused on education and training, while 8 dealt with health and sanitation, 3 were on gender equality, 4 on youth reorientation and empowerment, 5 addressed physically challenged and senior citizens, and 12 focused on sustainable economic growth.
“The government has been receptive, and this is not the only country the project is operating in,” Jarwolo shared. “You have Ghana, Nigeria, and even in the United States. People believe that when [a] government makes promises, it should be able to deliver those promises.”
He said it was important to “continue to hold the government accountable” on the rest of the promises.
Jarwolo added that a likely reason most of the promises have not been delivered is that ministers are not aware of those promises made during the campaign period.
He also noted that the lack of adequate funding is also significantly delaying the fulfillment of other promises made.
Featured photo by Sampson David