ON TUESDAY OCTOBER 7, the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) released its report on the performance of members of the 53rd National Legislature. This institute’s monitoring initiative is under the theme, “Towards Legislative Openness; see your lawmakers at work.”
THE REPORT WHICH covered the period of January to July 2014 revealed finding from all of the 49 or 48 sessions held by both plenary sessions and said the monitoring project contributes to greater transparency and democratic accountability in Liberia.
THE REPORT AMONG other things, researched under-equipped operations of the National Legislature which according to it has led into a state of paralysis and poor documentation, constraints and inefficiency which are being used as cover-ups to deny citizens the right to public information crucial to monitoring the legislative representation as well as undermining the right to freedom of information.
IREDD WHICH IS campaigning for transparency and accountability in society said the efficiency of the Legislature continues to be impeded by lawmakers’ work attitude relating to time.The institute’s report booked members of the National Legislature who are either not in session or recorded as being late for sessions during the period under review and observed that several instruments for enactment are also dusting on its shelves.
THE REPORT ALSO highlighted plenary participation as well as attendance of lawmakers during session with the Senate topping the House of Representatives during the plenary participation while members of the House of Representatives are rated high over members of the Liberian Senate in terms of attendance. Some lawmakers flunked by being recognized as lawmakers getting zero marks for plenary participation.
WELL DONE IREDD for the report and even though the report may not be perfect due to the monitoring system and documentation procedure of the Legislature’s own secretariat or archives but it is no doubt that the information researched in the report could be for openness of the Legislature and in their own interest as it is to correct some of the lapses in the first branch of government.
IT IS ALWAYS good that people accept criticisms especially when they find themselves in positions of trust because it is used to keep you in check and if you have nobody checking on you, then it is when you ‘rule instead of lead’ and most times fall in harm’s way because of contentment.
WE HOPE THAT the National Legislature will see this as a wake-up call as they have always done to correct those things which they cannot see by themselves and use other information to advocate for more logistics so that their performances can improve as well as issues surrounding documentation and the speedy debate of legislative instruments.
OUR LAWMAKERS, PLEASE pay heed to the IREDD research report and do not see it as a mere research because you can never tell who those watching you are and taking keen interest in every step you take as direct representatives of the people of Liberia.