By Victor C. Hanson, Jr
The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Internal Affairs & Governance Commission recently held a high level Roundtable on Decentralization Implementation to assist in moving the country forward.
Speaking at the program, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said the government will stand strongly to move in a positive direction so that citizens of the country can see a brand new day.
President Sirleaf said, “Many at times in our country, we start on well with things but only to end up in fiasco. The country needs to get back on its right path.”
She suggested, “We can do more if you give a little bit more effort and attention and if you look at what you have agreed to in this plan, that we certainly in the next year or two can really see that we have carried out the objective of taken development to the people and put them in charge.”
President Sirleaf added that ownership brings in results and if they feel there may be agenda, it is their priority, it will benefit them and if they contribute to it there will be a massive difference in the state of them finding faults and criticizing without getting what’s better. “They will then be the ones to applaud you.
They will be the ones that will praise you and say you have been able to help them achieve their objectives,” the President stated.
She urged everybody to see the decentralization implementation process as a second wing and also asked all partners to cooperate in helping the government to achieve its goal because there are times when partners do not follow the country’s development agenda.
“We have roads that go nowhere. Hospitals for which there are no patients, schools; please join us in formulating that common agenda and put your resources behind coordinated and integrated effort so that we have some harmony consistency in the things we do in the next couple of years,” President Sirleaf asserted.
She said there will be meetings held with those partners who are supporting the country’s rural development agenda if necessary to look at some of what are coming out of the county and see if they all can put together and identify those best priorities that bring results that everyone can put their resources behind.
“Most importantly the resources of our people are the key elements in being able to achieve resolves,” President Sirleaf concluded.
Also making remark at the program, Internal Affairs Minister, Morris Dukuly, said they are ready and will continue working with their colleagues and development partners to overcome the challenges and ensure that the program remains on track.
Minister Dukuly mentioned that the Ministry of Health, Education, Justice, and Agriculture have led and continue to lead the decentralization initiative while other agencies are also working to follow the lead of those cardinal agencies.
He said significant challenges remain in the areas of synchronization, coordination and information sharing. “We are in a county and do not speak to each other and because we do not speak to each other when NGOs go to counties they do not seek from county authorities. They select projects that may not be meaningful or what the people need,” Min. Dukuly stated.
Minister Dukuly concluded that the lesson of Ebola tells that it is time that everything gets urgent attention in the most synchronized manner.
As part of the Background information on the high level roundtable on Decentralization Implementation, Decentralization reforms have been a major policy pronouncement of the Liberian Government and a catchword for all advocates of good governance in Liberia. Over the past few years, the National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance was promulgated on January 5, 2012 and a draft Local Government Law is under review. The national medium term development framework, Agenda for Transformation adopted at the National Vision Conference on December 12, 2012 has anchored decentralization as one of the major features of the governance arrangement designed to support inclusive growth and development.
Implementation of decentralization is to take place in phases; the first phase of decentralization was scheduled to be completed or significantly advanced within three years as of the promulgation of the National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance in January 2012.
By Victor C. Hanson, Jr