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Celebrate Accountability, Not Only Transition Of Power -VP Koung Tells Liberians

By Laurina B Lormia
The Vice President of Liberia says he is aware of the need to improve democracy in Liberia, but its democracy should not only be celebrated because of peaceful elections and transition of power, but must also be based on the collective ability of the leaders to be accountable to the people and improve their livelihood, which he described as the essence of true leadership in a modern democracy, that must be embraced with a new mindset.
“We gather here in affirmation of our collective belief that democracy is the bedrock for the attainment of sustainable development. Together with political accountability, democracy presents the surest pathway to address a nation’s socio-economic challenges,” Koung observed, noting that to maintain a functional democracy, the people must cultivate the mindset that accountability is one of the key tenets of democracy, and that the citizens will always demand answers from those of us who are trusted with the torch of leadership.
He asserted that any democracy without accountability of its leadership is almost certain to fail, stressing that the 1986 Liberian Constitution provides that all power is inherent in the people and that the Government is instituted by their authority and for their benefit.
“Leaders under our form of government are servants of the people and, therefore, answerable to the people. It follows that we as leaders, whether elected or appointed public officials, have an obligation to explain our decision and actions to the citizen- the people,” the VP noted.
He pointed out that the obligation of being answerable as leaders for their decisions, policy formulation, implementation, reform, and service delivery, demonstrate accountability in a functional democracy.
VP Koung asserted that as a nation, Liberia’s democracy continues to be strengthened, evidenced by its recent history of two successive democratic transitions of power.
“We have learned to be tolerant, peaceful, and embrace dialogue as major doctrines of a mature democracy. I do believe that even with our recent success as an emerging democracy, we still have not elevated our discourse to reflect issues above individuals. The political landscape is still bankrupt of policy debates; it is therefore my desire that we will rise above discussions of individuals and proffer ideas,” he said.
Koung stressed that while the country’s democracy is steadily improving, there must be an emergence of a new generation, with an approach of building strong democratic institutions, saying, “We can never achieve accountability and democracy unless institutions are placed above individuals; this is the challenge which confronts our democracy, and we must change the narrative without any form of doubts!”
“It is at forums like these that some of our young people have an opportunity to interact with their leaders and share their perspectives on enhancing our democracy and achieving sustainable development. These young people represent the energy, lifeblood, and future of our nation, and we must rise to the occasion to preserve it.”
He made the statement yesterday at the opening of a two-day summit for democracy and political accountability fostering pathway for sustainable democracy in Liberia that was launched by Naymote.
Also making remarks, the Second Secretary, Swedish Embassy, Program Officer for Democracy and Human Rights, Nikolina Stålhand, extended her warmest congratulations to Liberia and its people for achieving a strong and credible democracy, even without international support, stating that the peaceful transition between two governments and the successful conduct of elections are a testament to Liberia’s resilience and dedication to democracy.
“The Swedish Embassy remains a committed supporter of Liberia’s democracy and human rights, providing assistance to civil society and government agencies alike, including the MFDP and the next three Human Organizations. As someone responsible for our election support, I have closely followed Liberia’s election process and witnessed the hard work that goes into ensuring free and fair elections,” Stålhand stated.
“It requires strong structures based on principles of transparency, accountability, gender equality, and human rights. And for this to happen, all stakeholders, including the media, civil society, and young people, need to be engaged and contribute. I’m confident that the citizens’ participation and program over the next two days will further advance this cause,” she concluded.
For her part, the European Union Ambassador, H.E Nona Deperz, said that democracy is a vital aspect that should not be taken for granted. Unfortunately, the number of seats worldwide has decreased, and democracy has been increasingly under attack.
“It is crucial to understand that democratic processes are vulnerable to gender-related issues, and sustainable and inclusive development is only possible through democracy and human rights. Addressing global challenges requires the cooperation and efforts of everyone,” Deperz said.
He noted that, regardless of the criteria used to measure performance, be it instability, equality, economic growth, or education, democracy remains a crucial aspect of government policy in the long run. The recent elections have shown the strong commitment of people and institutions to democracy.

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