By S. Siapha Mulbah
Ahead of the country’s most anticipated 2023 General and Presidential Elections, a US based group, Liberian Advocates for Change Through Social Justice and Human Rights Inc. (LACTS), is calling on citizens nationwide to review the social contract between them and political actors before the casting of ballots during the upcoming elections.
According to the civil society group, the electorates have a constitutional right to demand basic necessities from the government or officials wanting to be elected to political office before election, and that said demand has to be recorded through documentations.
Speaking in Monrovia at the conference hall of the Lutheran Church in Liberia in March 14, 2023 the President and Founder of the group, Emmanuel Beyan Tarnue said it is important for Liberians to know that over the years, politicians have failed to deliver their campaign promises only because there are no documented contracts between the parties involved.
According to Tarnue, politicians are interested in attracting the attention of the masses during campaign periods. So there are flashy promises made in order to galvanize support and votes that have the propensity of taking them to electoral offices.
He said the ‘Vote Your Issues’ program is intended to call on citizens to withdraw from voting on promises while the constitutional provision in the organic law of the country be used to remedy the situation of under-development and bad governance.
“In the Constitution of Liberia, we the citizens of the country have the power and all we need to do is to exercise that power. We are to take the provision that gives us the right to vote based on the social contract theory,” he averred.
He described the “Vote Your Issue First program as a unique and historic civic education program based on the 1986 Constitution aimed at assisting citizen’s effort to shape a democratic government that responds to their wishes while promoting a transparent and effective governance.
“This program focuses on educating voters about the significance and value of their constitutional rights and responsibilities relative to their votes and mechanisms to create a comprehensive social contract. This includes the ability to prioritize critical issues such as the improvement of governance and healthcare which greatly affects their communities,” Tarnue added.
He also revealed that a democratic governance with priority on the interest of the governed for the past 175 years of existence as a country is impossible due to the lack of the Liberian people’s attention to crafting a well-structured, compressive and articulate social contract.
Tarnue stressed, “Without you, a social contract that should ensure the proper functioning of the government for accountability, transparency and good governance cannot be achieved. The success story of an effective dialogue between you and the government in dealing with critical national issues that are to improve the livelihoods of citizens in the country is almost impossible.”
He then called on all citizens mostly of voting ages, political parties and actors, civil society groups, the government and its foreign partners as well as the international community to join the Vote Your Issues First awareness to deliver and restore birth to the Liberian Constitution.
LACTS Rallies Citizens On ‘Vote Your Issues First’ Initiatives
By S. Siapha Mulbah