By Grace Q. Bryant
The Executive Director for Naymote Partners for Democratic Development, Eddie Jarwolo, has recommended that the Executive Branch invests in training and strengthening the capacity of the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) to reduce the illicit drugs abuse in Liberia
Releasing its 7th Citizens’ Perception Report on the quality of governance in Liberia, Director Jarwolo urged the government to amend the Drug Law so that there are punitive actions for traffickers and as well rehabilitate users/abusers and victims, adding that the LDEA must demonstrate the will to enforce compliance, setup surveillance at the entry points and prosecute violators.
According to the report, the LDEA has declined to 78% of the respondents therefore they lost trust in the system in 2021, as compared to 57% of the respondents in 2019; while the trust in the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) has increases to 92% of the respondents thereby rating the AFL as the most trusted or fairly trusted security institution in Liberia.
Adding that the trust in the Liberia National Police (LNP) has also increased to 71% of the respondents who rated the police as the most trusted or fairly trusted national security institution and Naymote noted that this suggests a sharp increase from 2019 when 56% indicated that they trusted the LNP.
“The findings of the survey also showed that generally, citizens are not happy with the state of the economy and that this is unhealthy for a fragile state like Liberia because a weak economy is a sign of vulnerability, and with a huge unemployed and youthful population, the potential for instability and violent tendency can be high,” he explained.
He maintained that, “This is an exercise conducted to assess citizens’ perception on the quality of governance in Liberia. The institution strongly believes that exercise of this nature, that gauge’s public opinion and present to stakeholders, will help strengthen democratic governance, consolidate peace, and improve public service in Liberia.”
Director Jarwolo further explained that the results are intended to assist national government and other stakeholders to make better decisions about governance in Liberia, and those things citizens are most concerned about.
“This report is based on a survey administered, in July and August 2021, to a sample of 3,220 registered voters (women 56.2% and 43.8% men) in 46 electoral districts (63% of total districts) selected from the 15 counties of this sample, 48.3% of respondents were between the ages of 18 and 35 and that this means that younger people mostly participated in the survey. This trend aligns with the fact that young people constituted a little over 65% of the total number of registered voters in the 2017 elections,” he revealed.
Director Jarwolo noted that on the overall, 78.4% of the respondents think the country is going or somehow going in the wrong direction while 20.5% thinks that the country is going or somehow going in the right direction.
In the 2019 survey findings of similar report, 82% of the respondents said the country was going in the wrong direction which at the time suggests a slight decrease in negative perceptions of the management and governance of the country while 87.3% of the respondents described the current economic conditions in the country as very poor or poor, as compared to 89% who described it as very poor or poor in the 2019 survey report.
“68% of the respondents said they are very satisfied or satisfied with the way democracy is working in the country, while 30% said they are not satisfied; 2% said they don’t know. In the 2019 survey report, 57% of respondents said they were very satisfied and satisfied with the way democracy was working in the country. This suggests a sharp increase in citizens’ level of satisfaction with the quality of democracy in the country,” he added.
Over 72% of respondents described government information sharing with the people as poor or very poor, 26% described government information sharing as very good and good, while 1.1% said they don’t know. 78.3% of respondents described the performance of elected and appointed officials making decisions for the people of Liberia as poor or very poor, 13.5% said fair, 7.1% said good or very good while 1.1% said they don’t know.
He disclosed that the relationship between legislators and their constituents seems to be weak; 79.7% of the respondents described the performance of the lawmakers as poor or very poor, 19.5% described legislators’ performance as very good or good, while 0.8% said they did not know.
Meanwhile, Over 79% of respondents described the quality of services (safe drinking water, health, and education) in their district or town as poor or very poor, 19.9% described quality of services as good or very good while 0.6% said they don’t know.
He said Over 69% of respondents described government performance in handling the fight against COVID-19 pandemic as good or very good, 13.4 described it as fair, 16.5% described it as poor or very poor while 0.9% said they don’t know.