Home Politics Fiasco 100-Day Deliverables- Liberians Debate Merits And Demerits of JNB’s Initial Promises

Fiasco 100-Day Deliverables- Liberians Debate Merits And Demerits of JNB’s Initial Promises

by newsmanager

By Our Staff Writer

MONROVIA: One hundred days ago, or thereabout, Unity Party’s Joseph Nyuma Boakai and Movement for Reconstruction and Development (MRD) Party of Jeremiah K. Koung were inaugurated president and vice president of Liberia respectively, having been announced winners of the 14, November, 2023 presidential runoff elections 65 days earlier.

At their own will and pleasure, the Unity Party-MRD Alliance, perhaps using the 65 days of transition to plan and carve what they would do, at least differently from their Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) immediate predecessor, assured implementation of some key national development projects which they said, would have been achieved in the first 100 days after the Boakai-Koung led government.

The Unity Party-led Government, which is in its second ruling epoch, the first being from 2006 to 2017, wrapped the promises into what it calls “100-Day Action Plan,” yet again raising the hopes of the vast majority of ordinary Liberians who have longed not only for better living conditions but also rescue the Liberian Nation from the bottom of the global human development index where it currently finds itself to gravitate towards socio-economic and good governance trajectory.

For over nine weeks of transition, the Unity Party, critics and keen observers said, had enough time in the crafting of its much-heralded 100-day deliverables and to make them as clear and unambiguous or SMART as possible, and to source adequate funding well in advance for their implementation.

The Government opted to raise some US$23 million, though back in February, President Boakai had sought legislative approval for some US$41 million, while scouting for additional funding aimed at the achievement of the deliverables as articulated under the new regime’s plan.

Citizens at home and abroad, having interest in the merits and demerits of the well-publicized short-term development package which was earmarked for execution have been deciphering the Government’s implementation of the plan within the first 100 days of the Boakai-Koung Administration and its impacts, if any, on the living standard of Liberians thus far.

Two maxims have been at play, which some pundits are used to determine how the 100-Day Action Plan will herald what is to come in the next six years under the UP administration.

One of the maxims is: “If the Christmas will be good, you would know from the eve.” The other is wrapped in a famous Kru proverb, which states that: “The Community looks at the legs and the sinews of those legs of the boys destined to catch a cow before determining if they are fit to achieve the daunting task”.

In other words, the successful or unsuccessful implementation of the 100-Day Action Plan will be the prism upon which one will tell the capacity and quality of the governing administration for the rest of the six years. And Liberians have got their eyes opened to see what was done in the last 100 days.

According to Miss Teta Doyen, a mother of three, and a university student, “One of the immediate signs of likely failures of the 100-Day Action Plan” is noticed from the absence of the “Liberia Project Dashboard,” which the government promised to use to track the implementation of promised deliverables.

The absence of the Dashboard reports or any other organized reporting mechanism has left many citizens with the option of reviewing questionable posts on the social media and public relations stunts as a source of information bordering on the state-announced 100 days deliverables

The Liberia Project Dashboard, the crafters of the plan earlier said would be one of the communication and monitoring channels by which the implementation and impacts of the deliverables would be unveiled.

Up to press time, there were no updates on the dashboard.

Besides, there were no other substantive reporting efforts on the 100-Day Action Plan as other communication channels charged with the responsibilities to convey achievements remained virtually un-activated.

Neither the website of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning or the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), contains any reports on the Action Plan.

MICAT’s regular Press Briefings, it appears, were not fully utilized as sectoral heads or representatives of line ministries, agencies and commissions, save a few, did appear at MICAT to tell the Liberian Nation about the achievements of their respective deliverables as regards the Government’s 100-Day Development Action Plan.

Other analysts opined that the glaring absence of clearly defined reporting mechanism seems to have been a deliberate and tactical move on the part of the proponents of the 100-Day Action Plan, since having such a platform could empirically point to colossal failures of the Government in delivering what it had promised.

What’s In the Plan?

The 22-page Action Plan showcases abstract as well as concrete deliverables. It includes “100-Day 20-funded Projects,” about 70 “Routine Interventions” and five “100-Day Interventions by Partners”—making the total of key deliverables 20.

Together, the deliverables had one broad goal and that is to “create immediate reliefs for the population of Liberia by making interventions in critical priority sectors.”

The Plan’s four strategic objectives included to enhance transparency and accountability in governance by implementing robust anti-corruption measures, enforcing the rule of law, strengthening financial oversight, and promoting ethical practices across all sectors to combat corruption effectively; and to improve infrastructural development and accessibility by prioritizing the maintenance of primary road corridors, enhancing sanitation services, upgrading ICT and meteorological equipment.

The other two ‘strategic objectives’ were to increase educational opportunities and combat illicit drugs and substance abuse by implementing immediate interventions to support quality education; and provide support services for at-risk individuals, and support economic development through policy reforms and capacity-building in agriculture, tourism, and commerce.

Mixed Reactions

After hundred days of the Boakai-Koung Administration in state power, several ordinary Liberians are asking: What do we see around the country after the end of the 100 days? Have transparency and accountability been enhanced? Do the people see “robust anti-corruption measures and the enforcement and adherence of the rule of law? Where are the increased educational opportunities? What is the status of substance abuse, or simply put, has the use of “Kush” been minimized? Are there feedbacks from agricultural projects, tourism and commerce?

Others are asking: “Did the Unity Party led government do its best to understand the prevailing national circumstances, or has all the plethora of sugarcoated promises ended in “vlah” or nothingness?

Even before the Plan hits its 100th day, Liberians were already divided on their perspectives, not only about what it achieved, but also how the people feel about the impacts of said deliverables, if any.

True be told, the impacts of most of the 95 key deliverables are abstract, meaning there is no way ordinary Liberians can feel the impact at least immediately.

Ordinary Liberians are particularly of the view that in the absence of organized reporting mechanisms, they, for example, have no means of knowing whether or not the Ministry of Mines and Energy ever initiated “a review of mineral and mining law, mineral policy, and National Energy Policy or whether or not the Liberia Revenue Authority has completed the “National Strategic Framework for the Monitoring and Evaluation of Tax” and what their respective impacts are.

But, most Liberians, including sections of the local media, have found it easier in measuring the achievements and impacts of concrete social service interventions, such as deliverables on electricity and water, road, status of the war against the killer drugs: ‘kush’, prices of essential commodity and exchange rate stability, amongst others.

It is based on those concrete, verifiable deliverables that mixed reactions amongst Liberians have been flared – citizens voicing their perspectives on the merits and demerits of the implementation and achievements of the Plan.

Some have favorable grades for President Boakai and the Government while others have excruciatingly low grades.

The Encompassing Debate

THE ‘INVESTIGATIVE’ INDEPENDENT has been monitoring the deliverable implementation process since it was announced by President Boakai, using its own reportorial skills and unique tools, which included following social media pages, website sites of government ministries and agencies, radio talks shows and roving interviews with ordinary citizens, civil society and pro-democracy activists, religious leaders, and politicians, among others.

Infrastructure—Social Services: roads, electricity, water, health: 20%

None of those platforms and channels supplied feedbacks more succinct and encompassing of all other views expressed from both the ‘Blue and Green parties’ as well as independent minds than local communities ‘atayee shops daily debates,’ one of which our roving reporters bumped into along the Johnsonville-Mount Barclay Highway.

The two, all males and middle-aged debaters, represented diametrically opposing assessments and perspectives, as reflected in their grades for each of the sectors amongst which the deliverables were apportioned.

J. Matthew Kattercut and Aliu K. Kamara, Jr. were the lead speakers with one or two supporters faced a relatively large audience that, according to residents, was attracted by days of publicity and public awareness campaigns.

As reporter Timothy Dweh was taking his seat, having set up his gadgets, the Kattercut-headed pro-regime group, was already concluding their position.

“From all indications, the UP government deserved an overall “B” Score for such a great work done in so short a time and amid the chaos and mess left behind by its predecessor, the CDC government,” Kattercut said, nearly dancing in gesticulations.

“As we indicated, the infrastructure sector is there to be verified if anyone wants to,” he continued. “The internet is flooded with accounts of ‘citizen journalists’ commentating progress as achieved across the country. Roads left unattended for the last decade, however laterite they have been, are once again getting solid facelift and our people are commuting safely and smoothly from Nimba to Zwedru, from Brewerville to Bopulu, from River Cess to Greenville, from Fish Town to Barclayville, and the list is long. Give JNB 90 percent for the infrastructure sector.”

“Tell the world that our hospitals are getting supplies regularly again. Mo Ali is spreading safe drinking water from Monrovia to Kakata. Tell the world we have electricity which was left in tatters is now recovering to stability.”

The opposing debaters, headed by Aliu K. Kamara, objected and requested cogent and uncontested evidence. “Anyone can get a laterite road under renovation from the internet and post it,” he retorted.

“The Unity Party has failed woefully in social services infrastructure, posting fake photos. By this time in 2018, paved roads were completed: Clara Town, Doe Community, Bishop Francis Road, Dwann Town in Bardnersville.

President Boakai and his followers must now apologize to Liberians for lying that no vehicle will be struck in the mud in the first 100 days. Here are the pieces of evidence. The Southeastern and Rural Western Regions are currently no-go areas.”

Kamara continued: “You must feel ashamed to mention electricity. Where is it? The Boakai-UP administration, for the most part of the 100 days, kept Liberians in a ‘furnace,’ unable to provide even 10 percent of the pre-inauguration electricity reliably.

Everywhere in the country, particularly in the Capital, Monrovia, Liberians are fainting from heat, electricity is a huge luxury, making it one of the greatest failures of any Liberian leader in history.

“See the other huge deception: ‘upgrading ICT and meteorological equipment’. Liberians have to listen to foreign governments to know our climatic status. With the heat waves searing the population, storms nearly killing people, blowing up homes and businesses, what do you refer to as upgrading ICT and meteorological equipment? All this is just big bluff, if not a plan to enrich hungry newcomers in government.”

By the time the debaters ended their respective presentations, the judges based on attendees’ vote, awarded social infrastructure sector in the 100-Day Action Plan- 20%.

Rule of Law: Ethnical Practices, Justice, Corruption: 35%

The debaters once again differed on what was achieved during the first 100 days of the Boakai-Koung administration. Kattercut and his folks, like other Liberians supporting the administration, thought the Government has conducted itself maturely relative to ethical practices and the fight against systemic and unbridled corruption and injustice.

“Tell me which Liberian leader, since the end of the civil war has pushed war crimes court to its near logical conclusion; who has pulled the bull by the horns? Which Liberian leader accelerated access recovery crusade than JNB? Who laid hands in real time on culprits? Who has submitted to legal challenges and gladly acknowledged the verdict of the high court of this country? Only JNB has done so. So far, particularly during the first 100 days, we have seen the first political administration fighting corruption, suspending corrupt bureaucrats here and there and allowing the other branches of government work without using intimidation tactics and bullying. The government deserves a pat on the back. I think they have gotten 90 per cent.”

Swiftly and calmly, the Kamara-headed debaters retorted, calling the Boakai administration “the most mischievous and hypocritical governing elites in history.

“Has Boakai provided sources of his private donations since he took over the Nation’s Presidency, including the huge donation which he made to Bong County tanker fire victims? Has he published his so-called disclosed assets and what is his worth, considering the fact that he served for 12th unbroken years as Vice President, served as Minister of Agriculture, Managing Director of Liberia Produce Marketing Company (LPMC), and now President of the Republic Liberia? How many of his appointees have declared their assets and have Liberians sincerely verified these declarations? Why were they reportedly hiding over US$50 million within the 2024 National Budget until the House of Representatives had to uncovered it? Why have they shut down the Fiscal Outturn Report menu on the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning website?

“If Mr. Boakai and his government believes in the rule of law, why are they side-stepping the Apex Court ruling on presidential appointments to tenure positions in government—in one breath welcoming the ruling but in the same breath, labelling it as bogus charges against the affected officials and, in effect, sacking them and replacing them with his surrogates? The fact of the matter is that: The President and his lieutenants are apparently allergic to the rule of law; and appear to be vindictive, and carry all the attributes of dictatorship—anti-rule of law.

“You spoke of assets recovery campaign and war and economic crimes court. How far are they now? Since the government got bloody nose from supposed culprits, and the court system of our country growled at the President, do we hear about asset recovery? Does this Unity Party led government which acts of corruption were labelled by its first leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as “Vampires” and “Public Enemy Number One” have the moral standing to recover assets without going bias and selective? This is one main reason they cannot proceed after all the noise and media stunts they started with.

Some folks in this government, the ‘economic vampires,’ have come back to loot and pillage and send the vast majority of the ordinary citizens deep into abject poverty and misery. That’s the mission. The failure in the 100 days is a wakeup message for the next six years.”

Following the arguments and counterarguments, a unanimous vote of attendees, gave the Boakai government’s first 100 days performance regarding rule of law, corruption and justice a 35% mark.

Agriculture, Tourism, and Commerce: 15%

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