With less than a year to the general and presidential elections of Liberia, ‘The Change Makers Network Project’, is rallying to transform the House of Representatives by transforming its members to see country above self for a better Liberia.
The project is a flagship program of the Grassroots Alternative Movement (GAM), a social justice, political and advocacy organization committed to building a just society in Liberia with the tenets of fair play, equality and justice.
Under its governance pillar, The Project focuses on transforming the House of Representatives as a way of triggering a fundamental change in Liberia. It said too often debate about leadership and transformation have focused on the Executive with the presidency being at the center of everything.
“This is so because the Legislature, which is the first branch of government, has historically undercuts Constitutional powers”, the group stated at its offices in Monrovia, Wednesday, January 11, 2023.
Addressing a major press conference, Oliver Yarbah, head of Secretariat of The Change Makers Project, said unlike the Executive that enforces the laws, the Legislature makes the laws and has oversight responsibilities over government functionaries, adding that GAM strongly believes an approach to changing Liberia is to focus on transforming the Legislature with the House of Representatives being a starting point.
The group proposes that if the majority members of the House of Representatives who practice a culture of bad governance, and hurting Liberia and Liberians as they see in the measure of the high maternal mortality rates, malnutrition, lack of farm to market roads, poor health care system, the national security threats pose by vulnerable youths and overall lower standard of living, are replaced with good people who are servant leaders with integrity, nationalism and who care deeply about the future and national interest of the country above their personal interests, then Liberia will develop and lift people out of poverty.
“If we must change the country, we must change the corrupt minds in the House of Representatives. Therefore, our focus is directed towards the caliber of men and women vying for the legislative seats across the 73 political districts in the impending general and presidential elections. We must choose candidates who have the history of integrity and good leadership and who care deeply about the betterment above their self-interests.
“To this end, the Change Makers Network will endeavor to bring together a group of committed, visionary and patriotic Liberians who have expressed desire to contest and demonstrated through practical actions, to have the needed democratic credentials that fit our standard of governance. This is irrespective of one’s political party, religious background, tribal backgrounds, and gender”, he stated.
According to Mr. Yarbah, the group being cognizant of the fact that it is almost impossible for any individual to successfully inspire the needed change in the House of Representatives as decisions are made by majority, the Chance Makers Network hopes to bring a group of likes- minded aspirants together with a single goal of transforming Liberia.
To achieve this goal, we have designed asset of evaluation criteria by which we are actively vetting respective aspirants. We are contacting those who have passed our evaluation criteria and will be announcing them to the public very soon, he added.
More so, he mentioned that the rationale is to build a block of like-minded legislators accounting vfor simple majority of the total membership of the House of Representatives, who hold themselves accountable to highest level of integrity and transparency and to inspire change through legislative processes by enacting good laws, enchanting rigidity in their oversight over the other branches of government, review contracts and ensure benefits for Liberians, and ensure that the national budget meets the developmental needs of the Liberian people, ect.
He further that to legalize the process the recruited aspirants will sign a binding agreement that focuses on the elements of good governance and punishment for violation, emphasizing that the binding agreement will be available in the public domain.
“The Grassroots Alternative Movement holds the strongest conviction that having ba bloc of legislators that will commit to upholding the rule in every way possible, will not only issue a sobriety check to the Executive and stop it from compounding the country’s problems that have approached a watershed dimension, but will complement the change agenda that actualizes the real Liberian dream.
Yarbah went further to say that this must not be viewed as a task dedicated to a privileged few, but a revolution that requires the collective involvement of all Liberians irrespective of tribe, religion, tradition, education or economic status . It must concern the motor bike and keh-keh riders, taxi, and bus drivers, yana -boys, market women who struggle to make ends meet among others.