Liberia : Document de stratégie pays 2013-2017
Groupe de la Banque africaine de développement
Évolution de la situation politique
Depuis la signature de l’Accord de paix global d’Accra en 2003, mettant un terme à la guerre civile qui a ravagé le pays pendant 14 ans, le Liberia a organisé deux élections libres et démocratiques, en 2005 et 2011. La Présidente Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf a été élue pour un deuxième mandat de six ans, à l’issue des deux tours des élections présidentielles d’octobre et novembre 2011, mais l’opposition a boycotté le deuxième tour et le parti présidentiel est minoritaire au parlement. Les violences ayant marqué le deuxième tour des élections ont mis en évidence la fragilité continue des progrès impressionnants réalisés par le Liberia depuis 2006 dans les domaines des droits politiques, des libertés civiques et de la liberté de la presse. En effet, au cours de cette période, le Liberia a amélioré son rang au classement des pays africains au titre de l’indicateur « participation et droits humains » de l’Indice Mo Ibrahim, passant du 30e rang sur 52 pays en 2006 au 22e rang en 2012.
La méfiance mutuelle entre les principaux acteurs et institutions politiques continue d’entraver l’efficacité de la gouvernance politique. Les notes attribuées au Liberia sont supérieures à la moyenne africaine pour ce qui est de la voix citoyenne et de la responsabilité et de la stabilité politique , mais il reste encore beaucoup à faire pour ce qui est de l’état de droit.
Le gouvernement fait face à des pressions montantes pour répondre aux attentes de création d’emplois, d’éradication de la corruption et d’amélioration de la prestation de services. Il faudra procéder à une décentralisation plus poussée pour reléguer aux oubliettes la centralisation habituelle des pouvoirs et de la prise de décisions et éviter la marginalisation d’importantes franges de la population. Une politique de décentralisation a été approuvée en 2012, mais le processus nécessitera l’introduction de changements dans la constitution du pays et sera entravé par l’état des infrastructures et les faibles capacités au niveau local. Il est encore nécessaire de déployer des efforts pour réaliser les objectifs de consolidation de la paix et d’édification de l’État, afin de promouvoir la confiance et l’ouverture entre les acteurs sociaux et politiques, tout en faisant preuve de transparence dans les programmes et les intentions. Vers la fin de 2012, une feuille de route pour la vérité et la réconciliation a été lancée, et un comité chargé de la révision de la constitution a été créé pour déterminer les domaines de conflit et proposer des amendements en vue de s’attaquer à l’exclusion sur le plan politique, reconnue comme un facteur clé de fragilité au Liberia.
Rapport-pays du Liberia
Parlement de la CEDEAO 2016
Au mois de mai de cette année, Global Witness (une organisation de surveillance internationale) a publié un rapport dans lequel elle prétend qu’une compagnie basée à Londres, Stable Mining, a versé des pots-de-vin à des hauts responsables du gouvernement, une somme estimée à un million de dollars américains, pour que nos lois sur les passations de marchés soient modifiées à son avantage et lui permettent d’obtenir l’une de nos réserves de minerai de fer. Le Président de la Chambre des Représentants, J. Alex Tyler Senior ; et un membre influant du Sénat libérien, le Conseiller Varney G. Sherman, qui était également le Président du parti au pouvoir, avaient été cités comme deux des personnes visées par les allégations de Global Witness.
Le gouvernement, déterminé à faire face à la menace de la corruption, a mis sur pied un Groupe de travail présidentiel spécial visant à déterminer la culpabilité ou non des personnes accusées. Après des semaines d’enquête, le Groupe de travail présidentiel spécial a inculpé le Président de la Chambre des Représentants et d’autres personnes qui feront l’objet de poursuites. Suite à l’acte d’accusation, les membres de la majorité de la Chambre des Représentants ont estimé que la mise en accusation de leur Président portait gravement atteinte à l’intégrité de l’Honorable Chambre et ont donc demandé qu’il soit démis de ses fonctions en tant que Président en attendant la décision du tribunal qui dira s’il est innocent ou non.
Après des mois d’altercation et de perturbations des activités parlementaires normales au sein de la Chambre des Représentants, le Président a été contraint à renoncer au perchoir au début du mois de septembre. Pour l’heure, le principal évènement politique le plus proche est la tenue des élections générales au Liberia (présidentielles et législatives) prévues en octobre 2017. Le processus a déjà démarré dans la mesure où la Commission électorale nationale a annoncé l’inscription officielle de vingtdeux (22) partis politiques.
La Commission électorale nationale (NEC) est en train de travailler avec un acteur national et des acteurs internationaux afin d’assurer des élections indépendantes et crédibles. La NEC et d’autres partis politiques inscrits ont mis en place un Comité consultatif interpartis, un cadre qui permet de régler les différends et d’encourager le dialogue.
En outre, la NEC a publié le calendrier des activités qu’elle compte mener jusqu’à la tenue des élections générales. Il s’agit entre autres de :
✓ L’accréditation des organisations de la société civile et des organisations communautaires ;
✓ La publication de la réglementation des listes électorales ;
✓ La consultation régionale sur l’éducation civique des électeurs pour les inscriptions ;
✓ L’accréditation des représentants de partis, des media et des observateurs pour le processus d’inscription des électeurs ;
✓ La publication de la liste des centres d’inscription des électeurs ; ✓ Le lancement officiel de l’éducation civique des électeurs pour les inscriptions ;
✓ La période d’inscription des électeurs ;
✓ L’éduction civique des électeurs pour les démonstrations ;
✓ La promulgation des décrets de tenue des élections ;
✓ L’accréditation des représentants de partis, des media et des observateurs pour les élections ;
✓ Les objections et les appels sur les démonstrations ;
✓ L’affichage des listes d’électeurs provisoires & la distribution des cartes d’électeurs ;
✓ La divulgation du nombre final d’inscrits sur les listes d’électeurs ;
✓ Les objectifs et les appels sur la désignation des candidats ;
✓ La désignation des candidats ;
✓ Lancement des campagnes d’éducation civique des électeurs pour les élections de 2017 ;
✓ La publication de la liste préliminaire des candidats ;
✓ La période de campagne électorale pour les présidentielles et les législatives ;
✓ La publication de la liste finale des candidats ;
✓ La période des débats entre les candidats ;
✓ Le jour du scrutin ;
✓ La proclamation des résultats définitifs des élections
Partnering for sustainable peace in Liberia
Amanda Lucey and Liezelle Kumalo, Institute for Security Studies, Center on International Cooperation, Peace Research Institute Oslo
Practical implementation of Liberia’s peacebuilding priorities
Elections As noted in the SMC, the 2017 elections are a priority focus area for Liberia’s peacebuilding process. On 1 July 2016 UNMIL handed security responsibilities to the Liberian National Police (LNP),44 although figures are still lower than what has been promised (5 101 rather than 8 000 personnel, and only 950 women). A total of 1.9 million people are expected to vote during the elections with 22 political parties contesting the elections, which poses a challenge to security. The government has taken a number of precautions to ensure the elections are successful. It has committed to preparing a realistic budget for elections, increasing the representation of women, implementing a broad campaign of civic education and voter education, ensuring dialogues between security forces and the population at community level, ensuring the proper training of security forces and establishing a code of conduct between presidential candidates.
However, the institutional capacity of the National Elections Commission (NEC) is weak. This research has found that more needs to be done. According to the stakeholders interviewed, elections are personality driven and the majority of the political leaders have not spent enough time reflecting on party manifestos or policy development. There are also discussions on whether there should be a limit on the number of political parties allowed to run. However, while creating more stringent criteria for political parties may ensure that they are more committed, given Liberia’s history of exclusion this may present further problems.
Furthermore, antagonism between politicians has led to violent clashes between supporters in Monrovia. There are concerns that the elections may create safety and security issues, which will stretch the capacity of the police. During the interviews, many of the participants agreed that the first round of elections will likely not yield a clear winner and that this will lead to a second round of elections. Previous elections in Liberia have proven that this can be problematic, even when allegations of fraud are unfounded. In the 2017 elections it is likely that political parties will again be forced to reach a compromise with one another, and this may have implications for developing an overarching vision for the country.
The media can also increase antagonism among the supporters of candidates and requires training. Although the elections are a priority for both the government of Liberia and external peacebuilding actors engaging in the country, there is no overarching strategy to ensure they run smoothly. Three main issues need to be addressed: the development of political parties’ vision and strategy, voter education and the positive use of the media as a force for peace. In addition, some actors are only now beginning to work out how they should support Liberia’s elections, aside from election monitoring.
The main supporting actor for the elections is the UNDP, which is strengthening the capacity of the NEC to ensure it conforms to international standards.54 The UNDP and the NEC have jointly developed the National Civic and Voter Education Toolkit of Liberia to standardise and regulate voter education. However, it must be rolled out at a much more rapid pace than at present. In addition, research showed that an election strategy must go beyond voter education to address the capacity building of political parties. It is also important that citizens begin to question political parties on their ambitions for the future. Frank national dialogues throughout the counties are urgently needed in order for citizens to make informed decisions on voting, allowing them to hold the government accountable to its promises.
State of Peace, Reconciliation and Conflict in Liberia
Catholic Relief Services
Liberians enjoy access to basic democratic freedoms, but fear that unchecked abuses will jeopardize peace: Although there is broad consensus (78%) that citizens enjoy basic civil freedoms (speech, association and electoral franchise), respondents fear that these rights are fragile and easily abrogated. Many interviewees expressed misgivings about the lack of civility in the media, about inflammatory rhetoric in public spaces, and the perceived willingness of politicians to curtail freedoms based on such pretexts. Similarly, they believed that judicial corruption, overreach and disregard for laws were creating an atmosphere of permissiveness where public officials no longer felt bound by the constitution or obliged to listen to citizens. Many Liberians (50%) do not believe that state actors, the legal system and public institutions are making strong positive contributions to maintaining the peace.
Concerns linger over democratic participation, political inclusion and elections:
Political exclusion along ethnic lines was a root cause of the civil war. Most respondents (72.7%) thought that it was possible for a member from any ethnic group to become President of Liberia. This is an important departure from the days when only Americo Liberians could ascend to political power. Despite such perceptions, Liberians still feel that Americo-Liberians control the levers of power, and that political parties do not provide meaningful vehicles for public participation. Approximately half of all respondents cast their votes based on the ethnic origins and the personality of the candidate, most pronounced in Maryland (93%), River Gee (90%), Margibi (71%), and Grand Gedeh (60%). Sixty per cent of respondents believed that elections in Liberia were not transparent, free or fair. This sentiment was more pronounced in Nimba and River Gee (80%), Grand Gedeh (76%), and in River Cess (72.4%).
Liberia – Politics
Liberia suffered from an extended and far-reaching period of violent state collapse between 1990 and 2005. Liberia is a centralized republic dominated by a strong presidency. One phase of the civil war ended in 1996 with the Abuja Accords. Presidential and legislative general elections were held on July 19, 1997, and were scheduled to be held next in 2003. President Charles Taylor won the presidency in elections that were administratively free and transparent, but conducted in an atmosphere of intimidation. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf ran against Charles Taylor in 1997, but lost, at least partly due to the impression that Taylor would return to war if he failed to win the election. The ruling party was the National arty (NPP) and there were 16 opposition parties, most of them weak and ineffectual. The NPP controlled a majority of the seats in the legislature, i.e., 21 of 26 in the Senate and 59 of 64 in the House.
The 2003 Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) called for a National Transition Government of Liberia (NTGL) with large representation by the major armed factions. The resulting authority was pre-occupied with com-peting for positions from which they could extract resources and patronage. The 2005 elections (for President, Vice President, and all 30 Senate and 64 House seats) represented a critical opportunity for Liberia to move from a failed state into the early first stages of recovery, peacebuilding and democratization.
The elections took place in a context of considerable uncertainty with a new and untested National Elections Commission, an array of weak and personalized political parties and widespread fears about security. Former international soccer star George Weah captured the imagination of many inside and outside of Liberia, who felt that his connection with Liberia’s youth made him an almost inevitable winner, despite his lack of education and political experience.
Despite the difficulties, successful elections were held and in the run-off election between the two, Mrs. Sirleaf employed modern campaign techniques, including polling, message development and targeted campaigning to achieve a stunning victory. Her connection with the female voters may have not only made the difference in her election, but also may pave the way for other female candidates throughout Africa. The Harvard University-educated Sirleaf twice served as finance minister. She also held key jobs at the United Nations and the World Bank.
The newly elected government took office on 16 January 2006, with Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was sworn in as the first elected female President in the history of independent Africa Following the election, Mrs. Sirleaf spent a great deal of time outside of Liberia, and many observers felt her gender and her supposed lack of common touch would prevent her from being elected President.
As members of the NGTL were excluded from running in these elections, the playing field was considered relatively level and no one party gained a majority in the National Legisla-ture. The new Legislature was a mosaic of different actors, including some from previous govern-ments, and others with limited formal education or with ties to former warring factions. The new government has been working since its inauguration, but many issues remain to be addressed. A UNMIL/GOL assessment characterized Liberia as “fragile” and identified some of the serious threats to its stability as insecurity, lack of rule of law, unemployment among youth (in-cluding groups of ex-combatants), pervasive ethnic tensions, land disputes and the need for better governance and economic development.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission signed the unedited version of its final report on 30 June 2009, as required by the act establishing the TRC. The report examines the reasons for the war, going back as far as the establishment of Liberia as a state and the society that existed until the 1980s. The 370-page report included several recommendations. The commission recommended prosecution for 98 of the “most notorious” perpetrators, disbarment from public office for 52 supporters of factions, reconciliation activities at the national and local levels, and reparations, as required by the TRC Act of 2003.
Of note are some glaring omissions, such as Taylor supporters John T. Richardson and Oscar Cooper among others. As well, the fact that Joshua Milton Blayee (aka “General Butt Naked” known for eating human flesh) and LURD commander Joe Wylie were not recommended for prosecution on the grounds they had shown sufficient remorse, raised questions, given the level of atrocities they perpetrated. While it was expected that President Sirleaf would be mentioned in the report, that the TRC would recommend that she be banned from politics came as a surprise.
The release of the report has opened wounds in Liberian society that were closed but apparently not healed. The report reflects the split in Liberian society between those who desire restorative justice and those who seek reconciliation. During the TRC process there were reconciliation ceremonies held in all of the counties where the commission held hearings, but this tone of reconciliation is largely absent in the final report.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced her intention to run for re-election in 2011 at the conclusion of her 25 January 2010 annual message to the National Legislature. The announcement comes despite Sirleaf’s promise during the 2005 electoral campaign not to seek a second term. Her high-profile announcement is a direct challenge to the recommendations of the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission that she be banned from politics for thirty years and proof that she sees herself as the people’s candidate.
The Johnson Sirleaf government won substantial donor support for its new poverty reduction strategy at the June 2008 Liberia Poverty Reduction Forum in Berlin, Germany. In order to maintain stability through the post-conflict period, Liberia’s security sector reform efforts have led to the disarmament of more than 100,000 ex-combatants, the wholesale U.S.-led reconstruction of the Armed Forces of Liberia, and a UN-led effort to overhaul the Liberian National Police. The mandate of UNMIL was extended in September 2011 to September 2012. Within UNMIL’s mandate is a Peacebuilding Commission focusing on promoting rule of law, security sector reform, and national reconciliation. However, the Government of Liberia has continued to avoid taking action on freezing assets of former President Charles Taylor and his supporters, as mandated by the UN Security Council.
Liberia’s executive and legislative branches brokered a compromise regarding the constitutional requirement for application of redistricting results (from the 2008 census) in preparation for 2011’s presidential and legislative elections. In February, the National Elections Commission (NEC) completed voter registration (82% of the electorate) for those elections. As a necessary prelude, the NEC prepared a constitutional referendum for August 23, 2011 on individually-packaged amendments to: shorten the residency requirement from 10 to 5 years for presidential and vice-presidential candidates, increase the mandatory retirement age of Supreme Court justices from 70 to 75, move the date of national elections from the second Tuesday in October to the second Tuesday in November, and use a single-round, first-past-the-post (simple majority) method for all legislative and municipal elections while maintaining the two-round system for presidential elections. Approval by two-thirds of registered voters was required for ratification.
The choice of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as one of three Nobel Peace Prize winners this year is already sparking controversy. Sirleaf said she was humbled by the award and called it an achievement for the Liberian people. But skeptics questioned whether the Norwegian-based Nobel Committee is interfering with Liberia’s domestic politics, choosing Sirleaf less than a week before she stood for reelection. Her main rival Winston Tubman said Sirleaf did not deserve the award. She had come under criticism from political rivals for her ties to former rebel leader President Charles Taylor. Critics also accused her of failing to live up to her promises of reconciling Liberia’s many factions, pursuing justice for war crimes victims and tackling corruption.
The October 11, 2011 presidential and legislative elections and the subsequent November 8, 2011 presidential run-off were declared free, fair, and transparent by ECOWAS, the African Union, the Carter Center, and other observers. The Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) alleged fraud in the first round and boycotted the run-off election. President Johnson Sirleaf defeated Winston Tubman of the CDC by 90.7% to 9.3% in the run-off to win re-election. She was inaugurated on January 16, 2012.
Widely credited with building roads and improving infrastructure during her first term, Sirleaf’s efforts to reconcile Liberia’s deep divisions have been less successful. Emphasizing national unity as a second-term priority, she welcomed her opponent in last year’s vote, former justice minister Winston Tubman, who sat in the first row of the audience on the capitol grounds January 15, 2012, as Sirleaf took the oath of office for a second term.
Originally slated for 14 October 2014, Liberia’s special senatorial elections were moved to 20 December 2014 due to the Ebola outbreak. Amid this public health crisis, Liberians will head to the polls to elect half of the country’s 30-member Senate. With the State of Emergency imposed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf expiring in November, the conduct of this election will be an important marker of the progress made in the fight against Ebola.
All officials appointed by the president and who are desirous of seeking an elected office must resign their appointed positions two years prior to the date in which they will be seeking an elected office. Liberian Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan resigned 05 October 2015 , saying he wants to be an active player in the coming 2017 presidential and general elections. He served the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf government for 10 unbroken years in various capacities: as finance minister, director of the Bureau of the Budget and foreign minister.
Liberia’s Vice President Joseph Boakai said November 04, 2015 he’s running to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the 2017 presidential election. He said he would run on the Sirleaf government’s record, which he said includes 10 years of unbroken peace, infrastructure development and freedom of the press. Boakai brushed off criticisms by some who say the Sirleaf government, in power now for 10 years, has failed to deliver basic infrastructures such as dependable electricity and running water.
A consortium of political parties and civil society groups rallied in March 2016 month to urge an extension of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Liberia (UNMIL) after its mandate ends in June. The groups said they don’t trust the Liberian security during the 2017 election. An official for Liberia’s main opposition party, the Congress for Democratic Change, told VOA it wants UNMIL’s continued presence to safeguard “democratic governance and free and fair elections in 2017.”
A dozen political parties in Liberia joined forces to take on the ruling Liberty Party in the 2017 presidential election. Senator Prince Johnson told VOA Daybreak Africa 19 September 2016 that “We want continue our peace that we celebrated some time ago. We do not want to see violence. So we all met to discuss the issue how to collaborate and move our country forward. The Constitution bars President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from seeking a third term, but her vice president — Joseph Boakai — was expected to run.
The Congress for Democratic Change, the National Patriotic Party and the Liberia People Democratic Party signed an agreement in November 2016 to work together for the 2017 election. According to an agreement, the Congress for Democratic Change, is supposed to produce the standard bearer and the standard bearer will have to pick his vice vice president standard bearer who will not come from the Congress for Democratic Change.
Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf urged peaceful elections as candidates begin campaigning to replace the Nobel Peace Prize winner who has led the West African country through the Ebola crisis and recovery from civil war. Among those running in the 10 October 2017 election are her vice president and two of the men she faced during Liberia’s last vote in 2011. Among the top candidates is her vice president, 72-year-old Joseph Nyumah Boakai, who has been endorsed by Sirleaf and appears to be profiting from a divided opposition.
Former soccer star George Weah, a current senator who ran as vice president on the 2011 ticket that lost to Sirleaf, also is mounting a bid. It is his second attempt at the presidency after losing in 2005. His running mate is Jewel Taylor, a fellow senator and the ex-wife of former President Charles Taylor. The former Liberian leader was convicted of crimes against humanity for his role in the violence in neighboring Sierra Leone.
Another repeat candidate is Prince Johnson, a one-time rebel leader who has long been involved in politics. Human rights activist MacDella Cooper is the lone female presidential candidate. She has said that as president she would reduce her salary to $1 a year.
BTI 2016 | Liberia Country Report
Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI) 2016
A monopoly on the use of force has been established in principle. However, the state’s ability to exercise that monopoly remains questionable as it continues to rely heavily on the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for support in guaranteeing security throughout the country.
UNMIL continues its drawdown. It plans to reduce the number of troops by more than 50% to 3,750 in 2015. This residual force will be deployed in border areas and in Monrovia. While the Ebola crisis led the mission to hasten its withdrawal, it is unlikely that additional forces will be withdrawn in the face of serious security threats within the region.
However, in recognition of the capacity constraints of the Liberian National Police (LNP), the U.N. Secretary-General recommended that the police component remain at strength and even be reinforced during the drawdown period. Resolution 2066 of 2012 increased the mission’s police component from seven to 10 police units. The mission’s 1,795 police officers and 498 police advisors provide assistance not only
in terms of building up the capacity of the Liberia National Police (LNP), but also in assisting all major police operations. The Johnson-Sirleaf administration continues to face serious difficulties concerning the capacity of its justice and security sectors to arrest, detain and adjudicate criminals. It has come under fire for not taking over security responsibilities from the UN.
Capacity development remains slow in both the justice and police sectors, as the LNP continues to rely on UNMIL for operational support while the justice and correctional institutions continue to grapple with capacity, infrastructure and equipment deficits.
General rights of full citizenship, which is granted exclusively to those of black African descent and includes, for example, the right to own real estate, are not disputed, and the constitution of 1986, which is still valid, is generally accepted. There are discussions from time to time concerning the national status of the Lebanese and some of the Mandingo population, which is mainly of Guinean origin. The Mandingoes’ association with several of the rebel groups that have fought in Liberia during the on–off civil war partly explains why they have often been marginalized. Moreover, as a minority, Mandingoes are considered by many Liberians to be strangers or non-Liberians. The Mandingo population therefore relies on alliances with those actors currently in charge of state affairs to protect their rights
As stipulated by the (still valid) Liberian constitution of 1986, the principle of the separation of religion and state is generally adhered to. Religious groups exert a very limited influence over policy matters. This fact notwithstanding, Liberia identifies itself as a Christian nation, and the Muslim population regularly strives to enhance the public presence of Islam. There have been religious overtones to the war and armed conflicts of the past decades. Political entrepreneurs vying for power often exploit popular sentiments and politicize religion to serve their personal interests.
Since religious affiliation and ethnicity is closely linked, ethnic tensions persist, most prominently between returning Mandingo, many of whom are Muslim, and Dan (Gio) and Mano in Nimba, as well as between Mandingo and Lorma in Lofa and Bong counties. Furthermore, ethnic conflict between the Krahn and Dan communities persists in the north.
The restructuring of Liberia’s political institutions began in 2006. Following institutional and personnel audits to determine technical competency, the number of civil servants within all ministries was drastically reduced. Efforts were made to enhance the visibility of public officials as well as to strengthen coordination and monitoring structures throughout the country, particularly at county level. This process is ongoing. However, progress has been understandably slow given the financial and capacity constraints, despite the substantial assistance received from, among others, United Nations organizations, the United States, the European Union and EU member states.
The Agenda for Transformation, Liberia’s five-year development plan for 2012– 2017 (PRSP II), which is supported by all major donors. The plan outlines several administrative reforms and basic physical infrastructure projects as key targets. There are five strategic pillars to the plan, namely: peace, justice, security and rule of law;
economic transformation (e.g., private sector development, infrastructure, mineral development and management); human development (particularly with respect to health and education outcomes); governance and public institutions (e.g., economic governance, modernizing the public sector, and promoting transparency and Basic administration accountability); and social development (e.g., youth skills, child protection, gender equality and human rights).
In terms of the efficacy of state institutions, the state’s authority remains limited in rural areas. This is due to the lack of well-trained officials, low incentives and limited physical infrastructure. There have been few improvements since the last BTI report. According to UNICEF’s latest available estimates, access to improved sanitation facilities remains low at 17% in 2012. Access to safe drinking water remains a challenge, with 25% of the population yet to gain access (2% more have gained access since the last BTI Report).
Initial measures toward decentralization are underway – for instance, County Development Funds for local development initiatives have been established. However, since 2010, the government has frozen the initiative due to severe mismanagement of these funds. The traditional gap between a centralized government and the constituencies in the hinterland still exists.
In October 2011, Liberia held its second presidential and legislative elections in line with its constitutional provisions since the end of the civil war. As with the 2005 nationwide elections, this round was deemed to be broadly free and fair by most observers, providing for universal suffrage under a secret ballot thanks to continued international support for the process. The United Nations Mission in Liberia once again provided the bulk of technical and financial support as well as security.
While an absolute majority was required to win in both the legislative and presidential elections in 2005, the winners of the 2011 legislative election were determined by a simple majority following an amendment to Article 83 (b) of the Liberian constitution of 1986. The presidential elections are still determined by the principle of an absolute majority, providing for a second run-off should no candidate obtain more than 50% of the votes cast in the first round of elections. As mentioned in the previous BTI country reports, Liberia’s political party landscape appeared to be maturing as many parties formed coalitions in the run-up to the 2011 elections.
The incumbent president, Johnson-Sirleaf, won a controversial run-off on 8 November 2011 with just over 90% of the total vote against Winston Tubman’s 9.3%. The Coalition for Democratic Change’s (CDC) candidate, Tubman, boycotted the second round, alleging fraud and falsification of results.
Election observers, however, concluded that the first round was well-run, and that the irregularities identified were not sufficient to affect the results. Nevertheless, Tubman and his running partner, George Weah, withdrew from the race four days before the run-off, despite calls from international and regional actors, such as the AU and ECOWAS to reconsider their decision.
Senate elections were held on 20 December 2014, after being delayed twice as a result of the Ebola crisis. Candidates contested one of the two Senate seats in each of the country’s 15 counties. In total, 15 out of 30 total seats were contested, with only two of the 12 senators that stood for re-election winning their seat back. Among the winners was former presidential candidate and popular soccer star, George Weah, who defeated President Johnson-Sirleaf’s son Robert Sirleaf by winning 78% of the vote. The leader of the largest opposition party, the CDC, is expected to run for a third time in the 2017 presidential election.
Little has changed since the last BTI report, and the government’s power to govern generally remains intact. However, the Liberian government’s limited power has been further reduced by the Ebola crisis. The continued presence of the international peacekeeping force, which holds potential veto players at bay – particularly former warlords and influential businessmen – continues to have a significant impact on the current government’s ability to govern effectively. The constitution, which bestows extensive powers on the president, remains unchanged. Whether the state- and nationbuilding efforts become an enduring success story depends heavily on the personal dedication and ability of the current incumbent, Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf, and her circle of management experts and technocrats, to reach out beyond the ranks of the political administration.
While Article 17 of the current constitution guarantees that all persons have the right to assemble “in an orderly and peaceable manner,” some law enforcement agents continue to exercise excessive force when dispersing demonstrations or detaining persons suspected of organizing public demonstrations. While this is not part of a government directive to prevent citizens from exercising their rights to association and assembly, it does point to the difficulties faced in reforming members of a police force who had committed gross atrocities in the past, many of whom were complicit in crimes and regularly violate the rights of civilians. Notwithstanding this challenge, a number of organizations operate in the country, including political parties, voluntary associations, economic interest groups, religious organizations and churches, human rights groups and others.
Stability of Democratic Institutions
By and large, democratic institutions perform their functions. There appears to have been a further upward trend in the rehabilitation of state institutions as well as the implementation of democratic procedures and mechanisms in the period under review in line with the prioritization of the reform of key governance institutions by the president upon assuming office in 2006. While the government and donor community have collaboratively supported a number of institutional reform initiatives – such as those within the justice sector– capacity deficits as well as poor management and governance continue to hamper progress.
The legislature is a case in point. Several capacity-building measures have been implemented since 2006, yet lawmakers still lack the resources and capacity to fulfill their responsibilities of oversight and representation. Following the 2011 elections, only a third of incumbents of the 73-member House of Representatives were reelected. As with the Senate elections in 2011, the fact that most incumbents were not Performance of democratic institutions re-elected poses a challenge in terms of institutional memory. In both 2011 and 2015, only two of the 15 Senate seats were won by incumbents. This creates a new set of legislators, mostly inexperienced, with limited knowledge and capacity to fulfill their oversight responsibilities.
Justice sector reform has proven difficult given the nature of Liberia’s justice system. Tainted by a culture of impunity and a lack of impartiality due to the past misuse of the justice system by powerful individuals, the justice sector has required comprehensive reform that incorporates the prisons, the formal justice sector as well as the state-sponsored customary law. The training efforts currently underway at the Judicial Training Institute constitute a progressive, but as yet untested effort towards rehabilitating the judicial system.
The executive branch continues to dominate the political sphere and all hope is vested in the president to effectively alter the postwar and post-transitional economic situation with external support. The success of these efforts remains the most important factor in realizing a democratic process at a national level and in gaining the support of democratic institutions and procedures by all relevant actors. Since the successful staging of the first postwar democratic elections in 2005, there has been no vocal opposition from any relevant actors toward democratic institutions and procedures.
The standard bearers of the parties founded by former military or warlord-like leaders (e.g., Doe, Taylor) won only single-digit numbers of seats in parliament. It must be borne in mind, however, that nearly all active political parties are personality-centered political movements without stable democratic structures and procedures. The House of Representatives and the Senate are highly fragmented. Religious leaders, civil society organizations, trade unions and other relevant societal groups support the present political leadership, although the extent to which their support of the personalities at the head of the government implies agreement with democratic structures and procedures is not always clear.
The World Bank In Liberia
The World Bank
Political and Security Update
Liberia has commenced its voters’ registration exercise in preparation for the 2017 presidential and legislative elections. This exercise started on 1 February 2017 and is targeting over 2.5 million eligible voters. Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC) has validated 21 political parties to participate in the October 2017 elections: contestants will be vying to replace President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who will be completing her second and final term of office, and to fill 73 seats in the House of Representatives. The ruling Unity Party (UP) is fighting for a third term of office with Vice President Joseph Boakai as its standard bearer.
In December 2016, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for a final period until 30 March 2018. Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, UNMIL’s mandate includes the protection of civilians, advising Liberia on the reform of its justice and security institutions, and supporting the government to carry out the promotion, protection, and monitoring of human rights, as well as efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence and protect United Nations personnel, installations, and equipment.
The Security Council also decided to reduce the Mission’s 1,240 military personnel to no more than 434, and its police strength to 310 personnel. It has called on the government to prioritize national reconciliation and economic recovery, combat corruption and promote efficiency and good governance. It is also stressing the need to prepare for 2017 elections and calling upon all parties to ensure that the elections are free, fair, peaceful and transparent, and included the full participation of women.
LIBERIA COUNTRY OVERVIEW
Current Political and Security Situation Following general and presidential elections in 2005, the Government of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was inaugurated in January 2006 for a six-year term. Significant progress has been made since in advocating for partnerships for the restoration of infrastructure, services, the economy and consolidation of state authority with decentralised administration at county level.
The national Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS, 2008-2011) was published in April 2008 and is based upon participatory consultation in the counties with priorities articulated through County Development Agendas (CDAs). With an overall UN response to the PRS through the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), UN County Support Teams (CSTs) provide specific logistical, infrastructural and organisation capacity to county administrations. The legacy of conflict affects all aspects of life in Liberia. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was inaugurated in February 2006 tosupport national reconciliation. High levels of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and gender base violence (GBV) are a major concern. Many of the conflict factors that led to Liberia’s civil crisis are still to be comprehensively addressed and tensions over ethnicity, land and other issues appear to be resurfacing.
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