IREDD Launches Decentralization Reform Process


Alexander Musa (Grand Bassa County Correspondent)
The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) has launched a decentralization reform process to promote citizens participation in decentralization reform process in Liberia.Harold Aidoo, Executive Director of IREDD says over the past ten to twelve years, every Liberian believes during the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, activities in the country were centralized in terms of governance and public administration.
They alleged that every decision comes from top to bottom, it was only in 2005/2006 the County Development Funds (CDF) consultations were held nationwide.
It was understood that development should start from bottom to top, or decision-making processes begin from bottom to top which means giving power back to the citizens, which also speaks to the fact that decision should be taken from their communities, districts and counties as far as development is concerned.
“These are things that gave birth to the whole need about us as people and country in order to address issues on centralization of governance, decision making processes and taking the decision back to the people which talks about political decentralization of governance,” he said.
Aidoo pointed out that another aspect was how basic social services are just centralized in Monrovia.
According to him, it was from those issues the government of Liberia saw the need for county service centers to be established as a mean of addressing service delivery gaps.
He said IREDD has realized that it is civil society organizations that should be speaking for the masses in the reform, decision making and governance processes, their voices and roles in stressing issues on behalf of the ordinary people.
Aidoo further noted that CSOs must be on children issues, women, water, education, health and how the County Social Development Funds should be expanded, but are not active in reminding government of its responsibilities.
Also talking about the local Government Act, he says the Act has some logical things like addressing the fundamental problems of citizens, but has stayed at the level of the House of Representatives for some years and was forwarded to the Liberian Senate last year (2017) and still pending passage which he said the CSOs should be talking about.
“Based on what I have explained to you, as part of our long time effort in supporting decentralization program, we have come to launch a new program that will start in at least four counties, namely Grand Bassa, Nimba, Bong and Margibi to work with CSOs to start monitoring County Service Centers,” Aidoo voiced out.
He further clarified that their work is not to be antagonistic where people will be saying CSC is not working, someone is stealing money, but to support the effort of CSCs in the four counties to be more effective, for people to be aware and knowledgeable about what the County Service Centers are.
Speaking as representation of Superintendent Janjay Barkpeh, the Budget officer of Grand Bassa county, Theophilus Chea said the local authority of Grand Bassa County whole heartedly welcomes the ideology of IREDD. And is willing to work with CSOs and everyone who will be involved in the CSCs monitoring process.
The launching ceremony was held on Wednesday in the conference hall of the National Elections Commission local office in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County with Civil Society Organizations in attendance.

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