Legislature MUST appropriate $73 million to Electoral Districts, not Administrative Districts
June 6, 2014 - by Chorphie Charlie (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The $73 millions District Development Fund (DDF) appropriation by the House of Representatives is the most fascinating and best develop strategy ever in the history of our nation. Simply put, for over 160 years of our nation's existence, our development strategy has primarily been giving money to administrative districts under the executive without positive national development to ordinary people. The executive has been receiving millions of dollars every year in the budget for healthcare, education, agriculture, road construction and many other development projects without any benefit for local people.
All over our nation, in rural villages and towns , there are no developments. Many parts of our nation has no roads, no hospitals, no education facilities, and lack of basic social services. The people in rural parts of our nation have been denied from the governance decision making process, leaving all the critical decisions to the executive, mainly in a centralize fashion in Monrovia. It is time for a change.
Constitutional Basic for District Fund by Electoral Representation
Article 80 (e) of the Liberian constitution clearly states: "Immediately following a national census and before the next election, the Elections Commission shall reapportion the constituencies in accordance with the new population figures so that every constituency shall have as close to the same population as possible; provided, however, that a constituency must be solely within a county."
This means that electoral district are the direct representation of the people. Therefore, the distribution of the DDF to electoral district is very necessary, because it allows ordinary people to decide how their money will be spend, and not few people running administrative districts. Who are best suited to determine the most urgent needs of the people? The people themselves and not some administrative heads or executive officers, who have proven to be incompetent and abusers of the public trust. Thus, the $73 millions going into electoral districts, will empower the people, to directly participate in the governance decision making process. This development strategy must be supported by all well meaning Liberians.
Legislative Authority to Appropriate Such Money
Article D of the Liberian Constitution clearly states that, in section ii. "no monies shall be drawn form the treasure except in consequence of appropriations made by legislative enactment." So the action taken by the House of Representatives is in accordance with their constitutional province. Some people, and the Senate are opposing this action of the House, on the basic that this new law will enhance Representatives chances for re-election: So what! Was the Representatives not elected to use the public resources in the interest of the people? So the Representatives should not pass good laws in the interest of the people? Then why should we have election to elect Representatives? This issue should not be about the Representatives but whether this development strategy is best for local development impacts. If the Senate prefer, they may increase the funding by $30 millions, making it two millions additional for each county, to represent each senator from a county.
Economic Stimulus Package
The $73 millions DDF is also an economic stimulus package that can unleash job creation all across the nation. The legislature can create a jobs program that will allow only residents from a district to participate in development projects (construction and other services) that are funded by the DDF. This will reduce the pressure on the executive to provide jobs.
Deconcentration and Re-distribution of Power
The $73 millions DDF is another powerful means, since the creation of our nation-state, to deconcentrate and re-distribute power from a centralize governance operating system, in Monrovia, to the rest of the country. This means that the DDF will put political power right where it belongs, in the hands of the people. The DDF will empower ordinary citizens, at the local level, to participate in their governance decision making process, and determine their own development needs. Thus, the executive would be able to focus on long term capital projects, relieving them from the stress of ordinary citizens protesting the lack of development impact and jobs. Let the executive focus on national development while the $73 millions is use to impact local developments. We cannot allow the zealous and dark behavior of more than 160 years of an imperial executive to keep suffering our people.
$73 millions Ideological and Philosophical Debate
The appropriation of $73 millions, to electoral districts, opens up for the first time, in our nation history, a real ideological debate concerning the concept of democracy and citizens' self government. This draws upon the old debate concerning the state of nature and the social contract. On the one hand are those who continue to insist that we do governing business, the same old way for more than 160 years, through an imperial executive; while a new school emerges for citizens' self determination. These were the same kinds of philosophical ideas that endures the state of nature debates, echoing from Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Montesquieu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, and more recently John Rawls concerning his Theory of Justice.
The general arguments has been between the right of the state to manage the affairs of the people and the right of the people to determine their own destiny. This means that those who opposes the $73 millions to electoral districts does not believe in the fundamental idea for the people to participate in the governing decision making process, of how the national wealth of the nation should be distributed. The opponents holds a Socratic view for the philosophy Kings, to decide what is best for society, and not for the people to decide for themselves. This is a kind of utilitarian thought that violates the whole purpose for the social contract.
Down With The IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY!
Down with the imperial presidency, it is time for the people to decide self government and unleash the potential of citizenship rule, in small towns and villages all across our rural nation. It is a disgrace that in this technological advance age, our nation does not even have a national public library, students are either sitting on the ground in classrooms across rural Liberia and/or teachers lacks basic instructional materials, education in Liberia is simply a MESS, poor healthcare delivery, bad roads, lack of decentralize government services and the list goes on and on.
What Does This Means for 2014 Senatorial Elections
The $73 millions for electoral districts could not have come at a better time when the nation is holding another election, this time for half of the senate. Simply put, all those who opposes this funding for electoral districts should gain additional reason why they must be voted out of the senate. Voters should not tolerate the continuous disregard for their own welfare and re-elect any senator, who will not support the idea, for citizens to participate, in the determination of how the nation's wealth should be distributed.
On the Altar of Jehovah, I pledge undying resistance to the failed imperial executive development strategy. “Excuse me while I throw up.
About the author:
Chorphie Charlie is a social and political commentator who resides in Philadelphia. He can be reached at email@example.com