Civil society wins major victory in the Liberian Supreme Court
In Liberia, each county receives funds from the national budget for development initiatives. The management of these funds has always been accused of corruption, mismanagement, and abuse of power by the committee that decides how the money is spent.
In 2018, two important laws came into place. The Local Government Act and the Land Rights Act. Both promote the inclusion of people living in marginalization in governance, natural resource management and county councils. This means that civil society’s role has shifted from being an observer to a council member that decides how the development funds are spent. That is if all the 15 counties implement the law in Liberia.
The findings confirmed that there had been gross mismanagement and abuse of power by the decision-makers involved.
In 2022, three civil society organizations supported by ForumCiv released their findings of an investigation into the use of development funds in Bong County. The findings confirmed that there had been gross mismanagement and abuse of power by the decision-makers involved. The organizations called on the county to implement the Local Government Act to stop the mismanagement of funds.
The case went all the way to the Liberian Supreme Court which spoke in favour of the civil society organizations. The court ordered that development projects must be decided by county councils which include representatives from civil society, women, youths, people living with disabilities and chiefs. As made clear in the Local Government Act.
This is a key example of how ForumCivs work to strengthen people living in marginalization to organize and claim their rights are making a difference.
The decision of the Supreme Court sets and precedent with far-reaching implications for governance in Liberia. Civil society in other counties can now refer to this decision to demand the leadership of their counties follow suit.
This is a key example of how ForumCivs work to strengthen people living in marginalization to organize and claim their rights are making a difference. The support to these three civil society organizations has given civil society in all of Liberia a better chance to change lives and communities at a local, regional, and national level.
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