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DECENTRALIZATION, LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTONOMY AND GRASSROOTS DEVELOPMENT IN LIBERIA

POLITICAL SCIENCE PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Content Page
Title page i
Certification ii
Dedication iii
Acknowledgements iv
Abstract vi
Table of Contents ix
List of Tables x
List of Figures
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem 3
1.3 Objectives of the Study 4
1.4 Research Questions 4
1.5 Justification of the Study 5
1.6 Scope of the Study 5
1.7 Operational Definitions of Key Terms 6
1.8 Plan of Work 7
CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF LITERATURE
2.0 Introduction 8
2.1 The Concept of Decentralization 8
2.1.1 Kinds of Decentralization 9
2.1.2 African Perspectives of Decentralization 12
2.1.3 Growing Trend Toward Decentralization 12
2.2 Liberia and the Centralized Problem 13
2.3 Discussion of the Liberia Decentralization Policy 14
2.4 Necessity for Decentralization in Modern Governance 17
2.4.1 Arguments for and against Decentralization 18
2.4.2 Potential Benefits of Decentralization 19
2.5 Local Government 20
2.5.1 Imperatives of Local Government 21
2.5.2 The Establishment of Liberia and Local Government 22
2.5.3 Legal Framework for Local Government in Liberia 23
2.5.4 Local Governance 24
2.6 Local Government Autonomy 24
2.6.1 Local Government Autonomy and Decentralization 25
2.7 The Concept of Development 25
2.7.1 Grassroots/Rural Development 26
2.7.2 Grassroots Development and Decentralization 27
2.8 Theoretical Framework 28
2.8.1 Application of the Theories 29
2.9 Gap (s) in Literature 30
CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
3.0 Introduction 32
3.1 Research Design 32
3.2 Population 32
3.3 Sample Size and Sampling Technique 33
3.4 Method of Data Collection 35
3.5 Sources of Data 35
3.6 Instrument of the Study 35
3.7 Reliability of the Instrument 36
3.8 Validity of the Instrument 36
3.9 Method of DataAnalysis 37
3.01 Ethical Consideration 37
CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS, RESULTS
AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
4.0 Introduction 38
4.1 Demographic Profile 38

4.2 Objective One 43
4.3 Objective Two 47
4.4 Objective Three 50
4.4 Objective Four 52
4.5 Discussion of Findings 54
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION
AND RECOMMENDATION
5.1 Summary 59
5.2 Conclusion 60
5.3 Recommendations 60
5.4 Contribution to Knowledge 61
5.5 Limitation of the Study 62
5.6 Suggestion for Further Studies 62
REFERENCES 63
APPENDICES 69

LIST OF TABLES
Table Page
3.1 Population of Study 33
3.2 Sample Size Distribution 34
3.3 Cronbach Alpha 36
4.1.1 Counties of Origin 38
4.1.2 Gender of Respondents 39
4.1.3 Ages of Respondents 40
4.1.4 Marital Status of Respondents 41
4.1.5 Educational Qualification of Respondents 41
4.2 Administrative System of Liberia is centralized 42
4.2.1 Centralization Impedes Development 43
4.2.2 Lack of Developmental Initiative 43
4.2.3 Respondents View on Political Participation is Low 44
4.2.4 Liberia has been Branded ‘Underdeveloped’ 45
4.2.5 Local Dwellers Depend on Government 45
4.2.6 Centralization Overburdens Government 46
4.3 County Development Agenda is a good framework 46
4.3.1 Local Service Centers Brings Development 47
4.3.2 Establishment of Ministries Agencies and Commissions 47
4.3.3 Lack of Professionals at the Local Level 48
4.3.4 Willingness of Central Government to Relinquish Power 48
4.4.1 Government is efficient and Responsive to Local Needs 49
4.4.2 Decentralization Allow Fiscal, Political and Admin. Autonomy 50
4.4.3 Decentralization Allows Government Accountability 50
4.4.4 Decentralization Stimulates Economic Growth 51
4.4.5 Service Delivery and Economic Growth Accompany Decentralization 51
4.5.1 Draft Local Government Allow Full Devolution 52
4.5.2 Government is willing to Give Power to Local Authorities 52
4.5.3 Political Commitment to Grant Local Autonomy 53
4.5.4 Quality of Development is Improved with Local Capacity 53
4.5.5 Empowerment of Locals to Participate Yields Positive Result 54
4.5.6 Opportunities for Grassroots Development are Increased 54
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure Page
4.1 County of Work 39
4.2 Gender of Respondents 40
4.3 Ages of Respondents 41

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
Decentralization as a concept is not completely new to Africa; but rather, it has adopted diverse strategies. English speaking and French Speaking African nations have seen various pre-and post-war decentralizations. After independence, governments across Africa kept on utilizing governments at the local levels as administrative units, and significant elements of local governments, for example, basic healthcare, construction of roads, education and local revenue collection were shifted toward central government control (Gbartea, 2011).
Kiwanuka (2012) believes that African nations have additionally capitulated to the expanding wave of cities and metropolitans. Some dominant elites groups in Africa, for example, the Americo-Liberian in Liberia embraced decentralization as a means to bargain with local elites with secessionist tendencies, and as a remedy for political instability. Nations began truly considering decentralization as an option after the manifest disappointments resulting from centralized economic planning in the 1970’s. Although there was no confirmation that decentralization would succeed, there were adequate information demonstrating that the centralized system of governance had failed (Awortwi, 2010). As Mookherjee (2006) observes, the primary reason for embarking upon decentralization is that transfer of some central government powers, assets, duties, and responsibility to lower tiers empowers local institutions and associations to engage in more successful self-administration and improvement suitable to local conditions.
The historical backdrop of modern local government systems in developing nations, including Liberia, is stacked with experimentation. There have been purposeful endeavors to modernize; however, tradition is still profoundly established (Ekpe, 2007). Some eminent issues confronting local government systems in developing nations with Liberia not an exemption include, but rather are not restricted to, basic dysfunctionality, absence of acceptable and ideal structure, capacities and duties. At the point when these are tended to, local government could be receptive to the necessities of the rural citizens who make up a large number of the populace in the developing countries (Ekpe, Ekpe, and Daniels, 2013).
The Liberian Local Government system is exceptional when contrasted with different countries in West Africa. Local Government authorities, generally, are designated by the central government, and have no characterized powers and capacities. All choices with respect to development projects and use of money are made at the central, and the local governments are compelled to do the bidding of the central government (Gbartea, 2011). The 1986 Constitution of the Republic of Liberia gives the President the exclusive authority to appoint county administrators and other local authorities (Article 54 Sec D). The Constitution additionally states in Article 56 (A) that every single such authority appointed by the President holds office at the pleasure and will of that President. This obviously has been the pattern of administration in Liberia since the 1986 Constitution came into existence. Authorities of government work at the will of the President and are not responsible to the general population even at the local sub-units (Gbala, 2004).
The process of decentralization in Liberia began as far back as the later phase of the nineteenth century. In 1880, G.W. Gibson outlined a plan by which full citizenship would extend to aboriginal groups in return for an increased production of agricultural commodities. However, the coming of Arthur Barclay to the presidency of Liberia in 1904 is by and large considered a defining moment in Liberian politics; since it denoted the start of a deliberate, official strategy to build up a hinterland administration grounded on the British principle of indirect rule. Barclay formally established the principle of recognizing the pre-existing indigenous power structures (or rather, what “Americo-Liberians” took for indigenous power structures) and controlling through powerful families of local political groups. He imposed a uniform system of administration through a two-layered system of “Paramount Chiefs” and “Town Chiefs” on the hinterland (Gerdes, 2013).

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