Liberia’s president-elect, Joseph Boakai, delivered his first post-election speech on Wednesday, emphasizing the need for unity as he prepares to take the helm of the nation following a closely contested electoral battle.
Boakai, a seasoned political veteran at the age of 78, secured victory by a margin of just 20,567 votes, defeating the incumbent George Weah.
In a nail-biting electoral showdown, Boakai clinched 50.64 percent of the vote, narrowly surpassing Weah, the former international football star, who garnered 49.36 percent. The results marked a turning point in Liberia’s political landscape and set the stage for the country’s future under Boakai’s leadership.
“The elections are now over, and we must unite as one people to rebuild our country,” President-elect Boakai declared in his inaugural speech. He went on to extend a heartfelt appeal to all Liberians, irrespective of their ethnic background, nationality, religion, or political party affiliation, urging them to join hands in the collective effort to revive the nation.
“The elections are now over and we must unite as one people to rebuild our country,” Boakai said. I implore all Liberians, regardless of ethnic origin, country, religion, or political party affiliation, to join us on this journey to save our country,” he added.
Boakai’s vision for Liberia’s future includes an ambitious plan to extend development initiatives across the entire country. He specifically highlighted the southeast region, which he noted had endured years of neglect, vowing to prioritize the construction of crucial infrastructure such as roads.
Additionally, he reaffirmed his campaign promise to combat corruption vigorously and assured a seamless and peaceful transition of power.
Outgoing President Weah earned commendation for promptly conceding defeat and committing to a peaceful transfer of power, dispelling any international concerns in a region historically marred by coups and instability. In a radio address following the election results, Weah graciously stated, “Liberia has won,” signaling his dedication to a peaceful and democratic transition.
Weah’s election six years ago had ignited hopes of transformation in Liberia, a nation still grappling with the aftermath of back-to-back civil wars and the devastating 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic. However, his administration faced criticism over allegations of corruption and accusations of failing to fulfill promises to improve the lives of the nation’s most impoverished citizens.
In response to these challenges, President-elect Boakai has pledged to institute “radical” reforms within Liberia’s security and justice systems, with a firm commitment to upholding the rule of law. He also expressed his condolences to the victims of a tragic post-election incident in which a vehicle plowed into a crowd of his supporters on Monday evening, resulting in the loss of at least three lives.
As Liberia prepares for the dawn of a new era under President-elect Joseph Boakai’s leadership, the nation remains cautiously optimistic about the prospects of change, national unity, and a renewed commitment to development and justice.