The inauguration of President-elect, George M. Weah, and the Vice President-elect, Jewel Howard Taylor, should have been on Monday, January 15, but ahead of the date, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf issued a rather surprising proclamation making January 1, 2018 a holiday for the first time in 12 years. The presidential proclamation has now made Monday, January 22, the third working Monday, which becomes the day for the inauguration.
The inauguration is expected to be witnessed by distinguished personalities to include presidents, football icons, international business leaders, politicians and diplomats.
The upcoming relatively peaceful transfer of power is the first in more than 70 years.
Since the 1997 inauguration of President Charles Taylor at the Centennial Pavilion, the ceremony has been held at the front of the Capitol Building, the seat of the Legislature, facing the Executive Mansion. For this year's inauguration, however, the annexes funded by the People's Republic of China, are still under construction making the site unready for that occasion.
In 2006 and 2012, the swearing-in ceremonies were held on a platform at front view of the Legislature and conducted by the Chief Justice.
SKD Complex or Capitol Building?
According to Senator Blamo Nelson of Grand Kru County, the presidential oath should be administered at the Capitol Building, thereby making the 25th scheduled public inaugurations in three locations - the Providence Baptist Church, the Centennial Pavilion and the Capitol Building. Nelson argues that law was amended for inaugurations to be held at the Capitol Building.
However, rumors persist that the presidential oath will take place at the S. K. Doe Sports Complex, but is yet to be confirmed by any member of the Joint Presidential Transitional Team (JPTT), headed by President Sirleaf and co-chaired by President-elect Weah.
Joint Session of the 54th Legislature
In accordance with Article 53 of the Constitution, there will be a Joint Session of the Legislature, with the Speaker serving as the presiding officer to call to order a Special Session for the President and the Vice-President before entering the execution of the duties of their respective offices, take a solemn oath or affirmation.
There are seven main events, at different locations and by invitation. They include a morning worship service; procession to the swearing-in venue; Vice President-elect's swearing-in ceremony; President-elect's swearing in ceremony; Inaugural address; inaugural parade; and inaugural ball.
Leroy M. Sonpon, III