Liberia: The Liberian People Have Spoken - George Weah Will Be Liberia's 25th President!

A CDC supporter shows her joy at George Weah's victory in Liberia.

National Elections Commission (NEC) Chairman, Counselor Jerome Korkoya, in a nationwide broadcast yesterday evening, gave the results of 98.1% of last Tuesday's runoff election tally, which confirmed football superstar George Weah as the clear winner of the presidency.

According to the results announced by Chairman Korkoya, Mr. Weah, standard bearer of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), swept the entire country, with the exception of Lofa County, from which his opponent, Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, hails. This means that Weah and his CDC won all of the nation's other 14 counties, leaving only Boakai's beloved Lofa County to the Vice President.

What shall we say to these things?

First, the Daily Observer congratulates Senator George Weah and his CDC on this great accomplishment. We commend Mr. Weah for his patience and persistence in seeking the fulfillment of his dream of becoming Liberia's President.

Although he has not yet told us what he will do for Liberia and Liberians, we expect Ambassador Weah soon to come out and tell us what he will to do fix Liberia's many problems, including the desperate state of our economy, education, health, agriculture, infrastructure, including electricity and roads, restoring all the public buildings destroyed during the war, including the Ducor, the E. J. Roye, the National Housing Bank building, and the Executive Mansion, etc.

We expect him to tell us what he will do to restore Liberia's culture and the National Cultural Center, work towards building Liberia's tourism industry and jumpstarting Liberia's manufacturing sector.

The Daily Observer stands ready, just as we did for President K. Samuel Doe and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to help define and advance the national development agenda and do everything possible to help the Weah government to SUCCEED.

The second thing we must say to these things is that all hullabaloos (clamor, uproar) of massive electoral irregularities and fraud, including cooked ballots and fixed election rolls that followed the October 10 elections, are now over. Mr. Boakai's Unity Party (UP), which emerged second in the October 10 elections, was not the party that first ran to the Supreme Court seeking redress to the allegations of irregularities and fraud. It was, to his enduring credit, Counselor Charles Brumskine, standard bearer of Liberty Party (LP), who first appealed to the Supreme Court for redress against the alleged irregularities and fraud in those elections. UP, Benoni Urey's All Liberian Party (ALP) and Alex Cummings' Alternative National Congress (ANC) later joined LP in its appeal to the High Court.

The Court acknowledged that there were irregularities and fraud in the October 10 poll, but argued that they were not widespread enough to warrant a rerun of those elections. The Court, however, mandated NEC to "cleanup" the Final Registration Roll (FRR) so that the runoff election would appear free, fair, transparent and credible.

But Chairman Korkoya apparently had no intention of doing any cleaning up. Instead, without any indication that NEC had done anything to execute that mandate, he suddenly announced that the runoff would take place the day after Christmas!

And what did UP do?

They returned to the Supreme Court simply with a "Bill of Information," not a strong appeal to the Court to pressure Chairman Korkoya to proceed full speed with the "cleanup" exercise. Nor did UP give any hint that they would seek further redress in the Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The Supreme Court, to most people's expectation, upheld Korkoya's December 26 runoff, leaving UP and its standard bearer, Joseph N. Boakai, totally in the cold. From then on, it was an irreversible downhill for the ruling party, just as its former standard bearer, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, had intended. Remember that long before the election campaign began, she immediately began distancing herself from UP, the party that had twice ushered her into the presidency. Eventually, she unashamedly threw her weight behind Weah's CDC, totally abandoning UP, which had come to her rescue ever since 1997.

The third thing, for now, that we must say to these things, is to appeal to ALL our people to realize that THE LIBERIAN PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN. In a system of one person, one vote, they have chosen the man they want to lead them for the next six years. All of us must, therefore, lay aside our misgivings, our fears and apprehensions and our political preferences, rally around our new President and do ALL we can to help him in this great, remarkable and fabulous task that lies before him.

Now is the time for every Liberian--each and every one of us--to begin to think POSITIVELY and CONSTRUCTIVELY and be SUPPORTIVE to this new government. That is the only way the Weah government will succeed. We cannot leave it to the CDCians alone. That would be a grave mistake.

Let us all RALLY to rebuild Liberia!

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