2 January 2018

Liberia: Rivals to Good Neighbors - Weah Meets Boakai

Photo: allafrica.com
Joseph Boakai and president-elect George Weah.

A distinct feature of the country's nascent democracy -- the loser concedes defeat and pledges to work with the winner -- was given a boost as President-elect George Manneh Weah met with the man he defeated, incumbent Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, on yesterday, Jan. 1, New Year's Day.

The meeting was held at the residence of Ambassador Boakai -- who in fact lives just down the street from Sen. Weah on Rehab Road in Paynesville City -- and reports indicate it was held in an atmosphere of cordiality.

Weah, along with his entourage at the meeting, said it was meant to seek further collaboration to strengthen Liberia's democracy since in his concession speech, Ambassador Boakai promised to work with the new leadership whatever way the new president would feel in the interest of Liberia.

Weah, 51, won the December 26 presidential run-off by nearly a 270,000 vote margin over Boakai. In his acceptance speech on Saturday, December 30, President-elect Weah promised to tap on the rich public service experience of Vice President Boakai, among others, to continue the infrastructural and other transformation agenda of the country.

According to a press release from the office of Vice President Boakai, "President-Elect George Manneh Weah and his wife, Mrs. Weah on New Year's morning paid a courtesy visit to Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai at his home in Paynesville where the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to working for the benefit of the nation."

The release noted that following exchange of pleasantries, President-elect Weah and Ambassador Boakai retreated to a one-on-one session in the private office of the Vice President where they consulted on other issues pertaining to the sustenance of peace, and moving on with developments initiated by the Johnson Sirleaf administration.

"In his concession speech Friday, Vice President Boakai said he will work with the incoming government for the good of the country," the release said.

With his wealth of public service experience, VP Boakai got into the 2017 presidential race with a mantra: "Think Liberia, Love Liberia and Build Liberia," which many political observers say Weah could explore to the country's advantage.

Many Liberians have also welcomed the positive interaction and confidence building that Weah is exploring in his attempt to set his own agenda for the country's transformation in the wake of the enormous challenges, not to mention the huge expectations that many of the electorates are dreaming about to happen.

January 22, will be the day of Weah's inauguration a turning point beginning his administration's first 100 days in office.

The difficult elections and its run-off, where even many called for the removal of the head of the NEC, which President Sirleaf overlooked, should prod Weah into leading a government that would reunite the people say some Weah supporters.

At VP Boakai's residence: (2nd from left): Rep. Munah Pelham Youngblood, VP Boakai, President-elect Weah and Mrs. Weah

"This is interesting," admitted a UP partisan, "the two candidates that fought for the leadership of the country found it necessary, and even Weah took upon himself to visit the elder statesman, and this is good."

Vice President Boakai, admitting to his loss to President-elect Weah, noted: "The truth of the matter is that what I'm seeking was not the power or title, but instead an opportunity to serve. My love for country is more profound and intrinsic than my desire for the presidency," a statement that many Liberians have acknowledged as Boakai's finest hour, in a questionable election that anything other than that could have derailed the country's fragile peace.


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