Most Liberians and probably the entire international community were pleasantly surprised when they learned yesterday on social media that President-elect George Weah had paid a courtesy call on the man he defeated in the presidential runoff, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai.
Mr. Weah was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Clar Weah, and a few of their colleagues.
The two men are neighbors, living yards apart from each other on Rehab Road off the ELWA Highway in Paynesville.
We strongly believe that Weah's visit, unique in the history of elections anywhere in the world, was prompted by the equally magnanimous concession address which Vice President Boakai delivered last Friday, December 29, even prior to the final announcement by the National Elections Commission (NEC), declaring Weah the winner.
Our Presidential Correspondent William Harmon reported that "With tears in his eyes, the VP indicated, I, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, a man of peace, humility and a Liberian patriot with deep faith in God, hereby accept the results of the elections."
"In spite of Boakai's concession," Reporter Harmon wrote, "many still harbor the belief that the fraud that characterized the (October 10) election also attended the runoff ... "
"But as rightly," Harmon continued, "the UP standard bearer said Liberian history is characterized by some disturbing episodes of fraudulent electoral processes and the attendant consequences. Notable among these, he said, are the presidential elections of 1927 and 1985--the outcomes of which were rejected, thereby engendering conflict, which occasioned the loss of lives and protracted fratricidal national conflict."
Then Vice President Boakai, a true patriot and statesman of the first order, made this declaration: "I refuse to subject our nation to such an experience. I reject any temptation to impose pain, hardship, agony and uncertainty upon our people.
"My name will not be used as an excuse for one drop of blood to be spilled in this country. My worth and ambition to serve will never push me to stoop low to violence. The truth of the matter is that what I am 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."
Here was not an ordinary concession speech, rather a true and genuine affirmation of faith--faith in God, faith in selflessness, faith in love for country, faith in peace and faith in a more hopeful, richer and prosperous Liberia.
The Vice President's message was bound not only to please, but also to inspire President-elect Weah. Mr. Boakai portrayed himself as a man who can be trusted. So Mr. Weah took the speech not as lip service, or a concession just for concession sake, but as a true and genuine testimony of acceptance of defeat and a willingness to work with the winner of the election for the betterment of Liberia.
And so, to everyone's surprise, President-elect Weah took his wife Clar and a few trusted allies and found their way to Vice President and Mrs. Boakai's home to pay a courtesy call on them. What this means is that Mr. Weah took seriously what his defeated opponent had to say. Mr. Weah, therefore, felt it was indeed necessary to show his appreciation for and acceptance of Mr. Boakai's olive branch of peace and a willingness to work with Mr. Weah in patriotic pursuit of a better Liberia.
In this visit to Vice President Boakai, President-elect Weah is saying something to all Liberians and to the world: Let bygones be bygones; and let us all join hands together, regardless of our political preferences, and work assiduously (diligently, constantly, tirelessly) for the enduring betterment of the beloved country, Liberia.
Let all of us Liberians, therefore, follow the great example of these two men, Vice President Boakai and President-elect Weah, and work peacefully and harmoniously together to lift Liberia and move her forward.
We pray that the entire Legislature and all of those whom the new President of Liberia will select to serve in government, will come forward and work selflessly, honestly, patriotically and hard in the performance of their duties--not for themselves but for their long-suffering people and country, so that Liberia will truly RISE AGAIN.