22 January 2018

Liberia: Last-Minute Touches - Liberia's President-Elect Inaugural Stage Almost Ready

Photo: FrontPageAfrica
Organizers prepare for the inauguration at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex.

Monrovia — All is getting set and ready for swearing-in ceremony of international soccer star George Manneh Weah.

As of 2:30 a.m. Monday morning, organizers were seen getting the stage ready and doing their final touches on other parts of the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex where the historic event would be held.

Weah is the first international footballer in recent history to ascend to the highest political power.

He takes over from Africa's first female President and Nobel Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who led Liberia for 12 years.

Weah lost to Mrs. Sirleaf in 2005. During the election campaign that year, he was heavily criticized and ridiculed by a fraction of the public for being a high school dropout.

Weah mustered the courage, went back to the classroom and attained his first degree in Business Management from DeVry University in the United Sates in 2011. Two years later he earned a Master degree in the same discipline at the same university.

Despite filling the so-called educational gap, Weah refused to lead his party - the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) in 2011 during the election - rather he went as Vice Standard bearer to former UN Executive, Winton Tubman, who was a Johnny just come to the party. Tubman and the CDC again lost the election in 2011.

In 2014, he contested as Senator in Montserrado County - his strongest hold and won by a wide margin - completely beating the President's son, Mr. Robert A. Sirleaf.

His victory at the December 26 polls was quite phenomenal and overwhelming.

Many people took to the streets in wild jubilation when was announced winner of the election on December 29.

The Samuel Kanyond Doe Sports Complex is expected to be full to its maximum capacity of 35,000 during the ceremony.

Special Guests

At least eight heads of states and governments including the President of Ghana, Akufo Addo, Guinean President Alpha Conde, Sierra Leonean President, Earnest Bai Kromah, the Preside of Ivory Coast, Allasan Outarra, the President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbé Nigerian President Mohammad Bouhari. Also here is Denis Sassou Nguesso, former Congolese President. President Jose Mario Vaz, Guinea Bissau; and Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon would be present as well.

A Congressional delegation from the United States Congress has also confirmed their attendance, according to the chief of Protocol of Liberia. In addition, a special envoy and team from U.S. President Donald Trump would also grace the ceremony.

The European Union Parliament would also be represented.

It is not yet clear how many international soccer players can play. However, Cameroonian international, Samuel Eto'o is already in the country.

The President-elect had also invited Ivorian international Didier Drogba, but FrontPageafrica has not been able to verify whether he is in the country.

Similarly, Mr. Weah's first coach in Europe, Arsène Wenger, current manager of Arsenal, had hinted that he would be in Liberia for the inauguration, but the protocol officers have not been able to confirm to FrontPageAfrica whether or not he would be in attendance.

Security Protocol

The Liberia National Police would be deploying 700 officers to the vicinity, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Col. Abraham Kromah said.

The Robertsfield-Monrovia highway would be closed from 7:00AM to 7:00PM on Monday, January 22.

No heavy equipment, including vehicles, would be allowed on the Roberts International Airport (RIA) highway.

There will be no loud music allowed at the SKD and its surroundings.

No alcoholic beverage or other goods would be sold at the stadium during the inauguration.

While the Protocol has announced that gates would be opened at 7:00AM, Col. Kromah said the police would ensure that the gates are opened at 6:30 to avoid congestion and long queues.

No cars will be allowed to enter the Complex; all guests, with the exception of those listed in the Special Protocol, will enter the premises through the Main Entrance; the ushering of guests to the Ceremony will commence at 7:00 a.m. and end at 9:45 a.m.

Protocol

No one will be permitted to enter after 9:45 a.m. except those mentioned below: The Speaker and Members of the 54th Legislature and former members of the 53rd Legislature will enter the stadium through the VIP entrance and be escorted to seats reserved for them at 9:50 a.m.

Members of the Consular Corps will enter the Stadium through the VIP entrance and be escorted to seats reserved for them at 09:55 a.m.

The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Heads of International Organizations will enter the Stadium through the VIP Entrance and be escorted to seats reserved for them at 10:00 a.m.

The Doyen and Members of the Diplomatic Corps will enter the stadium through the VIP entrance and be escorted to seats reserved for them at 10:05 a.m. The Dean and Members of the Cabinet will enter the Stadium through the VIP Entrance and be escorted to seats reserved for them at 10:10 a.m.

At 10:10 a.m. the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court would arrive; outing Vice President Joseph Boakai would arrive; President Sirleaf would arrive at 10:20; the Vice President-elect would enter at 10:25 a.m. All foreign heads of states and governments would be urshered in by 10:30 a.m.

President-elect George Manneh Weah and his wife would be escorted into the stadium at 10:55 a.m.

The Ceremony

The ceremony would entail performances, including a mass choir. A session would be called by the 54th Legislature after which the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would be administering the oath of office to President-elect Weah and Vice-President-elect Jewel Howard Taylor. That would be followed by the President's inaugural address.

At the close of the ceremonies, the Chief of Protocol will announce the Order of Precedence for the departing procession, while the guests will remain standing.

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