Liberia will today, January 22, 2018 be the focus of international attention, as political power will peacefully be transferred from one elected leader to another, something that hasn’t been done in Liberia in seven decades of the nation’s history.
George Oppon Weah, the candidate of the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), was officially declared the President-elect of Liberia on Friday, December 29, 2017 following a presidential run-off election in the West African country on Tuesday, December 26, 2017.
Weah defeated incumbent Vice-President, Joseph Boakai, with 61.5 per cent of the total votes cast, representing a total of 732,185 votes in the election conducted by the National Elections Commission of Liberia.
The second round of voting was delayed after a legal challenge, filed by the third-place party, alleging that voter fraud and irregularities took place.
But the country’s apex court ruled it did not have enough evidence of fraud, allowing the runoff to proceed.
And barring any unforeseen circumstances, Weah will today be sworn in as Liberia’s President, taking over from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who in 2006 took over the country founded by freed US slaves.
Just as the outgoing President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President-elect, George Weah’s administration will be inheriting a task of removing greater number of poverty-stricken masses from abject poverty, provide electricity and safe-drinking water to greater population, ensure paved roads across the country, create jobs and quality education and affordable health care with emphasis on available and among other pressing necessities.
And since President-elect Weah’s speech will be flowered by millions of people across the world, especially international players, it’s expected of him to use the inauguration to set forth his administration’s foreign policy and domestic agenda constructively as he seeks to reach Liberia’s international partners and friendly countries.
He is also expected to use his inaugural address to consider good neighbourliness and ensuring the prevalence of sub- regional, and by extension guaranteeing regional and global peace and security.
In furtherance, the speech is expected to avoid big promises; instead address pressing issues since keeping promise is a difficult task to achieve.
Politics in Liberia, which declared its independence in 1847, was dominated for decades by one-party rule, before a military coup in 1980.
A period of uncertainty followed, eventually leading to back-to-back civil wars between 1989 and 2003, which left an estimated 250,000 people dead and the country’s economy and infrastructure in ruins.
Last year’s election was the third since the end of the devastating conflict 14 years ago, while Weah’s victory marks the first peaceful transition of power in the country since 1944.