Liberia: Boakai to Address Road Problems in First 100 Days

…. “We are at the point where we will prepare for the transition and begin the plan for the inauguration as we jump-start the activities of governance,” announced Boakai.

President-elect Joseph Boakai has vowed to address the country’s numerous deplorable road problems within the first 100 days in office, just after the National Elections Commission declared him formally as the winner of the November 14 runoff election. 

The electoral body’s formal declaration came three days after incumbent President George Weah gracefully conceded defeat, acknowledging the provisional results of the runoff vote. Boakai secured victory with 50.64% of the second-round balloting, while Weah garnered 49.36%.

“We are at the point where we will prepare for the transition, begin the plan for the inauguration, as we jump-start the activities of governance,” announced Boakai, 78, a former vice president, immediately after being officially pronounced the winner. 

As part of his ambitious 100-day plan, Boakai has boldly stated that not a single car will get stuck on any major roads, emphasizing his commitment to addressing the country’s chronic road issues promptly. 

Although specifics of the plan were not disclosed, Boakai’s focus comes as the country’s road network remains greatly underdeveloped — among the least developed in West Africa. The situation is worse during the rainy season, which lasts for six months, as most roads across the country become inaccessible. 

It is, however, unclear whether Boakai’s quick-fix solution to the country’s road problems, which is somehow better in the dry season, would consider the rainy season while searching for a long-term solution.

“Liberians have been complaining and yearning for many things, and we will review some of the hardships, especially those areas essential to their livelihood,” the President-elect said. 

“We will make sure that everyone is on board to build our country,” he added. “We want to appreciate the Liberian public and the people of Liberia who protected those ballots that subsequently led to our election. The Unity Party (UP) and its alliance are prepared to bring prosperity and everything the people have been yearning for over the years.”

The President-elect also expressed gratitude to Weah for graciously conceding defeat, saying, “We are all Liberians, and all we want is the peace of this country, and our move will be to reconcile the society.”

USA, AU Congratulate Boakai

Meanwhile, no sooner had the National Elections Commission announced the official runoff election result, the U.S. President Joe Biden post a congratulatory message to Boakai on “his election to be the next President of Liberia.” 

According to Biden, the conduct of free and fair elections and the presidential runoff demonstrated Liberians’ commitment to making their voices heard through the ballot box. 

“I look forward to working together to continue deepening the ties between our nations and people in the years ahead,” the statement from Biden added. “I also want to commend President Weah for respecting the will of the people and putting patriotism above politics. As we discussed at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit last year, the peaceful transition of power is a threshold liberty of democracy.” 

“The people of Liberia have exercised their constitutional right and demonstrated the power of that truth. And they have set a clear example for West Africa and the entire world. Democracy is a powerful tool for progress, and democracies can deliver for our people,” he added.

As for the African Union (AU), its Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, while congratulating the President-elect, also hails the statesmanship of the outgoing President for gracefully accepting the outcome of the elections. 

Mahamat commends “the National Elections Commission and all stakeholders for the successful conduct of peaceful and credible elections” as he invites all parties to continue to display maturity and embrace dialogue to consolidate democracy, inclusiveness, the Rule of Law, peace and security, and enhance inclusive “socio-economic development for the people of Liberia.”

Elsewhere, the ruling Coalition of Democratic Change has filed a complaint against the November 14 runoff election results, highlighting irregularities at some polling places in Nimba, Grand Gedeh, and Grand Kru Counties, respectively. 

The electoral body has acknowledged the ruling party's complaint, promising to look into the merit of the case with findings made available to the public soon. 

Jefferson Koijee, the Secretary-General of the ruling Party, maintains that the party will not condone any form of fraudulent election despite his political leader conceding defeat. 

At a news conference on November 19, Koijee noted that the party has some dissatisfaction with the election result, saying that, while the statement made by the President is respected, the party has issues with the conduct of the elections in Nimba, Grand Kru, and Grand Gedeh Counties. 

On that same day, the President, at his church, told his congregation that he was not an African President who hijacked elections that caused the death of many innocent people. 

“I won’t be a part of it,” he said to members and supporters, emphasizing that his defeat in the presidential runoff is but “a learning curve.”