Liberia: The Car Is Now On The Road!

Guest Editorial by Lekpele M. Nyamalon

One of the most misunderstood statements attributed to President Joseph N. Boakai was a car metaphor he employed in 2017 as a candidate during the 2017 Presidential Debate.  In 2017, then-presidential candidate Joseph N. Boakai utilized a powerful car metaphor to convey his vision for leadership. He likened his role to that of a race car — a beautiful entity whose true potential is revealed only when placed on the road. The metaphor was in response to a question on his preparedness to transition from the role of Vice President alongside President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to a President himself. This metaphor, once misunderstood, is now a reality with President Boakai's triumph in the runoff elections against former President George M. Weah in a dramatic showdown. 

The car is finally on the road, and as President Boakai assumes the office of President, the challenges and opportunities before him are monumental. The Unity Party manifesto sits on five important pillars under the acronym ARREST {Agriculture, Roads, Rule of Law, Education, Sanitation and Tourism} guided by an overarching theme of Think, Build and Love Liberia. 

However, as the elder statesman faces the task of steering the nation towards recovery and progress, the first 100 days of his term are crucial in addressing key immediate issues: Reconciliation, Rule of Law, and Roads.

The recent elections, marked by ethnically driven voting patterns, negative social media propaganda, and polarizing views, have left a fragmented national identity. President Boakai must prioritize reconciliation efforts to address deep-seated issues affecting national cohesion. Fostering a common identity, through a shared vision and participatory democracy are essential elements in fostering unity and reviving the national spirit that transcends ethnic, political, and personal divides.

The Rule of Law sits at the epicenter of development with its impact reaching various aspects of society. From traffic regulation to enforcing sanitation ordinances, drug violations, and maintaining order in public spaces, a robust legal framework is vital. Ensuring that the law applies impartially is crucial for public safety and confidence. Agencies such as the Liberia National Police, Drug Enforcement Agency, and City police are key in upholding the values of the Rule of Law. Law enforcement officers at all levels must be above reproach, non-partisan in the discharge of their duties and showing exemplary professionalism in representing the law.

Road infrastructure remains a top priority, echoing President Boakai’s emphasis on “Roads, Roads, and Roads” during the 2017 presidential debate. 

The need for an extensive network of roads, including community feeder roads, inter-county highways, and farm-to-market roads, is crucial for economic growth. 

Additionally, exploring transport infrastructure along Liberia's waterways presents a long-term opportunity. 

Nonetheless, in the short term, systematic rehabilitation of feeder roads is absolutely essential. For example, the southeastern region of Liberia faces significant challenges during the rainy season, leading to an almost complete isolation from the rest of the country. 

Impassable roads hinder the free flow of goods and people, creating a barrier to economic activities and social interactions. Yet, there is a potential solution that has proven effective in the past.

Under the strategy implemented by pre-war administrations, regional engineers were deployed to address the road-related issues during the rainy season. This proactive approach helped keep the roads passable and can be adapted to other parts of the country with similar challenges. 

As President Boakai takes the reins of leadership, the metaphorical car is now on the road, and the focus is on ensuring it navigates the path to national recovery with a commitment to reconciliation, a strong adherence to the Rule of Law, and a strategic approach to road infrastructure development. These initial steps are vital for setting Liberia on a trajectory of unity, prosperity, and sustainable development.

The AuthorLekpele M. Nyamalon is a Liberian writer, poet Author and the founder of Africa’s life-an afro-centric youth movement that works with youth in the areas of Education, Arts & Culture and Civic leadership. He can be reached at