Liberia: Pres. Weah to “Accept Election Outcome”?

Flashback: UN Photo/Cia Pak. President George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly’s General Debate. (25 September 2019)

“As a strong believer in democracy, let me reiterate my call for the respect of constitutional governance and respect for the will of the people,” Weah said

President George Weah has  “reiterated” his call for world leaders to respect constitutional governance and “the will of the people” at the end of the elections.

Addressing the UN General Assembly yesterday, the President claimed that, as a “strong believer in democracy,” his government has strengthened the National Elections Commission to “operate without undue influence.”

“As a strong believer in democracy, let me reiterate my call for the respect of constitutional governance and respect for the will of the people,” Weah said in a remark that it would be his last address at the UN if not reelected come October 10 polls.  

“The National Elections Commission has been strengthened to ensure that it operates without undue influence,” Weah added. “The Government of Liberia has taken all necessary measures to ensure a free, fair, transparent, peaceful, inclusive and credible elections.”

The President’s remarks, according to observers, are key towards ensuring the credibility of the October 10 polls, which is the fourth in the country's post war history. 

It comes amidst growing concerns among some opposed politicians that the October polls might be marred by  irregularities. The concerns have been fueled in part by remarks from Vice President Joseph Boakai  that he would not accept the results of a fraudulent election.

Boakai on September 17 — three days before the President’s remark yesterday — reemphasized his call for a level playing field and vigilant monitoring to prevent any potential irregularities as he warned that electoral misconduct would not be accepted. 

The upcoming election is fiercely contested by Boakai, Alexander Cummings, Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe and Dr. Clarence Moniba — all emerging as a formidable opponent — who pose a serious challenge to the President’s re-election bid. 

However, Weah in his UNGA address further expressed his belief that the October 10 polls have placed the country on course to ”Consolidate its democratic credentials.” The elections, the President noted, “is an opportunity to sustain” the gains the country has made in reconstruction and its development processes.

He cited the signing of the Farmington River Declaration which obligates political parties and electoral stakeholders to promote peace as an example of “political parties committed  to a nonviolent electoral process.”

“Five years ago, on the occasion of my first address to this august assembly, we informed you of a peaceful democratic transition that had just taken place in Liberia. With your support [UN], and that of our friends, we have kept the democratic torch burning,” Weah said.

“We have maintained peace and security. We have protected human rights and the rights of the media to operate peacefully and freely,” he added. “The Liberian people have enjoyed the full exercise of their constitutional rights. The country is well on course to consolidate its democratic credentials.”

Weah, speaking on global issues, noted the 78 UN General Assembly was being  convened at a time when the world is faced with many challenges; security, social, economic, political and natural disasters. 

He noted that the world leaders must exert collective efforts to confront these challenges, “with a view of resolving them in order to have a safer, secured and prosperous future.”

According to Weah, world leaders  must continue to promote global solidarity and rebuild trust in accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The SDGs, he said, was “design, require bilateral and multilateral collaborations to achieve the results we seek.”

“The theme of this year’s debate, ‘Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action on The 2030 Agenda and Its SDGs Towards Peace, Prosperity, Progress, and Sustainability For All,’ adequately captures our current global demands.

“There is a critical need to ensure that development assistance is aligned with SDG projects,” Weah said. “That is why my delegation welcomes, and supports the Secretary-General’s agenda of action to accelerate the implementation of existing agreements; including the Sustainable Development Goals, and to re-embrace global solidarity, and find new ways to work together for the common good of mankind.”

He noted that as the world deals with unprecedented global political and security challenges there are growing concerns about the proliferation of non-state armed actors, threats of nuclear escalation and extreme climate conditions. 

These challenges continue to serve as obstacles to our quest for a safe and peaceful world, the President added. 

“Reaching the 2030 vision is to ensure that the journey is secured through accountability and mutual understanding. 

“Liberia is committed to the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); they are in line with our Flagship National Development Plan - the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, which represents our resolve to achieve peace and prosperity, while addressing the structural impediments to economic growth and national development,” the President told his colleagues.