Liberia: President-elect Boakai Pleads for ‘National Unity’
…. “I call on all Liberians to join hands to exploit the full potential of a country of promise,” Boakai said in his address to the nation yesterday.
President-elect Joseph Boakai, is pleading for “national unity,” saying “collaborative efforts” are needed to realize the full potential of the country, which is "full of promise.”
Boakai, in his first speech since he was announced the winner of the November 14 runoff election, has been under pressure to form a government of “national unity” due to the closeness of the election, which he won by less than a two percent margin, prevailing with 50.64% against incumbent President George Weah, who received 49.36%.
“I call on all Liberians to join hands to exploit the full potential of a country of promise,” Boakai said in his address to the nation yesterday. “We must join in the transformation that will lift our people from the many economic and social inequities and injustices they have been subjected to for many years.”
While acknowledging the intensity of the electoral battle, Boakai emphasizes the need for Liberians to not “allow politics to define” the country but rather the collective desire for a better Liberia, which he believes “future generations” deserve.
He adds that he is prepared to confront the challenges of rebuilding the country head-on, ensuring an equitable future for all Liberians. The President-elect attributes Liberia’s struggles not to poverty, but to a pervasive issue of “bad leadership” across various sectors, promising to address and rectify economic, social, and political disparities.
“There are no green Liberians or blue Liberians, western Liberians or southeastern Liberians, north-central Liberians or southern Liberians. There is only one Liberia, citizens of the oldest republic in Africa! All of us have won,” Boakai said. “What has happened in our democracy over the last 4 days is a win for Liberia and will be a legacy for us as a people, marked in posterity forever. We will no longer be known for war but for the peace that has prevailed in our country.”
“I promise to extend development across this country, including building the roads of our beautiful region of southeastern Liberia, which for years has suffered the fate of rural neglect. So, I implore all Liberians, irrespective of their ethnic background, county, religion, and political party affiliations to join us on this journey to rescue our country.”
According to Boakai, he will lead by example, and his administration would benefit all Liberians, stating that the “state” would no longer be “used as a predatory tool by and for a few to the detriment of the majority of the people.”
He adds that his administration would promote broad participation “of the people,” which will include Liberians in rural communities, in the country’s decision-making process.
The President-elect believes that his election was a clear message from the “people of Liberia” for the need for a responsible and accountable government, which he says he will establish as well as address the major problem of corruption in government.
“I promise to lead by example! I promise a Liberia that will benefit all Liberians,” Boakai adds. “The Liberian state will no longer be used as a predatory tool by and for a few to the detriment of the majority of the people.”
“You, the people of Liberia, have spoken, and words are inadequate to express my feelings of gratitude to you. You have placed your trust in me to lead with the demand for the change you want. And that change begins now,” he said.
The just-ended elections, according to the President-elect, were a watershed moment in the history of Liberia as it demonstrated the power of the “Liberian people and their commitment to the democratic process.
He adds the elections also showed the progress Liberia has made since the end of the war “to maintain our peace” while consolidating the foundations of “multiparty democracy.”
“We have signaled to the region and the world at large that we will be a great example of a working democracy that many will emulate.
“We must, therefore, embrace each other, be magnanimous in victory and gracious in defeat. Politics should not define us,” he said. “What should define us is our collective resolve to transform our country for the good of everyone, including future generations.”
The President-elect has, however, disclosed that in the coming days, he is expected to announce members of a transitional team who will work with the outgoing government “for a smooth and peaceful transition.”
Boakai adds that part of his teamwork will include assessing the current state of affairs, determining the necessary actions to respond to challenges, building on any progress, and preventing any disruptions to a smooth and successful transition.
The President-elect’s position comes as the outgoing Weah administration has issued an executive order establishing a Joint Presidential Transitional Team to ensure a smooth transfer of power.
The President and President-elect, according to the executive order, are expected to co-chair the team, which includes officials of the outgoing and the incoming administrations.