Weah, in acceptance speech, welcomes Boakai, vows to protect rights and promote inclusivity
By Alvin A. Worzi and David S. Menjor
President-Elect, George M. Weah has raised a flag declaring no room for corruption under his administration, noting that those wishing to cheat the Liberian people will have no space in his government.
Addressing journalists, his partisans and supporters at his first victory press conference held at the headquarters of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in Congo Town, Weah said his struggle over the years to become president had a singular, but very important mission of positively impacting the lives of grass rooters who are popularly known as the ‘masses.’
“I declare publicly that transforming the Lives of all Liberians is the single mission that focuses on my presidency. Over the next few days, we will assemble the government that is committed to fighting the ideas that inspired our campaign and dedicating our time to empowering the Liberian people,” he said to a rousing applause from the audience at the conference hall table.
Expressing his heartfelt gratitude to the people of his country for reposing their trust and confidence in him to serve them as President, he pointed out that the CDC could not have succeeded had it not been their commitment to the pursuit of change.
“I am truly blessed and humble, and want to thanks my wife and my family who have stood with me over the years. I would not have done this without their support. I want to thank the people of Liberia for this historic event. Thank you for joining me to celebrate the people of Liberia, because they are the true heroes and heroines.
“We want to say thank to the collaborating parties for joining the CDC.
“We want to say a resounding thank you to all the CDCians. Thank you to all the partisans who sustained the struggle over the years, for without them, this would not have been possible,” he said.
Giving reason while he wept when the National Elections Commission (NEC) on Friday, December 29 declared him the winner of the December 26 presidential run-off election, Weah said he wept because of the lives that were lost in the struggle to achieve the long fought-for victory.
“Two days ago, the world watched me cry. I did not cry because of my victory, but for those who lost their lives during the struggles for change over the years. They will never be forgotten and may God bless their souls,” he noted.
Speaking of some of the paths he and his Vice President-Elect, Madam Jewel Howard Taylor had to go through prior to the elections, he said God had their victory destined already.
“Five months ago, I traveled to Israel for the first time. So many times I was invited to Israel but it was not possible. Five months ago before these elections, I went to Israel. We got in the square approaching the Holy Wall. I did not know what to say, I did not pray for myself. What I wrote on my paper, me and my vice, who was right there when I was writing on my paper, with my cap on my head, I stood before the Wall while she was walking. She wrote before me. And I prayed for a peaceful Liberia. I prayed for calmness. I prayed for Coalition’s victory and I prayed for long life.
“I did not ask for anything from God but the protection of our nation and our people; a victory for the Coalition,” he said, adding, “Israel is alive. We went to the tomb of Jesus Christ. I went to visit the tomb and I went in the hole. The feeling from that place made me to hold my vice president’s hand and said we have to pray. We prayed, and I can tell you that Israel is alive and Jesus is alive.”
He said he has always relied on the divine guidance and protection from God to move on with all of his life’s activities. “I have walked with Jesus throughout my life and He has seen me through. I want to bless God,” he noted. He expressed his gratitude more to the Liberian people for preferring him for the Presidency, even though there were 19 other candidates seeking the same post.
On his receipt of outgoing Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s concession call, President-elect Weah said his arms are open to Boakai and he will always count on the wisdom of the outgoing Vice President, when needed to help build the country.
Weah said his government will build on the institutional gains made by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to improve the lives of the people of Liberia and build new institutions where necessary to protect rights and promote inclusivity.
He called on Liberians residing in diaspora to come home and contribute their expertise to the rebuilding and development of their homeland.
“To diaspora Liberians, Weah said, “Come home, this is a new dispensation. We need your ideas, skills, talents and expertise so that together we can build mama Liberia.”
He lauded Liberia’s development partners for the support provided over the years, especially for the past twelve years and called on them to renew the partnership in the interest of Liberia.
“To investors,” Weah said, “Liberia is open and ready for business. We will work to relax constraints to private investment, strengthen the legal and regulatory environments and protect profits.”
He noted that other political parties who contested the 2017 elections should see themselves as winners as well.
“To other political parties,” Weah continued, “we are not enemies. We welcome you with open harms as we all strive to build our country. These elections were a contest of ideas and not a clash of personalities. Our ideas are different, but do not mean that you don’t have a contribution to make.”
According to him, there is a need to secure Liberia’s peace and work harder towards national unity and development.
“To President Sirleaf,” Weah said, “We say thank you for the peaceful transition of power that is about to take place. We promise to follow your legacy in protecting the rights of Liberians and providing greater freedoms. Your job is not yet done as we will continue to count on you to strengthen our outreach with both development partners and investors in the direction of moving Liberia forward.”
“We want to thank the people of Liberia, especially the women of Liberia who stood with us in the battle,” he said, adding, “I can truly say the best way to celebrate the Liberian people is to improve their lives through public governance.”