The Senate in its 80th Day Sitting on Friday, December 29, 2017, warmly congratulated two of its members, Senators George M. Weah of Montserrado County and Jewel Howard-Taylor of Bong County for winning the December 26 runoff election as President-elect and Vice President-elect, respectively.
Four Senators among 23 candidates contested the presidential elections, including Senators George M. Weah, Jewel Howard-Taylor, Prince Y. Johnson and Oscar Cooper. The president of the Senate, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai also contested the presidential elections, but lost.
In the first round, 19 of the 30 Senators pledged their supports to Boakai, who is the President of the Senate, and first partisan of the ruling Unity Party, while in the runoff, six Senators added to the list of those who earlier pledged their support to him, totaling 25 Senators. The remaining five Senators supported Senators Weah and Taylor of the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC).
In the emotional session, which marked the end of the ‘Daily Session’ of the 53rd Legislature as well as an exit of the two from their ‘county seats’ as Senators, despite the political differences, the Senators celebrated Senators Weah and Taylor for their historic ascendancy with standing ovation, thunderous cheers and photos taking.
Members of the Senate, in a rather sorrowful gestures also, shouted in unison “ohhhhhhh!” to express early exit of their two colleagues as well as reveled their respective success story.
According to records of the secretary of the Senate, there has never been any sitting Senator to be elected as president or vice president since 1847.
“The election of the two sitting Senators is a history made in the 53rd Legislature,” the clerk said.
President William V.S. Tubman served as Senator for Montserrado County and then as Associate Justice before being elected as President. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was elected Senator, during the regime of the late President Samuel K. Doe, though she refused to take her seat.
At the occasion, President Pro Tempore, Armah Z. Jallah said, “On behalf of the Senate, we want to congratulate Sen. Weah of Montserrado County and Sen. Taylor of Bong County for their election as President and Vice President respectively of Liberia. I think this is an historic achievement for the Senate.”
“By working in the Senate for three years, six years or and 12 years, you understand the challenges the country faces. Our hope is you ought to bring these problems on your tables and help our country overcome those challenges. Liberian people have huge expectations, they believe that your team can help this nation to make the progress and make it comparable to other nations,” Jallah said.
Jewel Howard Taylor, outgoing Bong County Senator and Vice President-elect, said, “I want to thank the Almighty God for the special blessings bestowed upon us and the grace given us to win this very difficult race. We promised to do do our very best with God being our helper. Thank you very much. I look forward to cordial working relationship with all of you.”
Mrs. Taylor, wife of former President Charles Taylor, replaced Vice President Joseph N. Boakai of Lofa County as the Vice President and President of the Senate, where she had served for 12 years representing the people of Bong County. She will be the first former First Lady to become a vice president and the first female president of the Liberian Senate.
At the Senate, she served on various committees, including Chairman on Education, and member on the committees on Judiciary and Ways, Means, Finance and Budget.
The President-elect, George M. Weah, said, “Campaign is over, we are colleagues, we are Liberians, it is time for us to work together to move the country forward. We gave our campaign speeches, some were good, some were not good, but it is all about Liberia now, so we hope that we work together in the interest of the Liberian people, everybody won, even the Vice President won, …. because we will give him leverage to interact with the government to bring his expertise on board, thank you very much. I am glad to be here to close this session with you people.”
President-elect Weah has been with the Senate since 2014. He was the chairman on the Committee on Youth and Sports; members on the Committees on Lands, Mines and Energy and Concession.
He is the 1995 FIFA World Player, who also played for AC Milan, Chelsea, Manchester City, PSG, AS Monaco, etc.