President-elect George Manneh Weah has assured Liberians that the days to worry whether the country will move forward or not are over, noting that he and his team will work in unity to fulfill the promises they made to the nation.
Weah spoke yesterday at the program marking the certification of those who won the October 10, 2017 presidential and legislative elections as well as his winning of the December 26 runoff election, which was contested by him and Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai.
At yesterday’s ceremony, the NEC certificated 66 of the 73 representatives-elect, and the President and Vice President-elect.
“We will not fail you, because you have given me the opportunity to serve; and therefore, I can assure you that with Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, the 54th Legislature and all other friends coming aboard in my government, we will do your job that calls for change,” Weah said to rousing applause in the James Fromayan Conference Hall of the NEC.
“Your decision to elect me as your President is not for us, but for the forward march of our country,” the President-elect said.
Before yesterday’s ceremony, Weah had posited that his government will not be a government based on friendship, but one that is dedicated to the common good of the masses.
“The government under my leadership as president will not be for friends or my family. It will be a government for the Liberian people,” Weah assured.
Commending the NEC, Weah sees his ascendancy to the Presidency as something that speaks to the world that democracy is alive in Liberia.
“The Liberian people resolved that this time I lead them. And the good thing about me is that I am not just a man who just retired from sports, but one who has also served in other capacities. I grew up from the ghetto and moved into the real society; and the good things of life which I have used over the years is to change the lives of many of my friends and others I did not even know,” he said.
He told the gathering that his visit to Vice President Boakai on New Year’s Day was not to make news, but to acknowledge in action that the campaign was over and an effort to align with Boakai and all other well-meaning Liberians to move the country forward.
Commenting on the other 19 presidential candidates, Weah said shortly after the NEC announced him as the winner, “I called all of them for lunch, where we trashed any thoughts of hate for each other in case there was any.”
Freedom of speech
Aware of the fear of suppressing the prevailing freedoms of speech and of the press under his regime, Weah said, “whether in your offices or anywhere else, feel free to speak out your minds. Don’t be afraid, because our democracy is alive, and so we will work hard at all times to protect your rights of freedom of speech and others.”
He re-emphasized that the quest of the CDC-led government is to work for all Liberians and move the country forward, and called on Liberians to unite.
“Let this day be a day that Liberians will unite. Let this day be a day that all of us, regardless of our political differences, will sit in our offices and elsewhere to discuss issues common to us,” he said.
He called on the 54th Legislature to make good laws that will help government impact the lives of citizens.
Meanwhile, United States Ambassador to Liberia, Christine Elder, said the US government is impressed with Liberia for proving to the world that democracy exists and that people are willing to settle disputes through the court system.
The US envoy also acknowledged that those who fell short of winning the elections should rally alongside the winners to build the country.
“So many people are striving for public office but everyone cannot win at the same time. Therefore, those of you that have won should find ways and bring aboard your opponents at the polls so that they too in some way may contribute to the building process of your country,” she admonished.
“The United States Government is with you as you steer the affairs of your country. We will work with the incoming government to improve the living conditions of the citizens, who are struggling to get on par with others blessed by good leadership,” Amb. Elder said.
Farid Zarif, the UN Secretary General Special Representative, said Liberians have made not only a remarkable history, but also performed a miracle by closing the chapter on the nearly a century old record of not having a peaceful transfer of power from one elected president to another.
Zarif urged the incoming government to do well by improving the living conditions of the people, noting, “I see no reason why Liberians should be poor. You have all the resources. The minerals are under the earth, the water, the bushes yet your country is poor. Do not disappoint your people,” he cautioned the President-elect.
He commended Liberians for defying all the expectations of doomsday and expressed confidence that as citizens who love their country, Liberians are no longer prepared to resort to their dark past.
The NEC chairman, Jerome George Korkoya, said although the going was tough, he is pleased that the exercise ended by ushering in a new leadership.
Representative Hans Barchue, who spoke on behalf of the certificated representatives-elect, said they will work hard to deliver the needed developments.