Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 November 2023:
Liberians, especially their President George Weah, have today shown President Bio of Sierra Leone that brutality and stealing of the people’s votes have no place in a civilised and democratic nation.
Yesterday, in a welcoming and rare display of magnanimity and grace by an Africa leader, President George Weah accepted losing presidential run-off election held last week, after the first-round results showed that neither he, nor the opposition candidate had won an outright 50% majority at the polls.
Conceding defeat even before all the results had been counted, President Weah who must now be considered for the Mo Ibrahim Africa Governance Award, if not a Nobel Prize Award, said through the Office of the President yesterday:
“The President of the Republic, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah has congratulated Joseph N. Boakai as winner of the 2023 presidential runoff election. President Weah called Mr. Boakai via telephone following the announcement of provisional results by the National Elections Commission (NEC) on Friday, November 17, 2023. The Liberian Chief Executive said Liberians are the winners of the elections and called on his support to accept the results.”
In June this year, Presidential and general elections were held in Sierra Leone. The results seen by local and international election observers and verified by the American government, clearly showed that neither President Bio, nor the opposition candidate Dr Samura Kamara had won the election.
But Sierra Leone’s Electoral Commissioner – Mohamed Konneh who is a known financial supporter of President Bio’s ruling SLPP party, went ahead and announced President Bio the winner.
Unlike Mohamed Konneh of Sierra Leone, who is being accused of rigging the elections in favour of President Bio, Liberia’s Chief Electoral Commissioner – Davidetta Brown without fear or favour, had shown moral courage and fortitude by announcing last month that no candidate had won the Liberian presidential election, and therefore ordered a re-run.
Yesterday, Davidetta Brown declared opposition leader – Joseph Nyuma Boakai the winner and next President of Liberia.
In reply, President George Weah did not threaten war or violence on the people of Liberia, nor ordered his Presidential guards to take to the streets along with his well-armed party agents. He accepted defeat gracefully, unlike President Bio who prior to the elections had ordered the killing of dozens of opposition supporters and threaten war if he was not returned winner of the election.
President Weah told the people of Liberia that he has congratulated his opponent – Joseph Nyuma Boakai whom he described as the President-elect of Liberia. Weah has called on all his supporters to accept defeat and go about their normal business, emphasising that “the result is a victory for all Liberians”.
Today is a day for Africa to celebrate democracy and pour shame on the likes of President Bio of Sierra Leone who is willing, capable and has demonstrated time and again, that he can take the lives of poor unarmed citizens (Photo above), whose only crime is to peacefully assert their democratic rights in Sierra Leone.
The international community in Sierra Leone must also be held accountable for their moral failure to hold President Bio personally responsible, for the killing of over two hundred unarmed citizens of Sierra Leone since coming to power in 2018.
President George Weah who came to power after winning the 2018 elections on his manifesto promise to fight corruption in Liberia and tackle the country’s economic woes, has now been rejected by the people of Liberia.
This is no doubt what the people of Sierra Leone have emphatically done to President Bio of Sierra Leone, who has refused to publish the results of the June 2023 elections in order to criminally conceal his defeat.
What a striking moral contrast between President Bio of Sierra Leone and President George Weah of Liberia
The 78-year-old Joseph Boakai (Photo above) to whom Weah has conceded victory, had previously served as vice president for twelve years under former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Soon he will be sworn-in as President of Liberia.
With more than 99 percent of the ballots counted, Mr. Boakai has polled 50.89 percent of the declared results, with George Weah polling 49.11 percent. Only 50% is required to win outright.
You can read the transcript of his speech below:
MY FELLOW LIBERIANS, DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
I stand before you tonight with a heavy heart, but with the utmost respect for the democratic process that has defined our nation. As your President and the leader of the Coalition for Democratic Change, I want to address you on the outcome of the run-off elections held on November 14, 2023.
The results announced tonight, though not final, indicate that Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai is in a lead that is insurmountable. A few moments ago, I spoke with President-elect Joseph N. Boakai to congratulate him on his victory and to offer my sincere commitment to working with him for the betterment of our beloved Liberia.
I extend my heartfelt congratulations to President-elect Boakai, his supporters, and his campaign team. May his presidency be marked by success for all Liberians, and may our nation prosper under his leadership.
Tonight, as we acknowledge the results, let us also recognize that the true winners of these elections are the people of Liberia. Through your peaceful and orderly exercise of your constitutional right to vote, you have once again demonstrated your commitment to the democratic principles that bind us together as a nation.
Under my leadership, these elections were organized with a promise to the Liberian people – a promise of fairness, transparency, and credibility. I am proud to say that, for the most part, we have fulfilled that promise. The Liberian people have spoken, and their choice will be honored and obeyed.
At this juncture, I would like to congratulate the National Elections Commission for a job well done. You have earned the respect of all Liberians, our foreign partners, international observers, and the world at large for completing this difficult task to the satisfaction of all stakeholders, including the contesting parties.
However, the closeness of the results reveals a deep division within our country. As we transition to the new Boakai administration, we must be vigilant to the dangers of division and work together to find common ground. Now, more than ever, unity is paramount for the love of Mama Liberia.
To the members of the Mighty Coalition for Democratic Change, fellow partisans, CDCians, Weahcians, auxiliaries, first-time voters, campaign managers, and party leaders, I understand that this is not the outcome we desired. Although we did not emerge victorious, your hard work and support have been the backbone of our campaign, and for that, I am deeply grateful.
I urge you to follow my example and accept the results of the elections. Go home tonight with the knowledge that our ideals and vision for Liberia remain strong. We are a young movement, and our time will come again. Tomorrow, resume your daily activities in a normal way, and come and join me at our party headquarters to reflect on our journey and plan for our return to political leadership in 2029.
MY FELLOW LIBERIANS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
Tonight, the CDC has lost the election, but Liberia has won. This is a time for graciousness in defeat, a time to place our country above party, and patriotism above personal interest. I remain your President until the handover of power, and I will continue to work for the good of Liberia. Let us heal the divisions caused by the campaign and come together as One Nation and One United People.
May God bless Liberia, and may we continue to strive for a brighter future together.
Thank you, and good night.