Former ace footballer George Weah will be sworn-in as Liberia’s President on Monday after defeating the country’s Vice President in a re-run election.
Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC) presented certificate of return to the President-elect, George Weah; Vice President-elect, Jewel Howard-Taylor, and the newly elected members of the House of Representatives.
Chairman of NEC, Mr Jerome Korkoya, performed the ceremony at the commission’s headquarters in Monrovia on Thursday evening.
According to local media, 66 out of the 73 elected lawmakers were certificated, leaving out seven who are facing legal challenges over their election in the Oct. 10 general polls.
The new leaders will be sworn in on Jan. 22, which is the third working Monday of January as stipulated in the Liberian Constitution.
Speaking at the occasion, the NEC boss reminded the newly elected public officers of the huge responsibility that comes with the mantle of leadership entrusted to them.
“The certificate we are presenting to you represents conferral of legitimacy to pronounce you to the world as the duly elected officials.
The final tallies indicate that Weah of CDC polled a total of 722,185 votes representing 61.5 per cent, while Vice President Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party (UP) finished with 457,579 or 28.5 per cent.
“”It is also an embodiment of the power, trust and aspiration reposed in you by your various constituents and the people of Liberia as a whole.
“Expectations are high to change the people’s living conditions through the laws, policies and programmes of the incoming government.
He acknowledged the contributions of international partners including ECOWAS, AU, USAID, EU and UNDP, which led to the successful conduct of the elections.
Korkoya expressed appreciation to all contestants in the elections for respecting the rule of law by exploring judicial means to seek redress after the elections.
The president-elect, George Weah, described his election as a unifying factor in the country. He will take over from President -Ellen-Johnson-Sirleaf
Weah pledged to fulfil his campaign promised of improving the lives of Liberians, calling on members of the legislature to put aside politics and work in the interest of the country.
“I went to Boakai (outgoing Vice President) not to make news but because campaign is over and it is time to do the Liberian people’s work.
“Our quest is for all Liberians to work together to move our country forward; in the interest of the people let’s work,” he said.
The president-elect reiterated his assurance of greater freedoms, saying he would not interfere with the tenants of democracy, especially political dissent.
“I am your friend but my interest is the Liberian people.
“Any attempt to promote clampdown on the political rights of fewer Liberians has the propensity of disuniting the country,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the elected lawmakers, the current Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hans Barchue, promised to work with the CDC-led government.
In separate remarks, members of the international community present at the occasion restated their commitment to support the incoming administration.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Farid Zarif, lauded Liberians for their peaceful participation in the electoral process.
Zarif called on the new administration to build on the gains made under the leadership of outgoing President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
He urged the new government to properly manage the country’s abundant natural resources to improve the lives of Liberians.
“Let me quote you Mr. President-elect that it doesn’t make sense that Liberia is so rich, yet its people are so poor.
“That is the beginning of another vision. Let’s bring the two things together,” he said.
51-year-old George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah is a retired professional footballer who played as a striker.
After beginning his career in his home country of Liberia, Weah spent 14 years playing for clubs in France, Italy, and England. Arsène Wenger first brought him to Europe, signing him for Monaco in 1988.
Weah moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 1992 where he won Ligue 1 in 1994 and became the top scorer of the 1994–95 UEFA Champions League.
He signed for Milan in 1995 where he spent four successful seasons, winning Serie A twice. His most notable goal in Italy saw him run the length of the field against Verona.
He moved to the Premier League towards the end of his career and had spells at Chelsea and Manchester City, winning the FA Cup at the former, before returning to France to play for Marseille in 2001, and subsequently ending his career with Al-Jazira in 2003.
At the international level, he represented Liberia at the African Cup of Nations on two occasions, winning 60 caps and scoring 22 goals for his country.
He became involved in politics in Liberia following his retirement from football.
He formed the Congress for Democratic Change and ran unsuccessfully for President in the 2005 election, losing to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the second round of voting.
In the 2011 election, he ran unsuccessfully as Vice President alongside Winston Tubman. Weah was subsequently elected to the Liberian Senate for Montserrado County in the 2014 elections.
Weah was elected President of Liberia in the 2017 election, defeating the incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai