The incumbent President of Liberia, George Weah has towed the path of peace after he was defeated in the country’s history-making presidential run-off election.
The former world football best player fell short following a tight race between him and former vice president Joseph Boakai.
The toe-to-toe affair had seen President George with a slim lead of 43.8% of the vote while Mr Boakai gave him a close marking with 43.5%, in the first round of elections on October 10th.
To emerge victorious, a candidate must garner more than 50% of the votes. So, the country’s Election Commission fixed November 14th for the run-off elections which Mr Joseph edged him with just over 20,000.
After learning of his fate, President George was said to have placed a call to his incoming successor – Boakai to congratulate him. Also, both candidates attended a church service on Sunday Monrovia, where they addressed their supporters, George said: “We would not have been in church today if I had done what others wanted me to do,” said the president, who will step down in January. Adding that: “We cannot also blame ourselves for not getting victory, it is a learning curve.”
Weah’s departure from the government house and Boakai’s entry have been widely discussed in the media across Africa, including in Nigeria. While some people have praised Weah for conceding the election, others have pointed out that this is not uncommon in Africa.
His gesture is said to be similar to that of the former Nigeria president, Goodluck Jonathan, who wanted a second term in 2015 but accepted defeat when he lost out to former president Buhari in 2015.
Meanwhile, speaking to the BBC about his aims before the election, Mr Boakai explained that he wanted to focus on fighting corruption, boosting agricultural production, bringing down the cost of food, and improving the country’s roads.
He said: “Our people need to have a country that they can call their own, a country that they can respect and corruption has been an impediment.”
He promised there would be a “sword drawn against corruption”.
“In the first 100 days, we are going to make sure that no vehicle will be stuck in the mud in the country. That will affect the price of food and the health condition of the people.”
After losing the 2017 election, Mr Boakai was determined to try again.