Full Transcript: VP Joseph Boakai Concedes Election to George Weah

On Friday, December 29, 2017, Vice President Joseph Boakai delivered a speech conceding to President-elect George Manneh Weah. Boakai’s speech was remarkable because it is the first time in recent decades that a concession speech for the presidency has been given even before 100 percent of the results are announced. In 2005 and 2011, the losing candidates did not publicly concede to Pres. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Fellow Liberians, my great partisans, auxiliary and other support groups, executives and members of collaborating political parties, well-wishers and people of goodwill, members of the press:

Let me start off by thanking all of you. I express my deepest gratitude to the peace-loving people of Liberia for their determination to quench their thirst for the consolidation of our democratic entitlements.

My deep appreciation and affection go to my wife, Mrs. Kartumu Yarta Boakai, my children and relatives for enduring this tedious but worthy undertaking to the end. Indeed, I remain proud of you.

To all Liberians who supported us, I say thank you. And to those who did not support us, I also say thank you. We all are passengers on this big ship called Liberia; even though I will not be the captain of this ship, it is my fervent desire that this ship of state always sails smoothly.

More than a year ago, the Unity Party (UP) elected me as standard bearer in our national political contest. This was in addition to nearly 12 years of service as vice president and several years in public and private service, characterized by untainted stewardship to our nation.

On December 26, in the midst of the joyful tides of Christmas and the celebration of the birth of our Lord, Liberians went to the polls in obedience to their civic responsibility. We note with great pride the peaceful nature of the free expression of their will for national leadership.

At this historic crossroad, let us remain cognizant of the extent to which elections are conflict-prone and have the potential to destroy nations, disintegrate families, and undermine the sanctity of a nation. We are also quite aware of our nation’s current economic challenges.

The history of our nation is characterized by some disturbing episodes of fraudulent electoral processes and the attendant consequences. Notable among them are the presidential elections of 1927 and 1985, the outcomes of which were rejected, thereby engendering conflict which occasioned the loss of lives and a protracted fratricidal national conflict.

I refuse to subject our nation to such an experience. I reject any temptation of imposing pain, hardship, agony, and uncertainty upon our people. My name will not be used as an excuse for one drop of human blood to be spilled in this country.

My worth and ambition to serve will never push me to stoop low to violence. The truth of the matter is that what I was seeking was not power or title, but instead an opportunity to serve. My love for country is more profound and intrinsic than my desire for the presidency.

As such, a while ago, I called Ambassador George Manneh Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), to congratulate him on emerging as the winner in the presidential contest. I also availed myself to help him in any way he may find me useful to advance the good of our country.

My compatriots, friends:

I have seen the good of our country and learned that there are many good people and that ultimately good triumphs. Although we worked so assiduously for a different outcome than what the results show, my faith, value and principles dictate that l respect the will of our people as announced by the National Elections Commission.

I accordingly call on all of our supporters and well-wishers, from this day forward, to support peace and collectively join hands to continue to build our country, heal our wounds and serve our people with honesty as well as a renewed dedication and commitment.

Let us put the election and the acrimony occasioned by it behind us and close ranks to push this nation to its rightful place within the comity of nations. I value all of you and hereby urge you to demonstrate that Liberia can be a better country. As I have so frequently urged, we must subordinate our personal ambition and interests to the good of all and love for our country.

After years of serving as your vice president, I appreciate the privilege of serving with utmost dedication and integrity. I so dearly cherish my service to this country and for that let me express my gratitude to the people of Liberia for according me that noble opportunity to serve my country.

We know that our supporters in and out of Liberia are disappointed by the result of the elections. Let us, however, be consoled by the fact that we did collectively fight a good fight. We made personal sacrifices and demonstrated full commitment to the values we espoused.

Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay and I are grateful to all of you who gave your best, and your all to this campaign. We make particular mention to the chairman and members of the Unity Party, the National Campaign Team, Honorable Benoni Wilfred Urey, and all heads and members of collaborating political parties, our auxiliaries, and our youth, women, elders, and thousands of supporters and well-wishers. It was a campaign for Liberia and you fought it so very hard.

Our gratitude also goes to all our international partners who stood by Liberia during this long and arduous electoral process.

Many of you traversed this country to let our people sell our agenda to fix our roads, produce food to feed ourselves, heal the wounds inflicted over the years, unite us and develop our country.

Our campaign was characterized by many tangible projects to communities. We did our best and each of you deserve my personal gratitude. Let us continue to work even harder to promote reconciliation and integrity in government. All of you are the Liberian heroes.

I, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, a man of peace, humility, and a Liberian patriot with deep faith in God, hereby accept the results of the elections as announced by the National Elections Commission.

I congratulate the winner, Ambassador George Manneh Weah, and pray that God will guide and guard him as he embarks upon the onerous responsibility of steering the affairs of our nation. In congratulating our incoming President, I do offer a hand of goodwill, friendship and gratitude for a historic contest, conscious of the great need for country to be reconciled and nudged on the track of transformation.

To my Unity Party Partisans, I urge you to embrace all who stood with us. We will together make UP a great Party for a great country.

In so doing, let me again avail myself to help in whatever positive way I can to move this nation forward. I thank all of you for believing in me, putting faith in yourselves and loving our country. You have every reason to raise your heads high and celebrate the maturing of the democracy we have so greatly fought for this country.

We need to join hands and work together to move our country forward. As I said throughout this campaign, it has never been about me. It has always been and should always be about Liberia.

This is about our country’s cause defending. We must work to unite our people because Liberia is greater than any one of us.

I want to thank all of you for providing me an opportunity and I appreciate all that our country has given me. Let us resist the temptation of harboring malice towards anyone. We should only wish everyone God’s blessings.

And so, I urge you my supporters to go forth, showing love to others, forgiving those who have done us wrong, offering kind words to our neighbors, praying to God for his divine mercy upon our nation and working every day for our nation to be prosperous.

And in everything that we do and say, let us always think Liberia, love Liberia, and build Liberia for all.

“In union strong success is sure.”

God bless our beloved Liberia!

Zeze Ballah

Zeze made his journalism debut as a high school reporter at the LAMCO Area School System. In 2016 and 2017, the Press Union of Liberia awarded Zeze with the Photojournalist of the Year award. Zeze was also the union's 2017 Health Reporter of the Year. He is a Health Journalism Fellow with Internews.

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