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President-Elect George Weah (middle) addressing the press and his supporters in Monrovia on Saturday / Photo: Daily Observer Liberia

George Weah declares war on corruption and poverty in Liberia

In his first press conference since his election as president, George Weah has promised that he would not tolerate corruption in his government while his focus would be the transformation of the lives of the masses.

Addressing journalists, his partisans and supporters at his first victory press conference held at the headquarters of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) on Saturday, President-Elect George M. Weah said his struggle over the years to become president had a singular, but very important mission of positively impacting the lives of the masses.

“I declare publicly that transforming the Lives of all Liberians is the single mission that focuses on my presidency. Over the next few days, we will assemble the government that is committed to fighting the ideas that inspired our campaign and dedicating our time to empowering the Liberian people,” he said to a rousing applause from the audience at the press conference.

Expressing his heartfelt gratitude to the people of his country for reposing their trust and confidence in him to serve them as President, he pointed out that the CDC could not have succeeded had it not been their commitment to the pursuit of change.

George Weah’s supporters rejoice in Monrovia after the NEC announced the result of the presidential runoff election. Liberians are hoping the new president will create jobs and improve the economic well being of the people / Photo: George Weah/Twitter

 

“I am truly blessed and humble, and want to thank my wife and my family who have stood with me over the years. I would not have done this without their support. I want to thank the people of Liberia for this historic event. Thank you for joining me to celebrate the people of Liberia, because they are the true heroes and heroines.

Giving reason while he wept when the National Elections Commission (NEC) on Friday, 29 December declared him the winner of the December 26 presidential run-off election, Weah said he wept because of the lives that were lost in the struggle to achieve the long fought-for victory.

“Two days ago, the world watched me cry. I did not cry because of my victory, but for those who lost their lives during the struggles for change over the years. They will never be forgotten and may God bless their souls,” he noted.

Speaking of some of the paths he and his Vice President-Elect, Madam Jewel Howard Taylor had to go through prior to the elections, he said God had their victory destined already.

He said he has always relied on the divine guidance and protection from God to move on with all of his life’s activities. “I have walked with Jesus throughout my life and He has seen me through. I want to bless God,” he noted. He expressed his gratitude more to the Liberian people for preferring him for the Presidency, even though there were 19 other candidates seeking the same post.

Weah said his government will build on the institutional gains made by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to improve the lives of the people of Liberia and build new institutions where necessary to protect rights and promote inclusivity.

He called on Liberians residing in diaspora to come home and contribute their expertise to the rebuilding and development of their homeland.

“To diaspora Liberians, Weah said, “Come home, this is a new dispensation. We need your ideas, skills, talents and expertise so that together we can build mama Liberia.”

“To investors,” Weah said, “Liberia is open and ready for business. We will work to relax constraints to private investment, strengthen the legal and regulatory environments and protect profits.”

“To President Sirleaf,” Weah said, “We say thank you for the peaceful transition of power that is about to take place. We promise to follow your legacy in protecting the rights of Liberians and providing greater freedoms. Your job is not yet done as we will continue to count on you to strengthen our outreach with both development partners and investors in the direction of moving Liberia forward.”

“We want to thank the people of Liberia, especially the women of Liberia who stood with us in the battle,” he said, adding, “I can truly say the best way to celebrate the Liberian people is to improve their lives through public governance.”

Weah’s formal assumption of the presidency this month will mark the first peaceful transfer of power in more than 70 years in Liberia. While Sirleaf has been widely praised for restoring peace in the country during her 12-year tenure, poverty and unemployment remain a big challenge for the West African country.

Adira Kallo

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