MONROVIA: It seems members, supporters and admirers of President George Manneh Weah and his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) did not see the waterloo coming. Perhaps for them, with incumbency powers demonstrably leveraged during both the general and presidential elections and the runoff elections, victory was a walk in the park over rival Unity Party which comparatively did little campaigning across the country. Thus, as the runoff duel ended and vote counts commenced on Wednesday, November 15 afternoon, and rival UP was in a slight lead, CDCians, as ruling party’s partisans and supporters fondly called themselves, were still upbeat that victory was theirs. Then the count continued Thursday with some 15,000 margin in UP’s favor. At Friday’s count, though the process was yet to finish, the camel’s back was badly fractured, and all hopes became extremely thin. And at midnight hours, while some CDCians were still hopeful on account of mix conspiracy theories and far-fetched analyses, the ruling Party’s Standard Bearer took to the national media to ground arms, acknowledged defeat in a concession statement minutes after placing a call to victorious UP Standard Bearer Joseph Nyuma Boakai surrendering in battle. As The Analyst reports, the President’s concession speech was as moving and powerful as the seas of tears sweeping the country over the CDC defeat.
President George Manneh Weah on Friday, November 17 at about midnight announced his surrender in his electoral battle with former ruling Unity Party’s Standard Bearer, Joseph N. Boakai.
In a smartly written, well-measured concession statement, President Weah announced to the nation, saying: “I stand before you tonight with a grateful 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”, the President said, acknowledging that though not final, “indicate that Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai is in a lead that we cannot surpass. Therefore, a few minutes ago, I spoke with President-elect Joseph N. Boakai to congratulate him on his victory.”
He continued: “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.”
He said under his leadership, the 2023 elections were organized with a promise to the Liberian people – a promise of fairness, peace, inclusiveness, transparency, and credibility.
“I am proud to say that we have fulfilled that promise. The Liberian people have spoken, and we have heard their voice,” the Liberian leader said. “However, the closeness of the results reveals a deep division within our country.”
He therefore indicated that as the country transitions to a new administration, “we must be vigilant to the dangers of division, and must work together to find common ground.”
“Now, more than ever, unity is paramount for the love of Mama Liberia,” the President said.
In an apparent bid to soothe the tempers of the members of the Coalition for Democratic Change, his fellow partisans fondly called CDCians, Weahcians as well as party auxiliaries, first-time voters, campaign managers, and party leaders, President Weah said he understands that it was not the outcome the party had desired.
He hailed their hard work and support he acknowledged to be the backbone of the party’s campaign, expressing deep gratefulness, though they did not win the elections.
The CDC standard bearer urged his partisans and supporters to follow his example and accept the results of the elections.
“Go home tonight with the knowledge that our ideals and vision for Liberia remain strong,” he said. “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.”
He said though the CDC lost the election, Liberia has won.
“This is a time for graciousness in defeat, a time to place our country above party, and patriotism above personal interest,” President Weah said further.
“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.”
Moment of Tears
The President’s pronouncement triggered widespread weeping amongst his partisans and supporters, who were previously bracing themselves for a sudden outburst of celebrations, very sure then that victory was coming their way.
Besides the President’s innate popularity and the fact that the CDC massively, thoroughly campaigned across the country, CDCians were hopeful that both their incumbency advantage and plethora of first-time-ever development policies and tangibles are sufficient to cling to power for another six year term.
But the bad omen started in the first round of the elections when the party was held neck to neck by rival UP, which it led then with a few thousand votes margin.
How a Unity Party, which did not show equal campaign strength during the elections, managed to pin the CDC down was a misery, yet CDCians did not see the early signs nor did they see their defeat coming.
As the UP therefore led the runoff counts in the first two days, CDCians sought consolation in groundless analyses and predications that their party would overtake in the last and final count.
But that did not come as expected, and when the President had completed his concession, announcing he had called rival Boakai to concede defeat, seas of tears swept across the country.
Social media posts, group chatrooms and other forums bear testimony to doleful expressions by CDcians, some podcasts and videos showing literally weeping partisans of the CDC.
Some indicated that they were weeping because their socioeconomic conditions did not have an anchor hold during the first six years and thought a second term would do the trick.
Others contend they are crying for President Weah who was seared ceaselessly for six years without break by an opposition community that shot itself into power with lies and propaganda instead of facts.
Still other CDCians said they were disappointed that Liberian electorate ignored what they called massive development undertaken by President Weah and his administration.
Some also said they were weeping because their party leaders entrusted with the campaign resources of party did not do well; they failed to measure up with the enormous resources and confidence President Weah provided them.
President Weah, himself, has not shown an inkling of sadness—at least not openly–as the tune of his concession speech and his public appearances at the Forky Klon Church Sunday did not sound somber; he was confident and unwary.