MONROVIA – After a protracted period of speculations from various angles about his political direction in the general election this year, President George Manneh Weah on Saturday, February 4, 2023, officially stated that he will be on the ballot to recontest the presidency so as to consolidate the gains of his first term when he accepted the re-nomination proposal from his ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and solicited the support of everyone to ensure he comes out victorious at the end of the day.
President Weah who was responding to the petition read by Mr. Mulbah Morlu at the colorful ceremony held at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium attended by thousands of elated partisans and supporters, said he was seeking a re-election and was optimistic that his service to the nation for the past five years can make his case to the electorates whom according to him will definitely respond positively just as they did in 2017 when they gave him the votes ahead of other candidates in the race at the time.
“And now, as we come to the end of the term to which we were elected, it is my intention to seek a second mandate from the Liberian people to continue the good works of our hand, and to complete our unfinished but imperative agenda. I am sure that they will respond positively to our quest. After all, they did this once, based on our promise of Change for Hope. I am sure that they will have even more reason to do so, now that they have seen the “Change That You Can Depend On”.
“MY FELLOW PARTISANS, CDCIANS, WEAHCIANS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
I am therefore both pleased, and honored, to accept your nomination of me as your Standard Bearer, to lead our Party to seek a second six-year mandate from the Liberian People. I am certain that with your full support and backing, our victory is assured.
“Just over five years ago, Liberians went to the polls and participated in Presidential and Legislative elections, the results of which represented a major shift in the underlying fundamentals of the Liberian political dynamic. In an orderly, lawful, and peaceful manner, Liberians voted, in overwhelming numbers, not just for a change of administration, but for a change of regime”, he said.
The President historicized that in a quiet and determined way, the citizens exercised their franchise to bring about a Change for Hope, and voted for a change in governance that would restore hope to the underprivileged, the poor, and the traditionally disadvantaged in our society, whose needs and aspirations had never been given appropriate priority and attention by previous administrations.
He said at the end of a long campaign, when the results were announced after the run-off, it became clear that the pendulum had swung in the direction of youthful leadership, and that the paradigm had shifted in favor of change and transformation.
“It was the dawn of a new era in Liberian politics, a new era in which the Liberian electorate had given a landslide victory of over 85% to the Mighty Coalition for Democratic Change.
“As Political Leader and Standard Bearer of the winning political party, the mantle and responsibility of leading this transformation therefore devolved upon me, when I was inaugurated as the 24th President of Liberia on January 22, 2018”, he said.
He said the challenges of leadership have been enormous, but in each and every one of these challenges, “I have seen opportunities to make things better, and to bring permanent improvements to the lives of all Liberians. This transformation agenda, as captured in our national development plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), is on course, but will take some time before it is fully realized. As they say, Rome was not built in one day”.
“However, over the past five years, Liberia has made tremendous progress under our leadership. In the implementation and management of the Pro-Poor Agenda, we have taken many bold initiatives in order to bring about the transformative change that Liberia needs to grow and to prosper. Some of these initiatives have represented new strategic approaches to development, and some of them again were tried and tested formulas for nation-building. But they were all designed to work together to lift Liberia and Liberians to a higher standard of living”, he said.
“MY FELLOW PARTISANS, CDCIANS, WEAHCIANS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
Let me now say a warm and enthusiastic welcome to all those parties who are now here seeking to join our Mighty Coalition! You have come to the right place, Ladies and Gentlemen! You have come to a Party that works, a Party that serves, a Party that achieves, a Party that succeeds, and above all, a Party that WINS!!
“We also want to welcome, with open arms, all of our Partisans who once left us to seek what they mistakenly thought were better opportunities in other political parties, only to discover that there is nothing better than the CDC. This is where you belong, and this is where you will remain. Welcome back home. We love you.
“Then we want to recognize and appreciate our new young Auxiliaries, and our new First-Time coming-of-voting-age Members. We will employ your youthful enthusiasm to increase our membership and strengthen our capability to take our message to the people.
“I also want to congratulate our security apparatus, and to thank them all, both the military and para-military, for the excellent work done in maintaining peace and security throughout our tenure, without violating the human rights of our citizens”, he said.
President Weah, seeing the large crowd and finding a way to deliver his message which will resonate with the people said he will opt to speak in the Liberian colloquial and berated all those who for no reason will want to scorn him and his supporters whom according to him his detractors take to be nothing.
“They say that yor na know nathing. They also say I mysef I na know nathing. So, the very fact that you are following me, who they say I na know nathing, shows that you are stupid.
“Well, jes to prove to them that yor know sumtin, I want ask yor a question, and the answer that yor give to dis question will show whether you are clever or stupid, or whether you are smart or dumb. The question I want ask yor, enh, is this:
Six years plus six years, that how many years??? 12 years!!! Yor see… yor clever!! Yor know something! Don’t mind these people lying on you, yah? Let me ask you the question again: 6 years plus 6 years equal what? 12 years!!!
“When we came to yor to ask you to vote for us, they say your na know nathing. Yor didn’t go to school, yor don’t know nathing. Even if some of you have been to college, and graduated and all, even if some of you making straight A’s in school, the fact that you are behind me, those people say that you don’t know ANYTHING, that you are stupid to follow JorWeah.
“But yor stuck with me, yor stuck with me. And we won! We won!! And we will win again!! They keep accusing you that because yor are behind me, yor don’t know nathing. So, I just want to ask you one question again, then I will let them know whether yor clever or not: 6 years plus 6 years equal what?????? Da 12 years. You see. Yor clever, yah?
“When we went to the Legislature the other night, we mentioned some of the things that we have done over the past 5 years. We did not point out all the things we had done. The list was too long. Because, if I had tried to name all the things that I have done, we were not going to leave that place until way after 9:00 o’clock that night. I spoke for 3 hours and 17 minutes. If I was going to continue to tell the people what all we have achieved together in these five years, hey, Liberian people, we were not going to move from that Capitol Building that night.
“Call me Prezzo, we can’t help it. That’s why they just talking. But they forget to know that even if they double their socks, they can’t fit in my shoes. I don’t know for them, but we cool. I don’t know about them, but we cool. Even if they double their socks, they can’t fit in my shoe”, the President said, drawing laughter and a resounding echo of jubilation from the people.
Shifting gear, President Weah said on a more serious note he does not intend to stay beyond his second term if he is elected as the constitution forbids it.
“I want to tell you that if the Liberian people grant me a second term, they should prepare themselves to embrace another leader when that term ends. Our Constitution does not permit third terms, and so I will gladly stand down in 2030, and hand the gavel of the Presidency over to any leader that has been duly elected by the Liberian people. This is a solemn pledge that I make to you today, and it is a pledge that I am committed to honor and respect”.
“And so today, I accept your call for me to run for second term. I therefore appeal to all Liberians to join me in what you started five years ago. All “n’embêta” of the CDC coalition members, of the UP, ANC, and Liberty Party, and all other political parties, are invited to join me in taking Liberia to a new era of Peace and Prosperity. You can COUNT ON THE CHANGE that I have delivered, and I will continue to provide more transformative leadership, in the supreme interest of the Liberian People.
“And therefore, I am here today to tell the Liberian people that I will be on the ballot as a Presidential candidate in the next elections”, President Weah concluded.