MONROVIA: While other Liberians, particularly some members and supporters of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) harbour misgivings about what they consider premature and hasty declaration of concession by President George Manneh Weah while the National Elections Commission was yet to announce final results, the Liberian leader continues to receive national and international acclamations for the action. The latest is President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Albert Chie, who said in a statement Tuesday that the President deserves unreserved commendations for standing up for peace and democracy. As The Analyst reports, the Grand Kru Senator has also been saluting the president-elect for his victory in the 2023 runoff elections.
Copious compliments and commendations continue to be heaped on the President of Liberia, Dr. George Manneh Weah, for the exercise of tolerance and democratic maturity following the November 14 presidential runoff election which is main rival, Amb. Joseph N. Boakai won.
President Weah called Ambassador Boakai to concede defeat and in minutes delivered a concession statement on national radio when results of the very close election were still being read by the National Elections Commission.
He later said during a church service that he had to do so in respect for the peace and stability of the country than to pursue to political ends anyhow.
Amongst dignitaries for have lauded President Weah for the bold step taken is his kinsmen and President Pro-Tempore Albert Chie.
In his official statement marking the end of the legislative and presidential elections, the Grand Kru Senator said: “To President George Manneh Weah, we express our thanks for congratulating President-elect former VP Boakai which caused the tension and anxiety which had build up in the country before last Friday’s announcement of the elections result to have dissipated.”
He said the President’s demonstration of political maturity “has paved the way for yet another peaceful transfer of power in Liberia, which peaceful transfer continues to dodge many African countries”.
The Senate leader also though all those in the Liberian Senate are national leaders and belong to different political parties, they witnessed the very competitive nature of the Presidential elections, which could have ended in chaos but all was saved because President Weah put peace or politics.
Senator Chie said final results of the presidential elections are so close that a Government of inclusion with a significant amount of appointed positions going to the CDC which ended up with a whopping 49.36% of the final votes will be a prudent way to help in national reconciliation.
Reflecting on National Anxieties
The Senate Pro-Tempore, reflecting on pre-elections concerns amongst Liberians, said around this time last year, major items on the Senate Agenda were electoral reform, funding of the October 2023 elections, security for the electoral process, credibility of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to be fair and transparent, fear for the acceptance or rejection of election results and concerns of election violence.
“I am pleased to state that most of those issues are now largely behind us and the elections are almost history, besides the few cases which are being adjudicated through the legal process,” he said with a sigh of relief.
“On behalf of the Liberian Senate, I thank the people of Liberia for turning out to vote, for the most part in a peaceful manner and all candidates for participating in the electoral process and abiding by the rules governing the process, to a large extent.”
He said the work of local and foreign observers in the process and the support of the international community are worth noting and our Government and its people are grateful.
Continuing, Senator Chief said: “Let me in a special way, on behalf of the Liberian Senate, express thanks and appreciation to the Chair, other members of the Board of Commissioners, staff, employees and the temporary workers of the National Elections Commission for a job well done in conducting the 2023 elections in a fair and transparent manner. We have always had confidence in the integrity of the men and women at NEC.”
He also on behalf of the Liberian Senate congratulated former Vice President and President of the Senate, His Excellency Joseph Nyumah Boakai and Senator Jeremiah Kpan Koung for their election as President and Vice President, respectively.
Senator Chie urged both of them to design and implement policies to heal the nation which has sustained wounds by the rigors and rhetoric of the electoral process and an evenly divided country which has witnessed an almost 50-50 Presidential Elections result.
The Senate leader also noted that as the Legislative and Presidential Elections were almost over, national focus has now turned to the processes which will lead to the final election of the officers and other leaders of the Legislature, most especially that of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro-tempore of the Senate.
“For the Legislature,” he said, “I urge colleagues to first negotiate the Leadership positions as a first resort. A full fledge competitive open election should be the last option.”
He said in keeping with the new Legislative Calendar, the Senate will be in session until Friday, December 8 to continue work and deliberation on the agenda items which we previously agreed and other items that may surface from the Senate floor or from the Executive Branch.
After that, the Pro-Temp also indicated that the Senate will return on January 15, 2024 in line with Article 32 of the Constitution to begin the first session of the 55th Legislature and get ready to participate in the inauguration of the next President on January 22, 2024 in line with Article 50.
“We expect the President to present his legislative agenda for the year to the Legislature on January 29,” he further said.