MONROVIA: As he moves towards the concluding stage of his nationwide campaign to solicit votes from the citizens, President George Manneh Weah elevated the optics to actualize his reelection bid yesterday, Wednesday, September 27, 2023 when he concluded his campaign tour in Lofa County, being upbeat that unlike in 2017 when he was defeated in the county, 2023 promises brighter chances as per the huge endorsement and assurances he garnered from the people.
President Weah’s conclusion of his campaign in Foya City, the home base of his main rival in the race to the Executive Mansion, Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Standard Bearer of the Unity Party (UP) is generating a lot of interesting discussion especially when his ambition seems to be energized by what he said had given him enough reasons to believe he is in the pole position to emerge victorious.
Speaking to a mammoth crowd in Foya to close his campaign in the county, President who had addressed similar rallies in Kolba and Kolahun Cities, thanked the people for turning out in their numbers “to show me a new Foya and a new Lofa” that has accepted development over tradition. He said from what he has observed since his arrival in the county and especially in Foya, he was convinced what the late Chief Momo Taylor, the then Paramount ruler of the Kissi Kingdom in Foya told him that the people do not normally vote against any government in power and for him his reelection bid will not be opposed by the people if he decided to re-contest at the expiration of his first tenure.
“When I was on a county tour I spoke to our elder here, the late Chief Momo Taylor and he explained to me about Lofa; that it is a traditional county. The interesting thing he said was that Lofa County do not vote against government and yes today I have seen that Lofa County can’t vote against government.
“So let us forget about 2017, you did well. Because you gave me some votes here in Lofa County, I did not expect to win Lofa County but I got some votes and your votes culminated to a victory. And I know 2017 is gone but Lofa will not be the same”, he said
President Weah said he was happy that the people of Lofa County are breaking away from her old tradition to embrace development which entails picking leaders through their free will based on the capacity of the leaders to deliver impactful projects that will change their lives and generations unborn.
He said for a long time he has been associating with a number of people from Lofa especially those drawn from the Kissi ethnic group and could be seen from the number of Kissi persons currently working in his government stressing that such relationship has resulted into enjoying the trust of the people.
“The people of Foya can trust me, you trusted me and you voted for Cllr. Jallah and I am asking you again to trust me to vote for Thomas Fallah and Moses Kollie and also I want for you to vote for me to give me a second mandate”, he said.
In canvassing for votes for Representative Fallah and Mr. Kollie who are contesting for legislative seats as a representative and Senator respectively, President Weah said he has known them for a long time especially Fallah whom he said was with him at the national legislature when he (Weah) was senator of Montserrado County.
He said having two of them in the national legislature will be a major boost to his government in passing and supporting legislations to back up his agenda when it is brought to the national legislature for deliberations.
President Weah dismissed the mischaracterization which he said trended on the social media that his journey to Lofa would have been a total disappointment because according to him some people have written on facebook that Representative Fallah was working in cross purpose against the President’s political ambition.
“I read on the facebook where someone wrote that “George Weah does not have sense”, that Thomas Fallah will fool me in Lofa County, that if I come and 5 persons turn out then I am lucky but I have seen more than 5 persons coming to welcome me, I have seen thousands today, the same in Zorzor.
“But again I am not thrilled by what people say. People came to our rally and there is where I will win them again. Elections are not won on facebook, they are won here because it is the Liberian people affairs.
“A man like Thomas Fallah will fool a George Weah? It is impossible. You know why? Because a George Weah took a Thomas Fallah from a plank field. I was recruiting for the people’s mandate and I saw a young kid and I brought him to the party’s congress, how can that man deceive me?”, he said.
President Weah, like any other politician who will want to seize every moment to undo their opponents, took some indirect aim at his main rival, the Standard Bearer of the Unity Party, Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai, though he had stated that he would have stayed out of talking about him in Foya, being the home of Mr. Boakai out of respect.
The president’s reference to Mr. Boakai was to send home the point that he (Boakai) has minimum impact in Foya despite many years in government in contrast to his(Weah) short time in public service “but I did more than some of them that have been in government for 40-50 years”
“I am in Foya, I am in my neighbor’s district, ehn you know my neighbor. I am in Foya today, this is my neighbor’s town so I do not want to disrespect my neighbor.
“I am a good a citizen, I built Montserrado County with the other lawmakers when I was the Senator and Chairman of the Legislative Caucus. We made sure that all the 17 electoral districts benefited from what came out from the government.
“When my neighbor was Vice President, Rehab was the same. The only paved road in Rehab was the one that was passing around my house to get on the main street, mud was all over the place. When I became President, even the street in front of my neighbor’s house we paved it. The road leading from the house when the cars come they slide down; they were even packing cars in the yard for LD 10 to LD 20.
“Today that road is set. Today this is a road here in less than 50 years. I have been in government for 9 years now, but look around you, look at the road, look behind you and the only reason is that I made a commitment to an older man, old man Momo Taylor who told me George go and sleep when the time comes, we will vote for you, we can’t vote against government. And I said to him, anything you want for me to do I will do it. I am not surprised because Thomas Fallah is a trusted son”,he said..
He said he has absolute confidence and trust in the people of Lofa County to vote him in ahead of any other presidential contenders including Mr. Boakai based on tangibles, stressing it will be because of the solar lights, the free WASSCE, free scholarship, the roads, the peace we have kept and sustaining among others.
On the level of underdevelopment in Lofa County which according to him is lamentable because the county has produced top government officials over the years such as Mr. Boakai and saw no reason for “the county to be abandoned like this” and promised to reverse the trend when reelected.
“People of Foya I passed on your road, this one is not a joke. Some of your children were President of the Senate, some of them were Vice President. You can’t tell me if a senator can build 20 kilometers of pavement of road, a president of the senate cannot do it in his little village here? Are you guys kidding me?
“We brought solar lights here but you want to tell me someone who was VP cannot afford it, is it that you are telling me it is not possible?
“Someone who was a VP that has his own budget, you want to tell me he could not fix it? Are they the ones you call rescuers? No, they are not rescuers, they are resting team. They are resting because they are tired.
“How can someone who was rescued by George Weah rescue the country? Is it possible? Are you kidding me?
“Lofa has to be different, Foya has to be different moving forward. 50 years in government and you are not showing any mark. If Foya will change, it has to rethink, Foya has to change and it is high time you embrace change and development ahead of tradition”, he said
Earlier, the rural women of Lofa County in Foya while endorsing him presented gifts to the President which included gowning him and his wife, the Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, Chief of Protocol Nora Finda Bundoo and Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf. A white goat was also presented to him.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah who hails from Foya speaking through Robert Sammie, the National Chairman of the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), a constituent member of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) said he was excited for the visit of the President and while assuring him of getting votes to ensure his reelection, also presented two cows to the President for celebration ahead of “the imminent victory ahead”
Representative Thomas P. Fallah who played the role as chief host and the leading campaign contact person for the President in Lofa County showed the leadership role expected of him with the way the program was organized and executed.
Thousands of citizens were mobilized to Foya from far and near to give the rally a befitting gathering going towards the October 10, 2023 general elections.
“Mr. President, I want to welcome you to Foya and to assure you that the task. You handled over to me is being executed. We have the capable team that will deliver on Election Day.
“We have auxiliaries under the banner Women of Thomas Fallah Auxilliaries for the Reelection of President George Manneh Weah” number 240 and membership of 18,000 well documented with voter’s cards, contact numbers and information.
“There are also the male auxiliaries. There are 39,000 registered voters in this district and I can assure you Mr. President that on Election Day, not less than 20,000 voters will cast their ballots for you”, Fallah said.
He told the President that the people have seen light and are in line to vote for development over tradition “because they are tired of being lied to and kept in perpetual backwardness. He said the overwhelming support of the people can be seen from the huge turnout especially the chiefs and elders who because of other reasons could not publicly engage in politics.
Fallah who spoke on behalf of all the chiefs and elders based on their instruction told the President that their support was unbending and hopeful that the second term of the President will bring meaningful development to the people of Lofa.
One of the highlights of the program was the dedication of the ultramodern city hall constructed by Representative Fallah, which brought a decent facelift to the city of Foya.
President Weah and entourage are expected to depart Lofa County today for Gbarnga, Bong County for the next phase of the campaign that will also take them to Nimba County and the Southeast of the country.