Former international football star Georges Weah speaks in the Liberian capital Monrovia on December 30, 2017, the day after Liberia’s elections board officially certified Weah as the winner of the nation’s presidential election, following a tally of all results.
Weah, 51, is due to be sworn in on January 22, taking over from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who in 2006 took over the country founded by freed US slaves.
Full text below;
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen
Madam Jewel Howard-Taylor, Vice President-elect of the Republic of Liberia
Today is a day to give thanks. Let us begin by lifting our eyes to heaven to thank God Almighty for the wonderful blessings He has bestowed upon beloved our country. It was God who inspired the people of Liberia to vote change to believe that with this change will come the hope of … in a most prosperous Liberia future.
I thank God that among so many presidential candidates, I was chosen to be the 24th President of the Republic of Liberia.
I am truly blessed and humbled by this divine favour. I thank my darling wife, Clar Weah, and my family who have stood by me over the years, especially in the last 13 years of political struggle. Through the darkest moments of this struggle, my wife and children have remained my pillar of strength.
I would not have been able to do this without their untiring support and advice.
I cannot summon the words to thank the people of Liberia who have made this historic day possible. What the people of Liberia have delivered for the country cannot even be described in words.
So, I will ask Liberians here and those throughout the country under the sound of my voice to thank the Liberian people by clapping for one minute.
I thank you for joining me to celebrate the Liberian people. They are the true heroes and heroine of this victory.
Let me also thank the leadership, partisans, supporters and sympathisers of the Coalition we say a big thank you, with special thanks and appreciation going to the Honourable Senator of Nimba County, Prince Yormie Johnson.
To the leadership and partisans of the Liberia People Democratic Party, we say thank you. To the leadership and partisans of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) we say thank you, and of course to our own, Congress for Democratic Change, we say a resounding thank you.
CDCians have sustained the struggle over the years, and without you this victory would not be possible. Two days ago, the world watched me cry. I did not cry because I won. I cried because of the many partisans who lost their lives in the struggle for change.
They will never be forgotten. Please join me in a moment of silence in memory of the fallen heroes of our revolutionary struggle.
We truly thank all Liberians especially the women of Liberia who stood with us in the battle. For that, I can truly that the best way to celebrate all Liberians is to improve their lives through the instrument of pro-poor public governance. I declare publicly today that transforming the lives of all Liberians is a singular mission and focus of my presidency.
Over the next few days, we will assemble the government committed to fighting for the ideas that have inspired our campaign, and dedicated to delivering for the Liberian people. Those chosen to serve will and must be dedicated to the ideas of grassroots, social transformation.
Person looking to cheat the Liberian people through the menace of corruption will have no place in my administration. We will build on the institutional gains under Madam Sirleaf to improve the lives of our people. We will build a new institution where necessary to protect rights and engender inclusion among all our people.
To our Diaspora Liberians, we say come home. This is a new dispensation. We need your skills, your ideas, your expertise and talents so that together we will build our common patrimony. To our development partners, we say a big thank you for the support you have provided over the last 12 years.
As we embark upon this transition, we call for renewal and strengthening of this partnership. We know that aid flows have declined in the last few years. In our view, this decline is not good for the current transition – at least in the short term. While we work to grow the Liberian economy and expand our revenue base, medium-term aid would be needed to support projects that would be critical to our long-term growth.
To investors, we say Liberia is open and ready for business. Over the long term, private investment will be our key strategy to delivering transformation. We will work to relax constraints to private investment; strengthen the business, legal and regulatory environment, and protect business profits.
Fellow partisans, I received a concession call from His Excellency Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai. I thanked him and said that in the interest of our people, we will work together. He is a statesman and also my neighbour. If I have to walk over to greet and get advice from him, I will. That is what neighbours are for.
To other political parties, we are not enemies. We welcome you with open arms as we all strive to build our country. This election was a contest in ideas and not a clash of political personalities. Our ideas have prevailed but that does not mean you do not have a contribution to make. We need to bring our country together to secure our peace and work harder towards national unity and development.
To the iron lady of African, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, we say thank you for the peaceful transfer of power that is about to take place. Yours is a legacy in democratic empowerment, and we promise to follow your footsteps in protecting the rights of Liberians and providing even greater freedom.
We will build on the foundation you have laid to achieve more for all of our people. Your job is not yet done, Madam President, as we will continue to count on you to strengthen our outreach to both development partner and investors, all in the direction of moving our country forward.
Let us all work hard to build our country; only then will the creed in our national anthem ring true:
In union strong success is sure
With God above
Our rights to prove
We will over all prevail