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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Boakai’s Time

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Liberia will officially enter a new political era on Monday Jan. 22 when veteran statesman and diplomat Joseph Nyuama Boakai takes the oath of office at noon on the grounds of the Capitol in the nation’s capital Monrovia.

It would be the second democratic transition in post conflict Liberia. Boakai, 79.  will be replacing incumbent President George Weah after defeating the footballing great in the Nov. 14 runoff vote to become the West African nation’s next president.

The father of four was Minister of Agriculture between 1983 and 1985 and was managing director of state-owned Liberia Produce Marketing Corp. and once head of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Co.

There are heightened hopes and expectation from ordinary Liberians that the new leader will end the bad governance curse, nip in the bud, poverty and deliver prosperity on account of his long public sector service and presence within the country’s top political echelon.

“I will be voting for job creation, peace and stability, reconciliation and low prices,” Alex Gardour,44, told the Oracle News Daily on the eve of the Oct. 10 vote while  sitting in a shop on Carey Street in central Monrovia where he lives with his wife and five children and managing his microloan business.

Boakai, has pledged to unite the country after an electoral cycle that left the county deeply divided. He wants to  turn around the economy to quickly end the hardship of the inhabitants.

“We will move to reconcile the country and make sure that we all get on board to build our country,” he said in a victory speech.

“We know the cost of living in this country. We want to improve it.”

Boakai now faces the challenge of dealing with an economic crisis spawned by rising food and fuel prices that triggered riots in December. Inflation quickened to 12.4% in June, the fastest pace in more than two years, before easing to 10% in September.

Boakai, who previously served as deputy to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf between 2006 and 2018, has said he’ll boost economic growth by improving the nation’s infrastructure and increasing farm output.

“We want to quickly review and find reasons for some of the hardship, especially in areas that are essential to their livelihood.”

The new President will also need to tackle graft — Liberia ranks 142nd out of 180 nations on advocacy group Transparency International’s annual corruption perceptions index.

Between 2020 and 2023, US Treasury imposed sanctions on  nine Weah allies in cabinet and Senate them after they were implicated in cases involving dubious contracts and the diversion of public funds, human rights and bribery.

The country of 5.4 million people is struggling to recover from two civil wars that ended two decades ago and its worst ever outbreak of Ebola that peaked in 2014. Per-capita income stood at $754.5 last year, more than two times lower than the sub-Saharan Africa average, according to the World Bank. The Central Bank of Liberia says the economy will grow 5.4 this year.

                       New Beginning

At a church service in Monrovia on Jan. 12, President-Elect Joseph Nyuma Boakai pointed out that a new era is opening in Liberia and that the number of people and representatives of nations that are coming to the inauguration program on the 22nd of January is the beginning of a new period in the history of the nation.

The veteran leader said he is on the rescue mission for Liberia and will not be distracted but will remain focused for the great task of nation building, adding the victory in the 2023 election is not only for the Unity Party but for all Liberians. He emphasized that he will run the nation based on credibility, integrity and accountability and explained that in the state building process every Liberian is important no matter who you are.

The President-elect was speaking Friday during a thanksgiving service in his honor hosted by the United Intercessory Prayer Ministry, on the A. B. Tolbert Road in Paynesville.

During the Intercessory Program, President-Elect, and Mrs. Kartumu Y. Boakai were honored by the National Elders Council of the Unity Party for serving as role models and for their integrity and character in society.

Also speaking at the program, the Chairman of the Unity Party, Dr. J. Luther Tarpeh expressed gratitude to Liberians for the peaceful manner in which the elections were conducted and stressed that President-Elect Joseph Nyuma Boakai has not changed or shifted his thoughts on the way forward for Liberia, his ARREST manifesto and the issues of accountability remained the focal point of his administration, Chairman Tarpeh said.

The Incoming First Lady and Founder of the United Intercessory Prayer Ministry, Mrs. Kartumu Y. Boakai speaking at the program quoted Mother Teresa saying, “Prayer can change us and we can change things.”

Mrs. Boakai called on Liberians to reconcile with each other, accept each other, and look out for the forgotten, marginalized, widows and orphans in our society including the homeless.

She called on Liberians to work together to reduce poverty, fight drugs and the inferior quality of education in the country.

The Preacher for the Intercessory program, Reverend Peter C. Logan, Pastor of the St. Andrews Lutheran Church on the old Road preaching on the theme “The Lord is on our side,” said God is concern about Liberia and he stands in defense of us.

He said life is full of difficulties and challenges and is not free from danger, adding the President-elect has had his own time of challenges, he said they will try and fight, but the battle is the Lord’s. Pastor Logan likened JNB’s story to the story of Joseph in the Bible concluding “He kept Joseph N. Boakai for this cause.”

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