Former President George Weah Monday immediately departed the country after turning over to his successor Joseph Boakai.
Weah is going on a vacation, according to people in his circle. How long he will be away from Liberia is unclear.
On the eve of the end of his six-year stewardship, the 25th President addressed the nation Sunday night in his final farewell tidings to the nation. He thanked Liberians for the opportunity afforded him to serve as their president.
President Weah said he was filled with gratitude and a sense of honor for the journey embarked on in 2018 to build a united, peaceful, and prosperous nation.
“I am deeply thankful for the trust and support you have bestowed upon me and my administration during my tenure as we navigated the complexities of governance,” President Weah said, acknowledging rewarding partnership forged with citizens who were instrumental in the development and implementation of programs and policies for the good of the nation and people.
He recounted the significant accomplishments his government made in closing the inequalities in different spheres of governance, adding: “We have roads, supported free WASSE and free tuition at high schools and public universities, stabilized the macroeconomic challenges we faced in 2018, built hundred of pro-poor housing units and achieved so many fronts than we are able to list here tonight.”
In spite of the significant milestones, the President, however, said more could have been done under different circumstances.
“Regrettably,” he said, “some of the long-term projects we initiated did not reach completion during my tenure.”
The Liberian Leader said he was hopeful that the incoming government would pick up from where the projects are for the benefit of all Liberians.
President Weah also reckoned how rumors and misinformation played a huge part in the politics, while expressing hope that the country will overcome the challenge in the next six years.
President Weah didn’t only reflect on the infrastructural progress the country made under his presidency, he also equally reported on the financial standing of the Republic, in terms of what the government is leaving in the national coffers.
“I must report to you that we are leaving behind a better economy than we inherited. Tomorrow, President-Elect Joseph N. Boakai will inherit a stronger economy than I inherited,” President Weah asserted.
He continued: “There is a bigger net international reserve position than was handed me in 2018. I inherited about Ninety-Four Million, Nine Hundred and Ninety-Nine Thousand United States dollars in net international reserves, and I am handing over to the next administration a net international reserve position of Two Hundred Twenty-Two Million, Seven Hundred Thousand United States dollars. This is a 136 percent increase in net international reserve position.”
He said the total cash balance in the Government’s Consolidated accounts is United States $40.4 million (Forty Million, Forty-Four Thousand, Three Hundred Sixty-Five Dollars and Ninety Cents.”
According to him, his government inherited a consolidated cash position of about Seven Million United States Dollars In 2018, and that the incoming administration has more resources to deal with emergency macroeconomic challenges than his administration had at its disposal in 2018.
The President told the nation that he held steadfast to two cornerstones of leadership, including keeping the peace and upholding the democratic process and the rule of law.
“As you are all aware, Liberia, for the first time in over seven decades, experienced a peaceful transition of power when I assumed the presidency in 2018,” he noted, stressing that January 22, 2024 inauguration of a new administration marks another significant milestone in the country democratic journey.
President Weah emphasized that he was leaving office proud that Liberia remained at peace with itself and at peace with its neighbors during his tenure in office.
He stated: “Our Armed Forces, a force for good, were never turned against our own people, and external action was confined to international peacekeeping missions under the United Nations.”
The President said the peace sustained by Liberia’s own domestic resources is a testament to the maturity and strength of the nation.
“We protected the inalienable rights of every Liberian citizen as enshrined in our Constitution. Freedoms of speech, assembly, and expression were not only preserved but celebrated,” he further intimated.
President Weah disclosed that he was leaving office with no political prisoners or prisoners of conscience, terming it “a testament to the development of strong democratic institutions that are now not only hailed as competent and professional, but as trusted and credible”.
He said Liberia is now regarded as a pillar of democracy in West Africa and a shining example to the world, something he said was made possible through various collaborative efforts.
Though he is leaving office, the President said he would remain actively engaged with the politics of the country as standard bearer and Political Leader of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
This, he maintained, is to ensure the continuation of our strong and vibrant democracy.
He urged citizens to continue to be law-abiding and seek peaceful means to resolve differences and embrace tolerance and dialogue.