President Weah Reaffirms Commitment to Violence Free Elections, Honors Ghanaian, Gambian Presidents

MONROVIA – In his Independence Day speech, President George Manneh Weah has renewed pledge to ensure violence free and credible elections come October 10, 2023.

Speaking at a ceremony commemorating Liberia’s 176th Independence anniversary, President Weah said the theme for this year’s commemoration, “Giving our People Hope for a violence-free, fair, and inclusive Election,” serves as a reminder of the national obligation to uphold democratic values during the electoral process.

President Weah acknowledged this responsibility and expressed his determination to adhere to the principles laid out in the Farmington Declaration, which emphasizes peaceful, free, and transparent elections.

This year’s Independence Day celebration is the final to be commemorated under the President’s first term which comes to an end in January 2024.

However, it also comes as the President is opting for reelection this October. Speaking at the colorful event held at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia, he promised to prioritize the interests of all Liberians and work tirelessly to meet their needs.

“As I seek to be returned for a second mandate, I am focused on sparing no energy in ensuring that the interest of Liberians is met and their will is done,” he said.

At the event, President Weah also took the opportunity to honor two African leaders, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Adama Barrow of The Gambia. He awarded them Liberia’s highest civilian honors for their contributions to their respective countries and the region.

Other high-profile government officials including House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate Albert Chie and the Dean of the Liberian cabinet Foreign Minister Dee Maxwell Saah-Kemayah.

‘Invest in the young people’

In his speech, President Akufo-Addo of Ghana urged leaders in the subregion to invest in the well-being and future of their young population. Emphasizing the importance of education and youth empowerment, he stressed the need to shift from being reliant on raw material exports to building value-added economies.

“We must start investing in our children and young people. It is a surety to guarantee a prosperous future,” he said.

“We must transfer the structure of our economy from a raw material producing and exporting economy to a value-added economy and we must create a business-friendly environment and reward creativity and enterprise, and those who play by the rules.”

President Akufo-Addo also called for a united front among ECOWAS leaders in combating terrorism and insurgency in countries like Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Nigeria. He emphasized the importance of upholding constitutional governance and working together to ensure peace and stability in the region.

“We should all stand together to guarantee peace and stability.  This is the surest way.”

Reflecting on Liberia’s own history, President Akufo-Addo lauded the country’s progress since the signing of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord, which brought an end to the brutal civil war two decades ago. He commended the Liberian people for conducting several peaceful presidential and legislative elections, acknowledging their commitment to upholding democracy.

As Liberia approaches the upcoming presidential and legislative elections in October, President Akufo-Addo expressed confidence in the country’s ability to maintain its tradition of peaceful elections. He extended his well-wishes to the nation, hoping for a successful and peaceful electoral process.

In light of President Weah’s reelection bid and the challenges that lie ahead for Liberia, the country faces critical decisions about its future leadership and direction. With the promise of sparing no energy in serving the interests of Liberians, observers say the President’s commitment will undoubtedly be closely scrutinized by voters who seek a prosperous and stable future for their nation.

As the October polls get closer, the international community has already begun monitoring the election process to ensure its integrity and transparency. Currently, a joint team from the African Union and ECOWAS is currently in Liberia on a pre-election fact finding mission.

The outcome of the elections will determine Liberia’s path forward, as it continues its journey towards peace, stability, and progress in the aftermath of a long and devastating civil war.

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