On January 22, 2018 at 4:30 pm the entire country stood still, as President George Manneh Weah took the oath of office, becoming the 24th elected President of Liberia.
The event was Liberia’s first democratic transition from one elected President to another in more than 72 years.According to official results released by the national elections Commission, Mr. Weah received 61.5 percent of the total ballots cast in the run-off presidential election conducted on December 26, 2017 against Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s (38.5 percent) of the ex-ruling Unity Party.
George Weah was pronounced the winner on December 28, 2017 by the National Elections Commission.Few weeks later on 22 January 2018 the grounds of the Samuel K. Doe Sports Stadium in Paynesville and the entire Monrovia, including elsewhere across the country Liberians converged in celebration joined by foreign guests, including Heads of States and dignitaries to grace the historic occasion.
President Weah officially marked his first year in office Tuesday, January 22, 2019 as citizens lined the streets in Monrovia in outburst of cheers and celebration for the President’s first 12 months in office.
Volleys of cheery tidings filled the air with kids walking along, endeavoring to edge on the President to touch him or simply embrace the leader they love to see. There was running fracas with presidential guards as an official thanksgiving service held at the newly constructed cathedral of the Isaac Winker’s Dominion Christian Fellowship Central Church along Tubman Boulevard started.
One year after, this article reflects on some of the achievements the 24th President of Liberia has made on his six years journey in the Presidency.
President Weah is ambitiously leading the construction process of 400 kilometers of roads across Liberia, including Fish Town/Harper Road, Greenville/Barclayville, Buchanan/Cestos, Rivercess/Sinoe, and the Ganta/Sanniquille and Zwedru/Ganta, respectively.
Other roads under construction include the Gbarnga/Voinjama highways, Bishop Michael Francis, Chugbor road. The Doe Community- Clara Town road has been completed, so have the Rehab Community road, Jamaica Road to Logan Town Broad Street on Bushrod Island, Streets of Central Gbarnga, Fair Ground Road in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, Tusa Field Community Road, and Johnsonville – Pipeline Community roads.
President Weah is not only interested in roads, but has invested resources in the Coastal Defense Project in New Kru Town, saving D. Tweh Memorial High School and other communities from deadly sea erosion, the first ever to be built since the foundation of the Liberia besides the ongoing 14th Military Hospital along the Robertsfield Highway in Margibi County.
According to officials of the Ministry of National Defense, the ambitious project, first in the history of Liberia is nearing completion. The President is also fast tracking the multi-million Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, Monrovia. The project was initiated by President Weah’s predecessor, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
The Coalition for Democratic Change-led government has revamped the contract with plan to construct an overhead bridge to reduce traffic congestion along the Congo Town-Central Monrovia route.
Being father of the nation, Presidennt Weah is concerned about the issue of illiteracy here, he has introduced a tuition-free education for all public universities and colleges across the country. This means all Liberian children may now enroll at any government-owned higher institutions of learning without paying a dime. The essence of striving to brighten the future of youthful generation of the country to enable them compute with their peers globally is now in progress.
Not satisfied with the tuition-free education campaign, the former African, European and World Best Footballer of the Year embarked on providing scholarly scholarships to 18 doctors to pursued specialized training in the health sector in foreign countries. The CDC-led government has also increased health workers’ salaries, pushing the health sector as the highest paid, among civil servants for now.
As a means of encouraging secondary students to go for nothing, but the best, President Weah, himself a Devry University Master’s Degree earner, dished out scholarships for high-performing 12th graders from the 2017/18 West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE), sending some of them to China for further studies, while paying students’ WASSCE and WAEC fees.
On the economy, the Weah administration has provided currently placed over US$2 million loan at the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) for small businesses, which is squarely intended to benefit Liberians only.
The President maintains a zero tolerance on corruption, which has provided him a solid foundation in fighting corruption with the recent arrest of a sitting managing director for bribery. Currently, the senior team at the National Housing Authority is facing a legal battle for soliciting bribes.
President Weah is also leading a serious battle against narcotics and dangerous substances bent on destroying youth of Liberia, the nation’s future leaders. His government has made several arrests of users and impounded substances for subsequent destruction.
Not forgetting his humble beginning where he rose from to conquer the world through sports, he personally re-roofed homes of residents in Gebriatal, Clara Town, including erecting street lights from Duala to St. Paul Bridge, and construction of the Ganta-Yekepa Road for the first time in Nimba County, among other achievements in his first year in office.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor