Outgoing Liberian President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf says her parting wish is that Liberians will support the new government of President – elect George Manneh Weah whose opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) won the 26 December presidential runoff against Mrs. Sirleaf’s ruling Unity Party’s candidate Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai.
“We had a contentious, highly-charged political year. I know that. But now, we must put the disunity behind us; Liberia has but one president, and one government. We must dedicate ourselves to ensuring its success. My parting wish is that you will support your new government,” Mrs. Sirleaf said in Monrovia Wednesday, 17 January in her presidential farewell statement to Liberians at her Foreign Ministry Office.
She urges that Liberians respond to the new administration’s call for action and civility, and to hold it accountable, adding that her hope is that they cherish the nation’s democracy, participate in it, respect and support its institutions, work together to address the challenges and take pride in the success.
President Sirleaf recalls that 12 years ago on 26 January, 2006, she had the privilege to address Liberians for the first time as their president when the nation was exhausted from three decades of conflict.
She says Liberians were starting from zero with the complete destruction of its national infrastructure, a collapsed economy, and a State incapable of providing services to its people. At the time, President Sirleaf notes that the nation’s collective faith and resolve were put to the test, as they have been many times in its 170 years of independence.
The outgoing President reminds citizens of the heavy burden her government inherited, adding that the painful past which “we” carry together were no match for her dear friends, Liberians.
“Never did you lose hope in yourselves, pride in our nation, or the determination to persevere. It was your energy that lifted me up each day, motivated me; gave me the drive to exhaust all possibilities for the benefit of our beloved Liberia. As I speak my last words to you as president, they are simply to say— Thank You for the honor to serve you,” she adds.
Back in 2006, Mrs. Sirleaf says many doubted “us,” not certain if Liberia’s democratic resurgence would last and if its new found peace would hold. But she asks Liberians to look around them and reflect on the two peaceful and credible successive national elections, and now, a historic transfer of power from one elected leader to another.
“Our democracy is irrevocable, it binds every future leader of this country to the will of the people,” she says, adding that Liberia today reflects the changing face of the Continent, where rule of law, human rights, good governance, and accountability are demanded by its citizens.
She describes it as Africa’s future, and that Liberia is one of its enviable democracies. The outgoing President reminds citizens that the world has changed a great deal over the past decade, and that across the globe, governments and nations are turning inward in search of resolutions to their domestic challenges.
“For a country like Liberia, this means that we need to be more self-reliant. Each of us has to take on more responsibility for the development of our country,” President Sirleaf notes.
She offers thanks to Liberia’s international partners including the donors, investors, NGO workers, humanitarians, and friends, adding that she leaves her presidency in awe of their generosity. President Sirleaf expresses gratitude that in a world with so many great needs, they chose Liberia.
“We bow our heads to our sisterly African nations, particularly those in West Africa, who granted us refuge during our days or turmoil, helped us to regain our peace, and supported us in the path towards democracy. We can now boast of unprecedented regional solidarity,” she notes.
She further recognizes Liberia’s essential partner, the government and the people of the United States of America that she says has been with Liberia through its historic journey and stood by Liberia in its difficult moments.
“There are many other bilateral partners – China, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Kuwait and the United Kingdom, to name a few. Please know that Liberia’s success is also shared by you,” Mrs. Sirleaf says.
In concluding, she also thanks civil society, the judiciary, Liberia’s Fourth Estate, religious and traditional leaders, saying through their work and prayers, they have strengthened the democracy.
By Winston W. Parley