President Joseph Nyumah Boakai reminds UP partisans and Liberians generally that their plan or desire to fix the ills inherited must proceed with realistic expectations.
President Boakai says being fully aware of the enormous task ahead, the UP-led government’s rescue mission comes with no false assurance, but will act in the first hundred days of the administration and then diligently pursue with the mission.
“The experts uncovered for us cogent analyses of our national condition. We can no more attempt to bury our heads in the proverbial sand. We see hard times, we see disfunction, we see culture of impunity, we see corruption in high and low places. It is these and similar conditions that we have come to RESCUE”, President Boakai said here on Monday, 22nd January 20233 immediately after he was sworn in office as 26th President of Liberia on grounds of the Capitol.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by several dignitaries and global leaders, including the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda-Thomas Greenfield, a Vice Premier from the People’s Republic of China, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio, and former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, among others.
President Boakai explains that he began his quest for the presidency because something seemed wrong with Liberians, and the country’s leadership, noting that rather than the positives, Liberians were accentuating the negatives about their country and about one another.
“We were initiating false starts, building on poor foundations. We were deepening our differences, creating new social fault lines. Inclusive and accountable governance was at an all-time low. We created a culture of unfinished business, engaged in ad hoc undertakings, making this behavior the “new normal.” We were chevalier about the rule of law. We lowered standards in many domains of our common life as a people. We seem to have lost our way, lost hope.”
Mr. Boakia assures that he has come to rekindle hope, to reposition the country on a national pathway and to remind all citizens that though the accident of national births has made Liberians a diverse people, they must employ their Liberian citizenship to become a united people, “for only a United people”, he underscores, “can build a nation.”
Responding to the rhetorical question where do Liberians plan to take the country in the next six years, he rallies the country refocus on its political energies saying that with the electoral campaign now behind, “I embrace all my fellow Liberians at home and in the diaspora. One of the good things brought to light by the campaign, and facilitated by social media, is that Liberians from all walks of life had a chance to engage a “national conversation” about our past, our present, and our future prospects. We learned together what is wrong with our country, and hopefully what is right as well.”
President Boakai urges Liberians to recalibrate to “restore the years the locusts have eaten” by accentuating the positive about the country and about their fellow citizens.
“As we think, love, and build Liberia, let us take this state of mind to the business of national healing and reconciliation, both the old and new emerging social cleavages. Let us restore inclusivity, transparency, and accountability to governance at all levels of our society, including government.”
He stresses that Liberians must discourage the culture of unfinished business, doing things in a haphazard and unserious manner to restore hope individually, and collectively, adding “We must also restore dignity and integrity to public service – livable remuneration and pension schemes to civil servants and foreign service government workers. We must restore respect for the rule of law, and respect for officers of the law across our three branches of government.
President Boakai, in his late 70s, notes the twenty-five Liberian Presidents before him have each made their contributions to the common patrimony, so Liberians must build upon their strengths and correct their shortcomings.
“I thank President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, my former boss for her stewardship when the country needed to come out of the ruins of war. I commend my immediate predecessor, President George Weah, for living up to the dictates of our Constitution and laws in ensuring the smooth transfer of power. The people wanted change, and we have no option but to do the people’s bidding.
However, the President’s inaugural speech was aborted by heat exhaustion, as the temperature here went very high despite the occasion held outdoor on the grounds of the Capitol. Story by Jonathan Browne