Weah’s sportsmanship at play again in defeat: flies high flag of supreme interest of Liberia

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“He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning”. (Daniel 2:21).

When he arrived on the Presidential scene six years ago, I wrote an eulogizing piece in which I extolled his illuminating talents on the football field over the years that he allowed his God-given talent to lead him into global iconic status, and how he warmed his way into the Presidency of Liberia via the massive support from his people.

As destiny has programmed it, and thanks to the benevolence of ECOWAS, I found myself in Liberia as an International Observer during the first round of voting on October 7, 2023.

Koku Anyidoho with Professor Attahiru Jega, Head of ECOWAS Observation Mission to Liberia, & immediate-past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria.

Of course, the inability of any candidate to swing 50+1% of votes in the first round, led to the run-off between incumbent President George Weah and his closest rival, Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai, who is former Vice President to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

In conceding defeat on, November 17, 2023, ahead of the official announcement after the November 14, 2023, Presidential Election Run-Off, His Excellency Dr. Goerge Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, has once again proven that the seed of sportsmanship that God sowed in him, has not finished blossoming and fruiting.

That is to say, in the spirit of true sportsmanship, and not at the behest of any international forces, President Weah has accepted that the, WILL, of the majority of the Liberian People CANNOT be subverted and that in all elections, there must be a victor and vanquished – with the vanquished having to accept the results after the final blast of the whistle.

As a footballer of world repute, George Weah certainly ended many matches on the losing side but had to shake hands with players on the winning side and also exchange jerseys.

Listening to the Concession Speech of President Weah on, Friday, November 17, 2023, I could not help playing back the memories/scenes of the period I was in Liberia as an ECOWAS Observer, and thanking President Weah for his speech that leaves Liberia walking on glorious crowns of acceptable democratic tenets as opposed to drowning in unquenchable infernos of electoral disputes via wanting to hang on to power in abuse of the sovereign will of the People of Liberia.
Inter alia, this is what President George Weah said:

“I stand before you tonight with a heavy heart, but with utmost respect for the democratic process that has defined our nation. As your President and Leader of the Coalition for Democratic Change, I want to address you on the outcome of the run-off elections held on November 14, 2023.

“The results announced tonight, though not final, indicate that Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai, is on a lead that is insurmountable.

“A few moments ago, I spoke with President-elect Joseph N. Boakai to congratulate him on the victory and to offer my sincere commitment to working with him for the betterment of Liberia.

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to President-elect Boakai, his supporters, and his campaign team. May his Presidency be marked by success for all Liberians, and may our nation prosper under his leadership.

Koku Anyidoho with some international observers in Liberia

“… At this juncture, I would like to congratulate the National Elections Commission for a job well done. You have earned the respect of all Liberians, our foreign partners, international observers, and the world at large for completing this difficult task for the satisfaction of all stakeholders, including the contesting parties.

“However, the closeness of the results reveals deep division within our country. As we transition to the new Boakai Administration, we must be vigilant to the dangers of division and work together to find common ground. Now, more than ever, unity is paramount for the love of Mama Liberia.

“To the members of the Mighty Coalition for Democratic Change, fellow partisans, … I urge you to follow my example and accept the results of the elections. Go home tonight with the knowledge that our ideals and vision for Liberia remain strong.

“Tomorrow, resume your daily activities in a normal way, and come and join me at our party headquarters to reflect on our journey and plan for our return in political leadership in 2029.

“Tonight, the CDC has lost the election, but Liberia has won. This is the time for graciousness in defeat, a time to place our country above party, and patriotism above personal interest. I remain your President until the handing-over of power, and I will continue to work for the good of Liberia. Let us heal the divisions caused by the campaign and come together and One Nation and One United People.

“May God bless Liberia, and may we continue to strive for a brighter future together. Thank you and good night.”

As a, politician, statesman, patriot, nationalist, and a speech writer of repute, the part of President Weah’s well-couched speech, that shall continue to sit steadfastly on the frontal lobe of my brain, is this:

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to President-elect Boakai, his supporters, and his campaign team. May his Presidency be marked by success for all Liberians, and may our nation prosper under his leadership.”

Who says nothing good can come out of Africa? A President conceding defeat; has the sobriety and goodness of heart to wish his bitter opponent “success” and to also wish that the nation should “prosper under his leadership”? This leaf of Liberia’s new political history must surely be glowed to pages of Africa’s glowing possibilities.
If these illuminating words from President George Weah, are not light enough to lighten up the glowing paths of Liberia’s nascent democracy, then I am not too sure what, will.

President George Weah has chosen to veer off the destructive paths of those incumbent Presidents who either do not accept defeat or do so half-heartedly and leave heavy swords of Damocles hanging around the necks of their countries.
As a football addict (I cannot stop loving Accra Hearts of Oak and Arsenal), I never stopped admiring what Goerge Oppong Weah did on the field of play.

I admired his ascension to the high office of President of the Republic of Liberia – making lots out of nothing. I choose to speak less about his six-year period as President because I am not a Liberian and cannot speak to the real specifics of his leadership style.

I now admire President George Weah more as an astute politician and statesman who really loves his Motherland and so has chosen to raise his head and look into the eyes of God and Country, and let go of the power that the people gave to him but have taken and given to President-elect Boakai.
It is my prayer that, His Excellency Dr.

George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, at the relatively young age of 57, waltz well into retirement from the Presidency and continue to speak success into the life of Liberia.

I welcome President-elect Joseph N. Boakai into the very hot Seat of, President, and pray that his vast experience, especially as Vice President, will allow him to climb up the ropes of governing Liberia in the best interest of the People of Liberia and not in the selfish sectarian interest of him and his people.

May Liberia grow its democratic credentials and may Liberia NEVER see war again.

“Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them”. (Hosea 14:9).

Samuel Koku Anyidoho
Founder, Atta-Mills Institute For Transformational Leadership,
Student Of Political Theology,
ECOWAS International Elections Observer.


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