In a historic turn of events, George Weah gracefully conceded defeat in the Liberian presidential election, acknowledging Joseph Boakai’s victory with 50.64% of the votes from nearly 99.98% of the tallied polling stations, as reported by the National Elections Commission on the evening of November 18.
Joseph Boakai, a seasoned political figure, emerges as a pivotal force to guide Liberia through its next chapter. This report delves into the profile of Joseph Boakai, tracing his journey from humble beginnings to the helm of the nation.
Joseph Boakai, 78 years old, hails from a remote village in Lofa County, situated in the northwest of Liberia near the Guinean border. Unlike the “Americo-Liberian” elite, Boakai, the son of farmers, is fluent in several local languages.
His early endeavors involved advocating for the interests of palm oil and cocoa planters, first within a state structure and later as the Minister of Agriculture from 1983 to 1985 under Samuel Doe. Boakai also served as the head of the Liberian Petroleum Refining Company.
In 2005, following a protracted period of civil wars, Boakai assumed the vice-presidential role as part of a presidential ticket with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Over twelve years, he became well-versed in state administration. Recognizable by his trademark hat and often half-closed eyes during conferences, Boakai affectionately earned the moniker “Joe le dormeur” (Joe the sleeper).
In the 2017 presidential election, he represented the Unity Party and contested the credibility of the results for several weeks. The former Ballon d’Or winner, George Weah, emerged victorious in the second round. Fast forward to the recent election, and the same dynamic unfolded.
However, Boakai garnered new support, notably from influential figures like Prince Johnson, a former warlord who played a pivotal role in securing votes in the densely populated Nimba County.
Boakai’s campaign centered on the promise to “save the country” from what he perceived as the corrosive impact of a corrupt administration. This resonated with voters disillusioned by George Weah’s governance. As the political landscape evolves, Boakai is poised to lead Liberia, armed with a wealth of experience and a renewed mandate from the people.
The electoral process resumed on November 18 in 25 polling stations in the Grand Kru and Nimba counties, marking the next phase in Liberia’s political journey under the leadership of Joseph Boakai.