MONROVIA: Incumbent President George Manneh Weah says endorsement of his intention to seek another six-year constitutional term of office is not part of a campaign for his re-election.
President Weah indicated that the declaration of his intention for reelection as President of Liberia is only a signal to partisans and supporters of the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
The Liberian leader maintains that the move is also an expression of his desire to be re-elected as CDC’s Standard Bearer during the forthcoming National Convention of the Party.
“Whenever this is done, we wish to assure all stakeholders that we will be in straight and full compliance with the regulations and guidelines governing campaign activities, as issued by the National Elections Commission (NEC),” he said.
He also reaffirmed his government’s commitment to conducting free, fair, transparent and credible elections in an atmosphere of peace and stability.
The President made the remarks on Sunday, February 12, 2023, at ceremony marking his endorsement by two groups of women including the “Forceful Women for Weah 2023” and “4B Movement for Weah 2023.”
The two groups are said to comprise predominately people of Muslim backgrounds.
The National Elections Commission (NEC) has set August 5 to October 8, 2023 as campaign period for the much-anticipated Presidential and Legislative elections in Liberia.
NEC also warned politicians seeking elected public offices to observe its electoral timetable, including the period spelled out for campaign activities.
The President second-term bid endorsement program was held at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, outside Monrovia.
At the endorsement ceremony on Sunday, Weah said he was grateful to receive the endorsement from the Forceful Women organization, its members, supporters, partners, and friends, in collaboration with the 4-B Movement.
The Liberian leader also highlighted what he calls his cordial ties with the Muslim faith, dismissing reports of the Mandingo Community in Liberia, being unsupportive of his administration.
The President also used the occasion to dismiss insinuations relative to a purported odd relationship he has with the Mandingos and Muslims, describing it as mere perceptions and misinformation being spread by “political miscreants”.
He clarified that his relationship or closeness to the Muslim Faith dates back to his school days at the Muslim Congress High School in Monrovia and that he has not felt detached since then.
He termed it as “growing misinformation and false perceptions being spread by political miscreants in the corridor of national politics, and in society in general”, that the Mandingo Community is apprehensive about his leadership, his Government, and the CDC itself.
The President stressed that the massive attendance and huge gathering of people of influence from the Muslim Community at the petitioning program is evident of excellent ties he has had with Muslims as it is the case with all other religious groups in the country.
“These people would not gather here to endorse my candidacy for re-election—for my second presidential term—if they and I were not in any good relationship,” the President averred.
“Quite to the contrary of naysayers’ assertions, I have worked diligently and consistently to foster religious inclusion and tolerance since the beginning of my incumbency in 2018,” Weah told the predominately Muslims gathering.
He added: “This is because of my strong conviction that this is a necessary ingredient for a peaceful and cohesive society. I believe that freedom of religion, as enshrined in our constitution, is an inalienable human right. Not only do I believe in freedom of worship… I practice it because I am comfortable worshiping in a mosque as I am worshiping in a church or synagogue.”
The Liberian Chief Executive assured the Muslim Community that he will continue to engage all persons of every religious belief and ethnic background on grounds that religion and ethnicity are not prerequisites or pre-qualifications for political affiliation in Liberia.
He acknowledged that although not the entire Mandingo Community, or all women of the Muslim Community, were at the endorsement program, he was equally gratified to have been petitioned by a particular group of women, most of whom are very strong business people.
As Liberia’s Feminist-in-Chief, he said, “I am always delighted to learn of the good fortunes of empowered and successful women in community leadership. I look forward to meeting many other groups in your community.”
The President expressed appreciation to the group for the kind and spontaneous endorsement of his plans to seek re-election.
He vowed to continue to deliver transformational developments across Liberia, which he said will have direct and positive impacts on the social and economic growth and development of the country.