-Issues Executive Order 123, Setting Up Transitional Team

President George Manneh Weah, has issued Executive Order 123 setting up a Joint Presidential Transitional Team (JPTT) to ensure a smooth transfer of power from the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change government which he heads to the newly elected administration.

The President noted that he was setting up the JPTT by virtue of the power and authority vested in him pursuant to Chapter 2, Article 5(c) of the 1986 Constitution of the Republic of Liberia (1986) authorizing him to develop a system of appropriate protocols and mechanisms for the smooth transfer of power from the incumbent President to the incoming President.

The President, who and President-Elect co-chair, the Joint Presidential Transition Team, has already appointed members of his government to the team. They include Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dean of the Cabinet, Minister of Finance and Development Planning, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of National Defense, and the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs.

Others include the Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Mines and Energy, Minister of Health, Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Economic Advisor to the President, Legal Advisor to the President, National Port Authority, National Social Security and Welfare Corporation, Liberia Maritime Authority, Liberia Revenue Authority, Director General of the General Service Agency, Liberia Electricity Corporation, and three other members to be appointed at the discretion of the Incumbent President.  

According to the Executive Order issued by the President Tuesday, November 21, 2023, the President-Elect is invited to designate 20 persons to the JPTT, all of whom must be Liberian citizens, so as to facilitate the work of the JPTT in a timely manner. 

The President has further appointed the Director-General of the Cabinet to serve as the Secretary to the JPTT and head of the Secretariat. 

Other members of the Secretariat are the Economic Advisor to the President and the Legal Advisor to the President.

The Director-General of the Cabinet shall second other support staff from within the Executive Branch of Government as may be required to expedite the timely work of the JPTT, the Executive Order also states. 

The Incumbent President and the President-Elect shall be Co-Chairpersons to the JPTT.  

The Executive Order further asserts that notwithstanding paragraph (d) above, the incumbent president shall designate the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dean of the Cabinet to act as Co-Chairperson in his absence to oversee all affairs of the Joint Presidential Transition Team 2023 and conduct all meetings in his absence. 

“The President-Elect may also designate any member of his Team to similarly act as a Co-Chairperson in his absence,” the Order states further, adding: “Decisions of the JPTT shall be made by consensus and any disagreements shall be resolved by the Incumbent President and the President-Elect, acting jointly.” 

“The JPTT shall commence its functions and exercise the powers and authority granted by this Executive Order no later than forty-eight (48) hours after the declaration of the President-Elect by the National Elections Commission (“NEC”). It shall cease to function after the publication of its Final Report, which shall be no later than forty-eight (48) hours before the Inauguration of the President-Elect and Vice President-Elect.”

Meanwhile, President Weah will hold a special cabinet meeting on Wednesday, November 22, 2023. The emergency meeting will bring together the vice president, ministers, deputy and assistant ministers, heads of State Owned enterprises, commissions, and autonomous agencies. It takes place at 11:00 AM in the parlors of the Executive Mansion. The meeting will focus on transitional  and other matters of national concern.

President Weah conceded defeat over the weekend. In a telephone late Friday, November 17, 2023, President Weah congratulated Mr. Boakai, and wished him the very best as he ascends to the presidency. 

“Let me assure you that this is one Liberia, and I can assure you that we are willing to work together-“ the President elect guaranteed his commitment to work with the outgoing President.

Following the telephone conversation, in an audio address late Friday, President articulated- “The results announced by NEC, though not final, indicate that Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai is In a lead that we can not surpass.”

He continued, “As we acknowledge the results, let us also recognize that the true winners of these elections are the proof Liberia, through your peaceful and orderly exercise of your constitutional right to vote. You have once again demonstrated your commitment to the democratic principles that bound us together as a nation.”

He referenced his government’s commitment to respecting the electorate decision prior to the electoral processes, and with the outcome of the elections, he believes the actualized said assurance. “I’m pround to say that we have fulfilled that promise, the Liberian people have spoken and we have heard their voice. 

Following the climax of the entire electoral process, President Weah recommends the need for reconciliation, judging from his experience during the elections. “Unity is paramount for the love of mama Liberia,” he says. 

At the same time, the outgoing President  hailed his supporters for their commitment to his political quest, and admonished his them to accept the results.”Tonight, the CDC has lost the election, but Liberia has won.  This is a time for graciousness in defeat, a time to place our country above party, and patriotism above personal interest. I remain your President until the handover 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 as One Nation and One United People.

Though the outcome of the November 14, 2023, election didn’t go in their interest, he believes it’s a break for a new journey for the party. He tells his supporters- “Our time will come again.”

“Under my leadership, these elections were organized with a promise to the Liberian people – a promise of fairness, transparency, and credibility. I am proud to say that, for the most part, we have fulfilled that promise. The Liberian people have spoken, and their choice will be honored and obeyed. 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 to the satisfaction of all stakeholders, including the contesting parties.”

He adds- “However, the closeness of the results reveals a 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, CDCians, Weahcians, auxiliaries, first-time voters, campaign managers, and party leaders, I understand that this is not the outcome we desired.  Although we did not emerge victorious, your hard work and support have been the backbone of our campaign, and for that, I am deeply grateful.”

Saturday’s consolidated results announced by the National Elections Commission (NEC), puts Amb. Boakai of the UP at 814,428 votes(50.64%), ahead of incumbent President George Weah who has 793,910 votes (49.36%). This covers 5,889 of 5,890 polling places from the recent runoff election.

LIberians visited the polls Tuesday, November 14, 2023, in the presidential runoff election. Unlike the October 10, 2023, elections- the November 14, 2023, runoff election displayed a low voter turnout during the initial phase, in several counties cross Liberia.