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15 astonishing facts about 78-year-old Liberian President – Elect Joseph Boakai

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15 astonishing facts about 78-year-old Liberian President – Elect Joseph Boakai

15 astonishing facts about 78-year-old Liberian President-Elect Joseph Boakai

Published By: Victoria Oluwayemi

By Victoria Oluwayemi

Liberia’s incumbent president and football icon, George Weah, conceded defeat on Friday as nearly finalized results indicated 78-year-old opposition leader Joseph Boakai leading with 50.89% of the vote.

Boakai, aged 78, secured victory over Weah by a margin of just over 28,000 votes. Let’s look into 15 facts that define the “Sleepy Joe” turned President-elect.

Political Journey

Boakai, born on November 30, 1944, recently secured the presidency in Liberia following the 2023 general election after four decades of political experience behind him.

Vice Presidential Tenure

He previously served as Liberia’s 29th vice president from 2006 to 2018, under former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, demonstrating decades of political acumen.

Religious Affiliation

As a Baptist and a deacon of the Effort Baptist Church, faith plays a pivotal role in Boakai’s life.

Roots and Family

Boakai hails from the remote village of Worsonga in Foya District, Lofa County, and is married to Kartumu Boakai with four children.

Philanthropic Pursuits

Not only has Boakai supervised and financed the construction of a 7-mile rural village road, but he has also contributed to building a school and clinic for communities and spearheaded rural electrification efforts in Northern Liberia.

Diverse Career

Before serving as vice president, Boakai held various roles, including Minister of Agriculture, consultant positions, and ownership in corporations like LUSU Resource Corporation and AGROMACHINES Liberia.

Board Memberships:

His involvement extended to chairing multiple boards, including the Liberia Finance and Trust Corporation and Star Radio, among others.

Senate Presidency

As vice president, he presided over the Liberian Senate and supervised key institutions and agencies, showcasing his leadership and oversight capabilities.

Public and Private Sector Contributions

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Boakai’s career encompasses diverse sectors, from managerial roles at Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation to consultancy work for the World Bank and founding firms in agricultural equipment and consultancy.

Presidential Aspirations:

His ambition to lead Liberia was evident in his 2017 presidential candidacy, where he faced off against George Weah.

Political Support and Challenges

Boakai garnered backing from some quarters during the 2017 elections, but also faced setbacks, notably in the run-off against Weah.

Despite previous electoral setbacks, Boakai’s determination led to a triumphant win in the 2023 elections against George Weah.

Vision for Liberia

Throughout his political career, Boakai has emphasized his commitment to uplift Liberia by addressing issues like infrastructure development, agricultural advancement, and national reputation restoration.

Age, Integrity, and Experience: While critics questioned his age, Boakai’s supporters lauded his integrity, meticulousness, and extensive experience as crucial assets in combating corruption and steering Liberia’s progress.

Throughout the campaign, Boakai’s team portrayed him as a figure of integrity, emphasizing his qualifications as the sole candidate capable of addressing corruption—an issue where some voters claim President Weah fell short of his 2017 commitments.

“Boakai is deeply committed to precision; he’s meticulous in his approach,” remarked his senior adviser Augustin Konneh to AFP. “His humility is evident.”

However, his opponents have cited his age as a drawback, alleging he lacks resonance in a country where 60% of the population is under 25.

They argue that instead of pursuing the presidency, he should retire, coining the nickname “Sleepy Joe” in reference to this perspective

Strategic Alliances

Boakai strategically formed alliances with local political leaders and gained endorsements from other candidates, showcasing his adeptness in navigating political landscapes.

Boakai has promised an inclusive government, reflecting the country’s political, ethnic, regional, religious and gender diversity.

Some of the 18 other candidates who were now out of the second-round race have endorsed him.

In the first round, he skillfully built alliances with local political leaders, such as the former warlord Prince Johnson, who supported Weah in 2017 and still enjoys strong support in his native Nimba County.

An ally of Johnson — now a member of the Liberian Senate who is under US sanctions for corruption and was seen in a 1990 video sipping beer while his soldiers torture and kill president Samuel Doe — is Boakai’s running mate.

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