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Boakai’s inauguration as Liberia’s president halted after he suffered ‘heat stroke’

The inauguration of Joseph Boakai as the Liberian president on Monday came to an abrupt end when he suddenly suffered a “heat stroke” while reading his acceptance speech.

Boakai was helped out of the podium by security details.

The 79-year-old had taken the oath of office but mid-way into his acceptance speech he stuttered to a halt.

It was not immediately clear whether the ceremony would continue.

Boakai was declared Liberia’s president on November 20, 2023, with 50.64 percent votes to defeat incumbent George Weah.

But before Boakai’s official declaration by the national electoral commission as the winner of the presidential election, Weah had already conceded defeat based on the results of more than 99.98 percent of the polling stations.

Several leaders, including President Bola Tinubu and Goodluck Jonathan, former president of Nigeria, who led a mediation mission for the election, commended Weah for accepting the outcome of the keenly contested poll.

They also praised the former soccer star for keeping to his commitment to overseeing free, fair, and peaceful elections.

During his campaign, Boakai emphasised his commitment to addressing key challenges faced by the country, including corruption, poverty, and infrastructural decay.

The inauguration ceremony, held on Capitol Hill in Monrovia, the country’s capital city, was attended by various foreign leaders, including Vice President Kashim Shettima, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, and Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Diplomatic delegations from other countries such as the United States were also present.

The Cable

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