Liberia’s 78-year-old opposition candidate, Joseph Boakai, has been congratulated by the incumbent, George Weah, after the country’s presidential election. Boakai, known as “Sleepy Joe” due to his tendency to fall asleep at official events, has a strong lead against former football superstar George Weah in the tightest poll since the end of the civil war. Born in 1944, Boakai grew up in the remote village of Worsonga and studied in Sierra Leone before graduating from the College of West Africa in Monrovia. He completed a business administration degree at the University of Liberia.
Boakai served as Liberia’s agriculture minister under then-President Samuel Doe in the 1980s, where he oversaw projects such as building a school for 150 students and a clinic for a community of 10 villages. He also oversaw the program to decentralize agriculture by creating regional hubs. After losing the 2017 election, Boakai re-contested, focusing on agriculture and accusing Weah’s administration of “mismanagement.” He promised to fight corruption, boost agricultural production, reduce food costs, and improve roads.
Boakai pledged to investigate the reasons behind high food prices and help farmers, stating that the agricultural potential of the country is high but is often neglected. He is determined to help millions of Liberians who have been left to face poverty, disease, ignorance, and insecurity.