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Independent AfricaLiberia's new president Joseph Boakai fails to end inauguration speech due to heat...

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Liberia’s new president Joseph Boakai fails to end inauguration speech due to heat exhaustion 

Liberia’s President Joseph Boakai, 79, faced health issues during his swearing-in ceremony, requiring assistance away from the podium.

While delivering his inauguration speech, Boakai encountered difficulty after approximately 30 minutes. Failing twice to continue, the ceremony was adjourned amid concerns.

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Reports suggest he may have suffered from heat exhaustion, with temperatures exceeding 30°C. Video footage showed attempts to cool him before he was escorted away.

Despite this, Boakai had already been sworn in as Liberia’s oldest-ever president at the Capitol Building in Monrovia. Vice-President Jeremiah Koung addressed guests after Boakai’s departure. Boakai narrowly defeated former football star George Weah in a November run-off election.

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The state of Mr. Boakai’s health was a significant concern during the election campaign. Despite assurances to the BBC that he was in good health, he emphasized that “age should be a blessing to this country.”

Before abruptly ending his speech, Mr. Boakai stated, Elections are over; partisanship must give way to the forward march of Liberia.

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“I come to rekindle our hopes.” The new president emphasized the need to restore dignity in public service and uphold the rule of law.

Until 2018, Mr. Boakai served as vice-president in the government of Nobel Peace Prize-winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He contested the presidency under the United Party (UP) banner, securing victory in a run-off election against Mr. Weah by just over 20,000 votes in November.

Mr. Boakai had previously run for the presidency in 2017, losing to Mr. Weah, who went on to become Liberia’s youngest-ever elected president.

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