Boakai’s inauguration as Liberia’s President ends abruptly after suffering ‘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.

He failed twice to carry on speaking, and the ceremony was adjourned.

Some reports suggested that he suffered from heat exhaustion as the temperature reached more than 30C.

Viral footage showed a man fanning papers near Boakai’s face, before he was taken away.

After he was taken away, new Vice-President Jeremiah Koung spoke to guests and escorted them to the presidential dinner.

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.

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.

Boakai was vice-president in Nobel Peace Prize-winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s government until 2018 and contested the presidency under the banner of the United Party (UP).

He defeated Weah by just over 20,000 votes in a run-off election in November.

Boakai also ran for the presidency in 2017 but lost to Weah, who became Liberia’s young-ever elected president.


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