MONROVIA, Montserrado – A calendar of events for the inauguration of President-elect George Weah and Vice President-elect Jewel Howard-Taylor has been released, although there remains no confirmation on the special guests that will attend.
According to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs release, the inaugural activities will kick off on Friday, January 19, with what is dubbed as “Taste of Liberia,” an event designed to showcase Liberian-made products. It will be held at the Nancy B. Doe Market in Sinkor between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Inaugural intercessory prayers organized by the Muslim community will also be held at the Benson Street Mosque from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the same day.
There will also be a Peace Football Match between the Weah All Stars and the Armed Forces of Liberia at the Barclay Training Center between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, while an honoring program will be hosted by the Women of Liberia at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium.
The Christian community will also host another set of intercessory prayers at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion on Sunday. The service will be followed by a musical, arts, culture and fashion show in the evening.
The official inauguration will be held at the Samuel Kanyan Doe Sports Complex on Monday. The ceremony will be followed by an inaugural luncheon at the same venue. An inaugural ball in honor of Weah and Howard-Taylor will take place at the Executive Pavilion at 7:00 p.m.
Meanwhile, people expected to attend the official inauguration ceremony have been advised against arriving with cars in the stadium on the day of the inauguration. All guests, except those listed in the Special Protocol, will enter the premises through the main entrance.
“No cars will be allowed to enter the complex,” the release said.
According to the official protocol, the ushering of guests to the ceremony will commence at 7:00 a.m. and no one will be allowed to enter after 9:45 a.m., except official VIPs.
The protocols explained that the speaker and current and former members of the legislature will enter the stadium through the VIP entrance and be escorted to seats reserved for them by 9:45 a.m., while at 9:50 a.m., members of the consular corps will also enter the stadium through the VIP entrance and be escorted to their seats at 9:50 a.m.
At the same time, the special representative of the United Nations secretary-general and heads of international organizations will enter the stadium through the VIP entrance and be escorted to their seats at 10:00 a.m. as members of the diplomatic corps would also be seated 10:05 a.m.
The dean and members of the presidential cabinet will also enter the stadium through the VIP entrance and be escorted to seats reserved for them. At 10:10 a.m., the chief justice and associate justices of the Supreme Court will be seated, followed by Vice President Joseph Boakai and his wife, and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at 10:20 and 10:25, respectively.
The vice president-elect, the president-elect and his wife, and foreign heads of state and government are all expected to be seated by 10:55 a.m.
“At the close of the ceremonies, the chief of protocol will announce the order of precedence for the departing procession; guests will remain standing,” the statement concluded.
Despite the release of these protocols, the head of Weah’s secretariat to the Joint Presidential Transition Team, Janga Kowo, disclosed that there has been no disclosure of confirmation from foreign guests invited for the inauguration.
Kowo, who is also secretary general of the Coalition for Democratic Change, said there would also be separate inaugural celebrations in the 15 counties.
According to Information Minister Eugene Nagbe, US$700,000 has been approved as the official budget for the inauguration.
He said a budget of US$2 million drafted earlier by the inauguration committee was cut down by Weah and outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who are both co-chairing the Joint Presidential Transitional Team.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah