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BREAKING: Liberia’s presidential inauguration suspended after Boakai falls sick

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The swearing in ceremony of Liberia’s new President Joseph Boakai came to an abrupt end after he appeared uncoordinated and 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 hot and humid with some guests fanning themselves during the ceremony, broadcast live on State Television.

An aide removed Boakai’s traditional cap, while others fanned him before he was escorted out of the venue, thus ending the event unceremoniously.

Dignitaries at the event included President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana with his wife, Liberia’s outgoing President George Weah and his wife, Nigeria’s Vice President Kashim Shettima, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina.

It was not immediately clear whether he would attend the inaugural ball later in the day.

Boakai, a former Vice President with decades in politics defeated Weah in the July 2023 run-off by 50.89% of the votes.

He inherits a difficult socio-economic environment, characterised by high youth unemployment, spiralling inflation and high crime rate, especially drug abuse among unemployed and uneducated young people.

Taking over from Weah 57, it would have been a generational transfer of power, but Boakai has a relatively younger Vice president Jerrnai Koung, who is 45.

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