Liberia (VOA) -- President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's son, Robert, has congratulated Liberian football legend George Weah on winning the Montserrado County special senatorial election December 20. Sirleaf said he respects the voters' decision.
Sirleaf, who ran as an independent candidate, objected to the view of some that the defeat was a referendum on his mother's government.
He said that if that was the case, then Weah's Congress for Democratic Change party would have won in all 15 counties of the country.
Sirleaf said he will take a short break and use the lessons learned to continue to work in the interest of the people, particularly in economically challenged communities.
"We want to thank the people of Montserrado County. They gave us an opportunity for them to share in what we were trying to accomplish. It also gave us an opportunity for us to share in their lives. I also want to congratulate Mr. Weah for his victory," he said.
Sirleaf said his campaign took a very positive "high road," showing the people a way to better opportunities. But, he added, the voters chose a different path.
During the campaign, Sirleaf said he would win because he had spent the last seven years promoting a strong development agenda for Montserrado County, particularly in economically challenged communities
"For us, we wanted to win. But, it's not always about the win; it's about the lives of our people," Sirleaf said. He also said he was proud of the campaign.
"One is always disappointed when you do not accomplish a desired goal. But, I am very proud of the fact that the people of Montserrado County got a chance to hear our story and, to some extent, the people of Liberia," Sirleaf said.
Sirleaf said not winning allows him to regain his freedom as an individual, and he said he will exercise that freedom immediately with a few weeks' visit to the United States to see his children, and where "nobody knows my name."
"We've been at this for four to five months. So, everyone should rest to give everybody a chance to enjoy their holidays with their families, then we come right back. For me, that's mid-January and then back into the community," he said.
Sirleaf also denied his campaign paid voters to vote for him.
"It's the most ridiculous thing, and I think it's a vindication if you look at the results. If we had paid voters, you wouldn't have the results you have. We did not do that. We did not buy any voting cards. It's not something that we're built for. We don't do things like that. It was about the people of Montserrado County having their choice," Sirleaf said.