PERSON OF INTEREST: Republic of Liberia’s George Weah.

Africa’s oldest republic.

Monrovia_Liberia_UNDP_2015.jpg
Monrovia, Liberia

Liberia has had its fare share of trials and tribulations, to be a democratic republic presently. Being Africa’s oldest republic, civil war back in the 1990s deprived it much on development and forward progression as a country. Over quarter million people lost their lives in the civil war, as then rebel leader and president Charles Taylor ruled with a heavy fist, ruining the country’s economy. The civil wars, which raged on between 1989-2003 ravaged the country’s stability, having gained independence back in 1847. Coups and civil wars ravaged the country, with people getting severely mutilated and drugged child soldiers being used by the warlords. As a country, Liberia is made of a population of 4.6 million people, with 99,067 sq km land mass. Its people comprise of indigenous Africans, freed from America and Caribbeans.

George Tawlon Mannneh Oppong Ousman Weah

George Weah campaigns 2017.jpg
George Weah campaigning for the top job in 2017

The election of Mr. George Weah as President of Republic marked a new landmark for the Republic of Liberia, after electing Ellen Sirleaf, then the first Woman president in Africa in 2005. Democracy and peace prevailed as ‘Mister George’ as he is commonly referred to got the top spot after failing to secure it in the last held elections (2011), which Sirleaf emerged victorious for second term. George Weah, a globally known former international professional soccer player has been instrument through out his days as a footballer and later turned politician to serve his country and support a course for better living for its citizens.  This was Liberia’s first democratic transition in over 70 years after many years of coups, violence and civil wars brought about by election and seizure of power.

Born on 1st October, 1966 as George Tawlon Mannneh Oppong Ousman Weah began playing soccer and developing his talent at a young age. In 1981, at the age of barely 15 years, he began his youth football career playing for Young Survivors Clara-town. He later on graduated into senior level and featured for African Sports (1987), Tonnorre Younde (1988) where he played 18 league games and found the net 14 times as a striker.

George Weah playing for AC Milan
George Weah, then playing for AC Milan as a striker in Serie A against Inter Milan.

His prolific talent and superior skills as a lethal striker  soon got him kicking it abroad, with Monaco (1988-92), Paris Saint German (PSG) (1992-1995), AC Milan (1995-2000), Chelsea (2000), Manchester City (2000), Merseille (2000-2001) and Al Jazira (2001-2003). He is a legend and hero in Liberia, having won 60 caps and scoring 22 goals for the national team-the Lone Stars-between 1987-2003. On numerous occassions, he carried the hops and dreams of the national team on and off the pitch in their various international matches. His input and intervention will forever be remebered especially during the periods when the civil wars were ravaging the country, as the Lone stars competed for CAF and World Cup qualification. In his illustrious career, he won the Ballon d’Or FIFA Player of the Year (1995), African Player of the Year (1989,1994), African Player of the Century (1996) and among the FIFA 100 greatest living player (2004). On

The path to the top job

George Weah 2Upon retirement from professional soccer, George  developed interest in politics and wanting to serve his country. With the end of the 2nd Liberian Civil War, and under his flagship party Congress for Democratic change; he made his ambitions realistic, with is two attempts at the top job in 2005 and 2011 were not successful. He was however elected to the Liberian senate for Montserrado County in 2014, beating Robert Sirleaf son of President Sirleaf. Not giving up, he made another third attempt in 2017, having gained political experience. In the 2017 presidential elections, he beat his closest rival Joseph Boakai (Vice president) of Unity Party in a run off by by over 60% of the vote. In 22nd January 2018, George Tawlon Mannneh Oppong Ousman Weah was sworn in as the 25th president of Liberia.

George Wweah with Clar, his wife
H.E George Weah with his wife Clar during the swearing in ceremony.

A father of 3 and husband to Clar Weah, H.E George Weah has a huge task ahead of him, to the people of Liberia and Africa as a whole.An inspiration to this and coming generations, he has work cut ahead for him, picking from where his immediate predecessor Ellen Sirleaf left. Liberia was badly ravaged with the civil wars and endless coups which decapitated the country’ s people and economy. His promise to the people of Liberia is to bring jobs and prosperity. Sirleaf, who was at the helm for two terms saw to it no civil war erupted again, but poverty and impoverishment of the Liberian population continued to bite. He has ambitions plans for the country, with his priority being to launch a national debate on fair sharing of national resources and and root out corruption in most of the institutions in public domain.

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.