After more than a decade in power, Africa’s first female elected head of state, Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is due to step down after October’s presidential election and George Weah is ready to step in.
Liberian humanitarian, politician, and retired professional footballer, George Weah, is regarded as one of the greatest African players of all-time will campaign a second time to become the President of Liberia
Weah lost to Ms Johnson Srleaf in the 2005 election, but is ready to campaign against the 20 candidates vying to replace the Nobel Peace laureate.
— George WEAH Official (@GeorgeWeahOff) July 7, 2017
George Weah was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a role which he has suspended while he pursues a political career, never giving up on his ambition to become the president of Liberia.
Weah is also a devoted humanitarian for his war-torn country. At the 2004 ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, Denzel Washington presented Weah with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for his efforts.
Watch Denzel present Weah with the award – the audience is overtaken with emotion and gives Weah a standing ovation after watching this video that the ESPY’s created.
While Weah was a popular figure in Liberia, opponents cited his lack of formal education as a handicap to his ability to lead the country, in contrast with his Harvard-educated opponent, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Analysts also noted Weah’s lack of experience, calling him a “babe-in-the-woods”, while Sirleaf had served as minister of finance in the Tolbert administration in the 1970s and had held positions at Citibank, the World Bank and the United Nations.
Weah’s lack of education became a campaign issue. He has been highly critical of those who say he is not fit to govern:
“With all their education and experience, they have governed this nation for hundreds of years. They have never done anything for the nation.”
In 2014, he ran for election to the Senate as a Congress for Democratic Change candidate in Montserrado County. He was overwhelmingly elected to the Liberian Senate on 20 December 2014.
Weah defeated Robert Sirleaf, the son of President Sirleaf, becoming the first Liberian international athlete elected to represent a county in the Legislature. He won a landslide victory, receiving 99,226 votes, which represented 78.0% of the total votes from the 141 polling centers, while Sirleaf, his closest rival received 13,692 votes, which is nearly 11% in the election marred only by a low turnout.
Something needs to change. Let’s follow the campaign.