George Weah And The Emerging African Politics
History is made today in Liberia, one of the countries in the western part of Africa, where a footballer-turned-politician emerged in a fiercely contested presidential election.
Most times in Africa, a peaceful transition is almost always un-achievable as incumbents are seen to hold sway to power and even after their tenures have elapsed. They still want to bring in their cronies/stooges to continue the trend of impoverishing her citizens. This has been a tradition in the leadership style in Africa where the leaders are so power-thirsty to the extent that they would prefer to die in office at a very old age. Most times, death occurs, some other times they are ousted forcefully as can be ascribed to the immediate past president of Zimbabwe.
Again most of these leaders are past military leaders who have fought for the independence of such nations, hence the feeling that no one can govern these nations better than they do. So, it is a way of compensating such veterans, even at the expense of very qualified candidates.
The emergence of George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah, who was born 1st October 1966 as the President-Elect of Liberia, has given a lot of Liberians some sigh of reliefs as can be seen on the social media. The social media is agog at the announcement of the result that sees the Ex international footballer defeating the incumbent Vice President with 13 out of the 15 counties in the country.
George Weah as he is popularly known is a retired professional footballer who has played as a striker. He is regarded as one of the greatest African players of all-time and as one of the best forwards of his generation. In 1995, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d’Or. He became the first African player to win these awards.
In 1989, 1994 and 1995, he was named the African Footballer of the Year respectively, and in 1996, he was named African Player of the Century. Weah was described by FIFA as “the precursor of the multi-functional strikers of today” (Wikipedia). In 2004, he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players.
After beginning his career in his home country of Liberia, he spent 14 years of his professional football career playing for clubs in France, Italy and England. The present coach of Arsenal FC, Arsène Wenger brought him to Europe when he signed an agreement with Monaco in 1988. He moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 1992 where he won Ligue 1 in 1994 and became the top scorer of the 1994 – 95 UEFA Champions League. He signed an agreement with Milan in 1995 where he spent four successful seasons and won the Italian Serie A twice. Weah made headway to the English Premier League close to the end of his career and had spells at Chelsea and Manchester City, before returning to France to play for Olympic Marseille in 2001, and subsequently ending his career with Al-Jazira in 2003. At an international level. He represented Liberia at the African Cup of Nations on two occasions.
An idol in Africa, Weah has been partaking fully in politics in his homeland Liberia. He ran unsuccessfully for president in the 2005 election, losing to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the second round of voting. In the 2011 election, he ran for vice president on Winston Tubman’s ticket. Running as a Congress for Democratic Change candidate, he was elected to the Senate in 2014.
George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah is the President-Elect of Liberia, he is 51 years of age, married to Clar Weah and he’s blessed with 2 (two) children; Timothy Weah and George Weah Jr.
Liberians and the world at large will be watching and waiting to experience a new style of leadership and how this victory will turn out to bring dividends of sound leadership to the great people of Liberia, Congratulations Liberians!!!