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#Liberiadecides: Weah may get it this time around


Analysts say footballer’s chances of clinching Presidency now very bright

george weah

by John Eche


Ahead of the presidential elections scheduled for October 2017, indications are that former African and world footballer of the year, Senator George Oppong Weah, may ride on the wave of opposition victories sweeping the continent to finally emerge as President of the Republic of Liberia.

In recent elections held within the continent, opposition slates have secured impressive victories in Ghana, The Gambia and Nigeria.

General elections will be held in Liberia on 10 October 2017, electing the President and House of Representatives. The elections are overseen by the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the President is elected using the two-round system, whilst the 73 members of the House of Representatives are elected by first-past-the-post voting in single-member constituencies.

Other than the former footballer, other contenders presently in the race are; Joseph Boakai, the incumbent vice-president; Prince Yormie Johnson, a former rebel leader, Mr. Benoni Urey, a businessman, and MacDella Cooper, a notable philanthropist within the country.

And underscoring Weah’ efforts to clinch the coveted position this year, the African football great is presently tipped to be at the head of an opposition coalition that would help ensure that he gets elected in this his second attempt to became the president of Liberia.

The West African country goes to the polls in October this year. The winner of the polls will succeed the incumbent, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is obliged to step down after serving two constitutionally mandated terms.

Mr Weah’s first shot at the presidency was in 2005 where he lost to Sirleaf in the second round of voting. In 2011 he lowered his sights and ran as a vice-presidential candidate on the ticket of Winston Tubman but that was also unsuccessful.

Even the man at the centre of the action is most upbeat: ‘I am telling Liberians to be hopeful and to keep hope alive. This is our time and we will do all we can this time around to win the elections to lead our people,’ he reportedly expressed last April when he announced his intention to run again.

And unlike was the situation in his previous elections where he contested on the ticket of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party he founded, this time he will lead a coalition of three parties in a bid to become the next President.

Long criticised by his opponents as being inexperienced for the top job, the Senator of the northwestern region of Montserrado and concurrent member of the ECOWAS parliament, insists that running for him is all about service.

“I can form cooperation and collaborations for my people to work and I am ready to work. I have done so much for Africa and I think in the governance process I can bring more on the table,” Weah stated in an interview.

To be sure, the forthcoming polls is definitely going to be an acid test for the nation that returned to multi party democracy after years of armed conflict that killed tens of thousands.

On account of the crisis former President Charles Taylor is serving a 50-year sentence in a UK prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity charges. And even while ensconced in the British jail, the yet influential player in the politics of Liberia is still being rumuored to be strongly involved in the process of picking the next president of the country.

Beyond the Taylor factor however is also that of the incumbent President and Chairperson of the Economic Commission of West African States, ECOWAS, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who has since cut a niche for herself as the ‘strong woman of Liberian politics.’



Opposition contender, George Oppong Weah

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