Monrovia – The soccer legend, now a politician, George Manneh Weah, is very hopeful that he would be declared winner of the December 26 Presidential Runoff.
He’s already putting up a team “to go to the drawing board,” he said.
Weah lost one Presidential election to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2005.
In 2011, going as a running mate to Cllr. Winston Tubman, lost another election to outgoing President Sirleaf whose Vice President, Joseph Boakai, he believes, is no match to him.
“We are making our decision today and you can see I am excited and I know that I am going to win because Liberians have resolved to make me their next President. My focus now is to make sure I come out of the election victorious.
“From there, I am going to get on the drawing board with my team and then we’ll put a plan together to move our country forward,” Weah told reporters just after casting his vote on Tuesday.
Weah attained his first political office in 2014 when he won the Montserrado County senatorial seat by a landslide victory.
But he stands criticized for not doing much with the position to improve the lives of the youths in the county and representing the down trodden whose communities are his stronghold.
At the regional level, he represents the country at the ECOWAS Parliament and has also received backlashes for skipping sessions.
However, he remains a phenomenon in the country’s politics – often viewed as the less qualified, yet the most followed (whether they have voting IDs or not).
Following the December 26 election in which he took part, the National Elections Commission (NEC) would be releasing its first batch of official results later today. Unofficial figures being collected from various polling places around the country put Weah in a comfortable position as compared to his contender.
A victory for him would make him Liberia’s first democratically elected President to receive power from an outgoing democratically elected President in 73 years.
Weah would have a daunting task taking over from Africa’s first democratically elected female President whose administration won the admiration of the West, yet heavily criticized at home.
Issues of corruption, infrastructure development, agriculture, health, roads amongst others, remain major challenges the ‘inexperienced’ politician would have to grapple with.
Weah hasn’t expressed or articulated his platform clearly to give a detailed methodology on what his focus would be and how he intends going about it.
He perhaps, is waiting for a victory before pulling his plans together on what steps to take if he’s declared winner.
Some of his supporters, who voted for him spoke with FrontPageAfrica at his party’s headquarters.
Many expressed the hope that a Weah-led government would be inclusive, reduce wasteful spending, reduce corruption and improve livelihood.
Others who voted for him, does not have the slightest clue why they think he can be a good leader.
“I voted for Weah because I like him – I just like him,” Massa Tamba said.
Massa could not say exactly what she knows Weah is capable of doing.
“You need to be highly educated to be President? All the educated people who have been there, what have they done?
So let’s just try Weah; people say he’s not educated, but for me, I believe he can do something for this country,” Massa added.
Cyril Johnson said he believes that the soccer legend would unite Liberians because he has always done so through sports.
“When Weah was playing football, he made all of us happy, he made our country proud and he always brought his money back home to help his poor brothers and sisters, who were facing many difficulties because of the war at the time. This is the man that would reconcile Liberia,” he said.
Senator Weah’s supporters have begun early jubilation – very confident that he is their country’s next President.
Exceptions of his supporters and even those who didn’t vote for him are very high.
John Kollie told FrontPageAfrica that there’s no way he could have voted for Weah, but now he seems to be looking forward to seeing how Weah will improve the lives of citizens and what difference he would make, as the unofficial results are in his favor.
“We’ll be watching him with eagle eyes."
"We’ll be on the standby to remind those who voted for him not to complain when things are going bad. What example has he set for which we should have voted for?
What example has he set for which we should take our entire country and give to him? For me, I’m still waiting on the NEC to announce the results."
"If Weah wins as it is being speculated by his supporters, he will have a lot of work to do,” Kollie said.
Another critic of Weah, James Sumo, said, “Weah is a complete novice; I don’t believe he knows anything about administration or leadership.
The fact that he’s in the Senate does not make him a leader. What’s his proud achievement in the Senate since entering in 2014?”
But Weah believes his administration would bring relief to Liberians.
During his campaign trial, he made a number of promises including improving agriculture and road connectivity, especially to the south-eastern part of the country.
He promised to make health and education free and ensure that corruption is minimized.
According to him, his government would offer the hope Liberians need to change the country the way they want to see it.