Liberia Votes 2017 – Presidential Runoff Elections: My Take
I tried hard to stay out of politics but just could not; so here I am at the last minute. It was suggested to me that I support a candidate I believe in.
I thought about it and realize my perception of believing in a person has a prerequisite of some sort of personal relationship.
I have never met Vice President Joseph Boakai or Senator George Weah or even communicated with them via any means and have no relationship with either of them. So, based on my senses, I do not believe in either of them. I’ll not claim to believe in a person I do not know especially politicians. I’m learning to not trust a politician.
The advent of the second round leaves us with Vice President Joseph Boakai Unity Party (UP) and Sen George Weah of Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC).
Do I think VP Boakai can make a good leader? Maybe. Do I think Sen Weah can make a good leader? Maybe. I cannot give a definitive response.
They’re both good people and love their country. VP Boakai has been a statesman for many years. I highly respect him and have absolutely nothing negative to say about him. I will always speak highly of him and will say nothing to make him look unfit for office.
He is a man of high honor with an impeccable reputation. He’s very qualified to run for the presidency and wants the best for Liberia. I admire him and wish him the best.
For the sake of our democracy, however, we must change course by electing another party. Another six years of the Unity Party will take Liberia closer towards a one-party state; that we cannot afford.
I support Sen Weah for President.
For the record, I consider myself a sympathizer of CDC because it’s the party of the common people.
The common people are the ones considered as not knowing better, the outcasts, the foolish and uneducated people. I align myself with this party and have no problem being labeled with any one of the adjectives. I will support the CDC with or without the current standard bearer.
Interestingly, the party’s standard bearer Sen George Weah is described in similar manner as the partisans. No wonder, people are gravitating towards the CDC and bent on electing him. Make no mistake, George Weah is no fool.
George Weah’s background is in sports and in Liberia sports is frown on as a career choice so it’s quite understandable that Weah’s contributions have been marginalized and classified as less significance but I disagree. George Weah’s contributions transcend sports, recreation or related times past.
His contributions are visible and alive in all segments of society from the young kids in the villages dreaming of making it to the grandparents in the cities hoping a better future for their children’s children.
George Weah inspires our people, especially the younger generation, in ways unimaginable. Liberia’s best days are yet to come and in the hands of the younger generation. Our people dream and hope for a better Liberia.
Our younger generation see themselves living in abject poverty while a few living in luxury. They see their families and friends graduate from colleges and universities but remain unemployed.
They see the neglect for the youth and continued livelihoods of misery all around them. They look at themselves and wonder if they’ll ever make it. When the see George Weah, they see inspiration. Yet some of us don’t understand.
George Weah was born in poverty and hopelessness just like many of them. Like many of them, he never had the educational foundation and struggled.
He was born and grew up in the slum just like many of them currently live. In the slums, there are hardly decent toilets and bathrooms.
The slums are disease infested and people who live there are expected to stay there. Our people see a George Weah did not stay there.
He found football and mastered it; football took him out of the slum and enabled him to make it to the pinnacle of life. They see a man just like them who beat the odds, rose from the slums, to become Africa’s best, Europe’s best and the world’s best footballer.
They see a man who, in the midst of war, assembled a great squad that fell one came short of making the World Cups. But George Weah is more than football to them.
They see hope and courage just like the rest of the world did when, in 1997, he became Ambassador Weah after the United Nations named him Goodwill Ambassador and in 2004 when he was awarded the ESPN Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Our people took notice. In George Weah they see their dreams of him making it to the top.
For them, a George Weah presidency will be the ultimate inspiration. They consider George Weah hero and the leader who will take them out of mental poverty. I understand exactly why they believe what they believe.
With my support come reservations. Multiple friends have told me that George Weah has dictatorial tendencies and fear that he will unleash those tendencies if he becomes president.
There are friends who are afraid to voice negative sentiments about Weah in public for fear that he might hear it and not want to talk to them. I’m bothered by those thoughts but encouraged that Liberia’s days of dictatorship are over because we have duly elected legislature and independent judiciary.
Furthermore, I do not think George Weah is capable of bloodshed which is the mark of every dictator. I understand he might have the inclination to resent criticisms but how he handles them matters the most. During this current campaign, he’s having his share of criticisms and is handling them quite well. If elected, he’ll have no choice because freedom of speech is now ingrained into our culture.
Will a President George Weah deliver? I hope so. If he wins, he must deliver. Too many dreams and aspirations lie on his shoulders.
He’ll have no choice but to succeed otherwise he’ll disappoint too many people. I do not believe he has the answers to all the problems and will have his hands full. The people expectations will be such that they’ll expect him to take them to the moon. Unrealistic expectations? Definitely. But time will tell.
I am not in Liberia and cannot vote but the people will speak loud and clear; I always respect the voice of the people.
If they elect Vice President Boakai I’ll live with it but my hope is that Sen George Weah is elected as president of the people, by the people and for the people of Liberia. As we await the voice of the people, we will continue to sound the refrain: CDC Muyan!!
Tim Wulah, Jr, Contributing Writer