The King is Finally on the Throne: President Elect George Oppong Weah’s Cunning/Sloppy Journey to the Executive Mansion
It started long before 2005 when the president-elect first stumbled upon his presidential ideation. In fact, it was during the reign of former President Charles Taylor when talks of Mr. Weah running for president surfaced. President Taylor was one of the first persons to have noticed Weah’s unannounced insatiable quest for power and being number one at any group he ever became part of . Hindsight, it is perhaps this very trait that pushed him so hard to have earned all those titles on the soccer pitch.
When Taylor mentioned Weah’s presidential aspiration at the time, there were lots of people who feared that Taylor was trying to craft a sinister avenue to exile Weah or worst yet murder him. At that time, like now, Weah was a darling “son of the soil,” lover of his nation and the man of hope for a depleted country fighting for its very being. He was a perfect symbol of hope for a country almost drowning, but may I remind you, a symbol for avid soccer lovers; because through it all, I am yet to see the role soccer played in bringing peace to the wounded country; thanks to ECOWAS and other international actors that intervened in bringing peace.
There are those die hard Weah supporters who will read this piece with the most anguish and find me disloyal and an opposition. In fact, they will call me a Unity Party supporter and a failed person. The fact is, I am just a one night-stander with politics, a hit and run kind of guy; but above all, a Liberian who is not afraid to stand alone and point out the freakish nature of our society, a society affected by a group think like never before, soaked in that painful irresistible pull of irrational behavior, an anomaly-a mass hysteria in support of ignorance and anti-intellectual movement marauding for power; the highest power at such.
I am not a member of any political party; I actually rather support individuals with drastic, measurable, attainable and realistic agendas for nation building—-that one Liberia agenda, instead of a political party or parties. And up till now, President Elect Weah does not measure up to any of these traits, sadly he is the president, elect!
When I saw the ordinary people in the streets jubilating Weah’s win few days ago, I was so excited for the nation, because there were no riots and bloodletting (oh Weah won, I remembered) but joy and happiness. I was also not just excited, but optimistic to recognize that there were patriots (Boakai/UP) in the country that would do everything to make sure the fragile peace is still on course, even if they accept the result without playing Mr. Weah’s favorite card of crying of being cheated every time he loses and ordering young hopeless youths in the streets to challenge authority, destroy properties, burn down people’s homes and get killed in the process while he sits in the comfort of his home with his henchmen negotiating financial settlement for him to
call off the bloody chaos ensuing. Unlike President Elect Weah, whose political failures over the years brought nothing but mayhem and death to these same ordinary folks who were seeing jubilating in the streets with all their beings for a greedy, self-centered, egotistical, immoral, unproductive, power-hungry, center-of-the-universe man and thin-skinned brainless king, Joseph N. Boakai and his team were in their corners licking their wounds and strategizing how to accept defeat and move on. They too would have cried foul and paid young violent men to move in the streets and vandalize structures and destabilize ordinary folks, but they were patriotic enough to respect the wishes of the masses and let sleeping dog lie. Some would argue that in fact Boakai and his team did cry foul, yes, they did, but they challenged the process through democratic means and followed the process to its logical conclusion without advocating for violence or threatening every living thing out there. They were civil in their approach and honorable to their fellow countrymen. There were no riots as mastered by Weah’s CDC.
In 2005 when President Elect Weah finally decided to join the political race and run for the highest office, people were not only jubilant but ecstatic in many quarters. Lots of impoverished youths saw themselves in the mirror through Weah, a man with a lazy thinking ability with no interest in learning or self-improvement especially with the use of his brain, a man blessed with the love of his people, which he brings to the presidency. They saw in him something much bigger, a man who came from the slums and was able to utilize his feet with some body flexibility to kick around a leather ball that gave much entertainment and hope to war-weary people especially at the time when nothing else mattered but the sound of guns, hardships and a little bit of good news that “George Weah from Liberia was winning awards and was a UNICEF Good Will ambassador.” That, I must admit made me proud too. At the time I was residing in Philadelphia. I was proud of his success and how far he has come. Those feelings I personally emoted because of his soccer prowess were not transported to the political field because of several factors. One key factor is that Weah is mentally lazy!
Weah’s desire to seek the highest office came with a huge cost, a price paid for by the sweat and blood of ordinary believers who in the end would benefit absolutely nothing. These are people who will not get jobs or ascend to any political office because they too do not possess the soccer skills Oppong possessed. They did not win World , Africa best titles and wow soccer lovers around the world.
Majority came to believe that his soccer skill is a transferable asset to the office of the presidency and because of this, his die-hard supporters were and are willing to maim, kill or burn down his opponents’ properties (ask Kailando) simply to get him elected, not caring for their own wellbeing. And for this, Weah and his henchmen never accepted defeat.
In 2011, the party realized the satirical nature of Weah’s running for the presidency and winning especially at that time, so they found “something” in Winston, a man that could bring their ideation to fruition, they plucked him out some political gutter and placed in the driver’s seat of their mediocre political vehicle serviced by liars, crooks and power-hungry hopefuls to move them forward. Their reasoning, Winston was a man of elite class, with an education to match that
of the Harvard trained economist. This was a man in their estimation who could match pound for pound the incumbent’s academic and professional achievements; they were not however counting on the fact that people could see through their veneer of cunningness to use Winston to surreptitiously push Weah in power after four years of Winston’s controlled rule if he had won. They also didn’t count on the fact that the iron lady, Ellen was a political mastermind who has spent years mastering the act of political manipulation and cajoling.
2011, like before, Weah, the “Devry University” trained Sports Medicine Specialist would not accept the results of this election though he ran as a vice-stander bearer. To prove the point that Winston was their stooge, immediately after the election and CDC’s subsequent loss, Winston, the stander-bearer ceased to exist and Mr. Weah became the shot caller, calling the shots and expressing his disgust with the result and again crying that his party was cheated. As a result, young people lost their lives while protesting for his failed attempt at the presidency. It was useless political frenzy like never seen before. The entire city was on lock down with major destruction of properties by disgruntle loyalists to Weah who felt cheated and used. Weah, again sat in his corner negotiating financial settlements to cease and desist.
For twelve years now Liberians have lived in fear of Weah and his CDC, opposition meant one’s properties being damaged or families being petrol-bombed and homes attacked at night while folks and their families slept. Gradually these evil acts became part of our society and in plain sight we see the handiwork of CDC but we all would deny them with the fear that we too would be attacked.
Weah’s political ambition changed Liberian politics forever. The term “petrol-bomb” was for the first time written in our political dictionary! Burning people homes became the trademark for the CDC! For the first time opposition political operatives walked around in day light threatening opposition members even though they were not in power yet. From my little corner, I can just see the danger of Weah being in power; his convoy will be deadly, running people off the roads, free speech is going to be suppressed and the famous “you know who I am,” is going to be recoined. President Doe and Taylor will look like patriots when Weah is done ruling!
In this 2017 elections, after the other political parties took NEC to court, Weah and his goons actually formed an armed group to protect him and intimidate anyone who opposed him with their strong imposition that the presidency was theirs at any cost. When the meeting was going on at Palm Spring hotel with the hope of resolving the misgivings arising out of the first round, Weah’s party was the only one with some form of militia presence, circling the hotel and putting fear in citizens and foreigners alike. Over and over Weah and his CDC has shown their greed for power and to what extend they can go to gain state power even if they don’t have the withwithal to sustain the peace or govern. They are willing to take the mandate of the people and defecate on it in plain sight by continuously pushing the fallacy that Weah will be the best president Liberia has or would ever see. To take the most incompetent individual to push him to “help” develop a broken country simply because he has the love of his people is not only painstakingly hard for
every mother and father who pushes her/his children to excel at their education but immoral at worst.
A man who is not only illiterate but lacks the commonest of sense to know that he is not fit for the job of leading a broken nation he claims to love is not only dangerous but mentally careless. Earning more than US$100, 000, 000 as a professional soccer star, there is nothing Liberia can show for his achievement on the field. As a senator, all he boasts of is that he supported bills. There is no impact whatsoever from his wealth from the field and his activities in government, however, people still place their hope in his ability or the lack thereof to lead a broken nation and heal the wounds that have been festering over the years.
While I am not a fan of Weah’s ascendency to the presidency and still find it hard to believe that he is going to sit in the highest office with nothing in his past to show that he can do the job, I must congratulate him in customary style out of loyalty to those who voted him in.
I am of the overwhelming persuasion that Weah is not going to do any significant thing to develop this nation or heal the wounds. Why do I say this, Weah doesnt have the mental aptitude or decision making capacity to make it happen. Weah’s resume shows his lack thereof. You can’t wave a magic wand to do anything in these contemporary times when leadership is much more of a science as much as it is an art; you are no Tanapolie (sp), the former representative, either.
Regardless of what I and many others have known about you all these years, this is really one of the times in my life I wish you proved me wrong, because the people deserve better schools, roads, housing, food, and everything else. This is one of the times when I would applaud anyone who does anything significant to change the lives of our people for the better. If that person would be you, you will then and only then earn my loyalty. Until then, congratulation, NOT!
By Rinny V. Jackson, [email protected]