GEORGE M. WEAH has no doubt been a household name in Liberian politics since the first postwar election in 2005 when the debutant shock Liberia and the world at large relying on his athletics popularity to make it to the runoff election where he lost to Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf crying foul in the process.
CONFIDENT OF VICTORY WEAH and his supporters found it very difficult to accept the election result as they took to the streets in protest, requiring the intervention of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other international institutions to convince Weah and his supporters to abandon their protest for the sake of peace.
THROUGHOUT THE FIRST six years of the Sirleaf presidency, the CDC remained an organized political party, maintaining a functioning headquarter and constantly speaking on national issues a situation that provided some hopes to Weah and his supporters that 2011 was their year of ascending to state power.
MATHEMATICALLY WEAH AND supporters calculated that the nemesis of 2005 which had to do with the low education of Weah could once again come to hunt him in 2011 which prompted the CDC to opt for Weah to contest as Vice Presidential candidate to former United Nations envoy, Cllr. Winston Tubman.
THE CALCULATION DID NOT work out for the CDC as the party performed second to best behind the Unity Party, a drop down the ladder from the performance in 2005 when the CDC won the first round with wide margin over the Unity Party but could not just secure the required 50% plus one vote in accordance with Liberia’s electoral law.
UNABLE TO MATCH THE financial strength of the ruling party coupled with the number of politicians that pledged support to the Unity Party, the CDC boycotted the runoff and the UP smoothly sailed to its second term in power.
STILL POLITICALLY AMBITIOUS WEAH contested the 2014 Special senatorial election and this time came on top of his opponents winning with a massive wide margin although the turnout during the senatorial election was far lower than that of the number of votes cast in 2005 and 2011 in Montserrado County.
IN HIS FIRST ELECTED POLITICAL position, representing the county with the largest number of votes, Weah has been mute on many issues confronting the population and was recently graded by the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD’s) as one of the senators with least participation in the Liberian Senate deliberations.
WEAH’S LITMUS TEST BEFORE launching his Presidential bid has now turned out to be a fiasco with the Montserrado County Senator described as mere spectator at the Senate but still that did not deter him and his supporters as he Thursday accepted what he termed as numerous calls from his people to contest the Presidency in 2017.
IN ANNOUNCING HIS THIRD BID for the Presidency, Weah said: “I George Weah on this 28th day of April 2016 here on the Grounds of the Congress for Democratic Change do hereby accept the numerous calls, your calls and declare before you my countrymen and the all mighty God that I shall contest the presidency of our beloved country in the 2017 National elections”.
PERHAPS A LITTLE POLITICALLY MATURED, Weah promised what Liberians would be happy to hear, promising improvement in education, investment in agriculture and provision of basic social services to the Liberian people.
HIS SUPPORTERS CHEERED as he managed to deliver s short speech but on top of the numerous challenges ahead for Weah, the momentum that once characterized previous CDC political rallies was not the same Thursday.
UNLIKE IN 2005 AND 2011 when zealous youths printed their own t-shirts and walked long distances to get to where the CDC held rallies, supporters cued at the CDC headquarters Thursday to get printed t-shirts.
THURSDAY CROWD WAS NOT a normal CDC crowd in 2005 and 2011 which indicates that the political variables have changed dramatically over the last 12 years for Weah and his CDC.
WITHIN ELEVEN YEARS, YOUNG Liberians have learned a lot that politicians are not the solution to their problems especially when an internationally acclaimed Sirleaf with all the accolades could not provide the needed jobs for the hungry population.
THE LOW TURNOUT IN ALL THE 15 counties during the 2014 special senatorial election are a sign that Liberians apathy for politics is growing which makes the work ahead for people like Weah very difficult especially with majority of his supporters amongst the youthful population.
THE CDC LOYALTY POLITICS where the party believe that its supporters are diehard and do not require money and other incentives to be supportive seems to be no longer the reality.
WEAH AND HIS SUPPORTERS DEFINITELY have work at hand to convince an angry and hungry young population to once again come out in their numbers like 2005 and 2011 defying the rain and sun to support this Presidential bid.
IT IS A BOLD AND GOOD announcement and welcome to the political theatre once again but this time, the work ahead looks tougher than previous years