The Men (Sycophants) In Weah’s Ears
Advisers and hanger-ons are ruining the legacy of inarguably one of the greatest personas out of Africa – with one bad misstep after the next
AS A FOOTBALLER, GEORGE MANNEH WEAH conquered the world, beating every opponent and mastering his footballing craft to become only the first African to be voted world best, European best and African best in the same year.
THE YEAR 1995 BELONGED TO WEAH and may never be duplicated by anyone ever in the most popular sport on planet earth.
TODAY, WEAH STANDS ALONGSIDE the great king Pele amongst FIFA list of 100 greatest ever living players.
IN FOOTBALL, NO ONE, AND Perhaps nothing compares to Weah. It could take probably another century before anyone from Liberia will be able to match or even surpass what Weah has accomplished in football.
IN 2005, WEAH, RIDING on his popularity accepted a petition from his supporters and the mighty congress for democratic change was born.
WEAH, AS EXPECTED OBTAINED a plurality of votes in the first round of voting on October 11, 2005, garnering 28.3% of the vote against a field of 22 candidates eyeing the presidency.
THE TALLY PUT WEAH INTO the second round with the politically-more-experienced Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who defeated him in the second round of voting on November 8. Weah did manage to garner 40.6% of the votes to Sirleaf’s 59.4% in a losing effort.
WEAH AND HIS SUPPORTERS CRIED fouls alleging that the election had been rigged through voter intimidation and ballot tampering. His supporters protested the results in the streets but after assurances that the vote was fair, several prominent African leaders called on Weah’s supporters to accept the result with grace and dignity.
IT WAS A RUGGED BUT IMPRESSIVE try for Weah at a first try at politics. Today, scores of politicians’ young and old who rode on Weah’s back owed the political prominence and seats in the national legislature to Weah.
In 2011, Weah agreed to run second to the veteran diplomat, Ambassador Winston Tubman but his CDC again cried foul, refusing to actively campaign in the second round and handing Sirleaf the presidency for the second time.
IN 2014, WEAH SLAYED HIS OPPONENTS – including the President’s son, Robert Sirleaf, to clinch the much-sought Montserrado County Senatorial seat.
THE ELECTION HAS BEEN VIEWED by many as a litmus test in leadership for the popular footballing icon whose political wing has branded itself as the party for the grass roots. But Weah and the CDC’s silence on a number of burning issues including the plight of many Liberians struggling to benefit from adequate healthcare, overriding issues of overtaxing the poor and the clearance of containers from the port, the dire straits conditions at the john f. Kennedy medical center and a host of others, has led many to question why.
ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE, WEAH has again been quiet on the issues, hardly voicing out his views and standing by while key legislations are being sailed through or stalled – without any input from the party’s political leader.
WEAH’S PERFORMANCE SO FAR has been dismal, according to the institute for research and democratic empowerment, an institution whose report is rarely challenged by lawmakers. The report indicated in its 2015 legislative monitoring scorecard that Weah and several of his peers – Sen. Jim W. Tornnlah of Margibi county, Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba county, Sen. Henry w. Yallah of bong county and Sen. Sando d. Johnson of Bomi county”- were among the lowest participators in Senate deliberations.
The IREDD survey showed that the legislature has been weak in the exercise of its statutory mandate in compelling government agencies and ministries to submit quarterly and annual budgetary performance reports on a regular basis. Noticeably, the exercise of this function, the reports states has been marred by sporadic tendencies without any evidence of pursuing this valuable function as a matter of legislative responsibility.
WE FIND IT TROUBLING THAT MR. WEAH’S ADVISORS continue to babysit his political life to the detriment of his political future and party’s own quest to remain relevant in the political and democratic discourse.
INSTEAD OF FINDING WAYS TO GUIDE the Senator in the right direction, the few hanger-ons and advisors have been quietly shielding Mr. Weah from debates but quick to jump to his defense when his public relations debacle runs amok.
THE CURRENT SITUATION INVOLVING an issue of child support in the U.S. State of Georgia is a clear illustration of some of the bad guidance the Senator Weah has been receiving.
THE SENATOR HAS SAT BY IDLY As his supporters and advisors take to social media to discredit and rain insults at the mother of his child while blaming the media and other political foes for the unfolding development surrounding the case.
WEAH’S ADVISORS CONTINUE to harbour the belief that his entitlement to the presidency means that it will be rewarded to him on a silver platter as many in his circle continue to ride on his coattails to uplift themselves politically at his own detriment.
LIBERIA LOVES GEORGE WEAH FOR what he did as a footballer, elevating a small country from football obscurity to the top of the world. But all that could be ruined if Mr. Weah and the CDC fail to surround themselves with positive models and strong advisors that will propel him to fulfil his political dreams.
THE LATE SAMUEL DOE WITH all his flaws was a quick learner and surrounded himself with a lot of strong technocrats and experience political veterans.
LEADERSHIP IS NOT AND WILL NEVER be about telling a leader only the good things he or she wants to hear but the things that will make them better.
ALIENATING POLITICAL FOES and ostracizing those with dissenting views from his core will only lead Mr. Weah down a spiral slope of political what-ifs.
WEAH NO DOUBT DRAWS a good number of grassroots support, but his Presidential quest will continue to be eluded if he and his party repeatedly fail to find a way to cross over to the other half, the political intellects and those still in a state of uncertainty over whether or not they should give a shot in the arm and complete Mr. Weah’s transition from footballer to President.