The Crusader Newspaper Group

Liberia, West Africa Has a New President

Part I of II

Shakas Photo in black
Shaka Barak

By Shaka Barak

We should salute the 4.6 million citizens of the Republic of Liberia for the peaceful and fair elections they just held to replace Africa’s first female President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who finished the last of her two six year terms.

Through these transparent elections held December 26, 2017, a date recognized by millions in the African diaspora as the first day of the Kwanzaa celebration, the Honorable George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah, the 51-year-old former international soccer star, led his political party, the Congress for Democratic Change Political Party to victory.

He and his running mate, Ms. Jewel Cianeh Howard Taylor, received 61.5% of the votes. His opponent, Unity Party head Thomas Boakai, former Liberian Vice President, conceded and congratulated President-elect George Weah. Other congratulations came in from the United Nations, the United States, and neighboring African nations.

George Weah, during his victory speech, promised to bring about a grassroots social transformation, saying there will be no room for corruption designed to cheat the Liberian people. He said he will build on the institutional gains made by President Ellen Sirleaf, and build new institutions to protect the people’s rights and foster inclusion.

He also promised to invite Liberians in the diaspora to come home to form part of the government, using their skills, experience and expertise.  Weah promised to relax constraints to private investments and protect business profits. He sees private investments as one of the keys to transformation.  For a time, Liberia will need help from international partners.

If George Weah can transfer his football acumen to his new role as president of a country, he will be a successful president of Liberia. George Weah is listed on many score sheets as one the greatest athletes that has ever played soccer. As an international sports figure playing a sport that is very difficult and rough, he easily ranks with United States athletes Jim Brown, Colin Kaepernick, and Walter Payton. Because of his level of speed and acceleration, he would be in good company with Jamaica’s Usain St Leo Bolt, and Elaine Thompson. His scoring, dribbling ability, and agility would place him among the United States’ athletes Serena Williams, Stephen Curry, LaBron James and Michael Jordan.

Like these other great African athletes who have parlayed their super powers into financial dynasties, George Weah also earned millions but chose to use his wealth to serve his people, and they elected him President of the country of Liberia. How wonderful it would be if the great athletes of African descent would come together and show George Weah how much they appreciate his love for his people, country, and our Motherland Africa by giving him a helping hand, with wealth most can never spend in a life time.

Some might find a vision like this odd until they consider that Chicago Puerto Rican Congressman Luis Gutierrez declared in November 2017 that he would not run for re-election because “I love Puerto Rico and she’s in a lot of pain and there’s a lot of people that have turned their backs on her and she needs to be rebuilt.” Right now Liberia’s 4.6 million people are about as bad off as Puerto Rico’s 3.41 million, a significant number of whom are Afro-Latino, after hurricane Maria devastated the island three months ago.

Shaka Barak, Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA & ACL), 3rd Assistant President General, and Minister of Education, and Editor of the Garvey’s Voice.


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