Debunking The George Weah Myth


By Dionysius Sebwe

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
October 8, 2005


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No matter how much spin we employ or rationalize about a candidate’s leadership deficiency, the election of 2005 is about substance. Thus, Liberians should be encouraged to make honest and objective analysis on each candidate. Moreover, perception is sometimes deceptive, and that’s exactly the dilemma we find ourselves in today. Let’s analyze what George Weah’s supporters are saying.

George Weah Is Famous

It is a fact George Weah is famous due to his exceptional performances on the soccer field. But what you don’t hear is his ineffectiveness and poor leadership as coach, coach player, and technical director of the national team. By the way, who appointed Weah as the national team headcoach? Did the Liberian people have any input in the decision-making process to appoint him as head coach? No one appointed Weah but himself. There was no consensus in making Weah a head coach. However, Liberians went along with the decision because Weah was riding on the wave of fame, and people became oblivious to his true ability to lead. Transfer Weah’s behavior to a grand stage, the presidency, and what you have is an egomaniac, authoritarian leader.

George Weah Will Not Pilfer Or Embezzle From The Government’s Coffers

I find this very hard to believe because every player can attest to the colossal corruption and the abuses of his celebrity “power” while on the national team. Every penny George Weah spent on the national team was reimbursed. As a matter of fact, he inflated the amount the government of Liberia owed him on tickets. Weah also coerced the national team, and to some extent officials at the LFA, into a binding contract to purchase soccer equipment exclusively from his brand “Weah” and sports store. While our World Cup hope was immensely dashed, Weah’s store bilked the LFA and Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Because George Weah was never scrutinized or accountable to anyone on the national team, he exploited and monopolized the team, ostracized players at whim, inflated ticket prices, and basically controlled media fee distribution. Why should the Liberian people trust Weah with their resources when he failed to employ accountability and transparency on the national team? Even proceeds from charities in which Weah participated in Europe for Liberia were never accounted for. Weah got away with the unimaginable because there was no oversight, and if there was one, he was exempted. If Weah becomes president, he would definitely be a mouse in a cheese factory.

George Weah Knows Lots Of Famous People

Sure, Weah does know lots of famous people. But do those famous people know him on the basis of intellect or political savvy? Or do they know him because of dazzling performances on the soccer field? I’m sure his famous acquaintances know him because of athletic performance rather than sound, political leadership.

Liberians must not be entirely beholden to George Weah due to ubiquitous love almost everyone has for this country. Weah has already admitted his leadership shortcoming – relying entirely on “best brains” and “yes-sir brains.” How much revelation do we need to confirm Weah is not wise, a critical component of leadership? Thinking his “best brains” will compensate for his lack of leadership is misguided.

George Weah Is A Humanitarian

I may be cynical, but Weah’s humanitarian efforts are calculated; he wants to be a president. If Weah were such a philanthropist, he would have secured lots of soccer contracts for many struggling, talented, young Liberian players considering the connections he has. Also, with allegedly so much wealth he has, he would have built more schools and provided abundance of school supplies to our needy education system, especially education for his young rebel soldiers he supported. Or, he would have established an Education Fund to support education reform and built education-related institutions with the intent of alleviating illiteracy in the Liberian society. Unfortunately, because Weah’s wealth is based on athletics, he despises education-related endeavors. And if he’s now contributing to educational projects, I highly question his motive and suspect he’s trying to play catch-up due to his presidential aspiration.

George Weah Is A Uniter

It is an absolute fact Weah is fond of schisms. Remember Lone Star’s shameful and dismal performance in South Africa, 1996? Our national team was split into two camps. The rest is history. Weah pitted players against each other, thereby sabotaging the comraderie amongst players. Liberia suffered in the end due to Weah’s ego and intransigence. Contrary to what Weah’s supporters claim of his unifying ability, ironically his presidential ambition is creating a division in our society. George Weah presses on to become president because his selfish goal of attaining the presidency takes precedence over the needs – reconciliation, stability, peace, and security – of Liberia.

George Weah’s Basic Education Is Enough

To think Weah has the intellectual capability to make sound decisions on major issues is just plain deceptive and a complete fallacy. Weah is intellectually incoherent and eratic. Have you wondered how many times Weah, due to psychological reasons, resigned from the national team, then returned as if nothing happened? What leader would abandon his troops midway through a mission? How long is Weah going to shun or get away with academic and intellectual challenges? Rewind to the 80’s, junior high thru high school, George Weah changed schools multiple times per year to avoid academic challenges. Fast forward to 2005, Weah seeks the Liberian presidency cognizant of his intellectual and political leadership deficiencies.

It is not in anyone’s best interest to put a politically unwise novice in the Executive Mansion and expect this country to recover politically, amicably, and economically from more than ten years of civil strife. George Weah’s friends and minions should dissuade him from making a fool of himself. Depending on his wealth to bribe or buy votes will be exposed because Liberians know better, and the international community is watching. Lack of oversight, accountability, and transparency that were commonplace on the national team will not be permitted in our newfound democracy.

Making Weah a president of Liberia implies we are susceptible to a false sense of our nation’s stability, security, and prosperity. George Weah should be held to similar leadership standards developing and developed countries require of their leaders. Anything less is tantamount to Liberia’s suicide. A qualified president is the beginning of a profound transformation that will trigger a chain reaction throughout our society.
Dionysius Sebwe is Former Player of Liberia Lone Star and President of Liberia Absentee Ballot Organization