Now We Know The Real George Manneh Weah: A True Unifier Or Confusionist?

By Michael B. Bull

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
November 14, 2005


Prior to the 2005 Electioneering campaign in Liberia, many Liberians from diverse political and social backgrounds crowded the field for the presidency. After continuous public out cry, the politicians narrowed the crowd to 22 candidates. Amongst them were newcomers, warlords, and old political gurus. The most controversial contestants were Ivy leaguer Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and retired football legend George Manneh Weah. Critics mounted sustained disparagement against Mrs. Sirleaf about her allege role in Liberia’s war, despite her high profile laurels, experience and education. On the other hand, George Manneh Weah got the heat of being a high school drop-out, intolerable, inept and an unwary political novice; even from former lone star players, and his cousin James Salinsa Debbah.

Weah’s supporters at home and in the United States argued, that given his hands are cleaned, he was the ultimate solution to Liberia’s political woes and that he would unify the country, despite his academic short-fall. After the first round that ended without a clear winner, the two controversial candidates qualified for the run off. Weah’s supporters insisted throughout the campaign, that he was a unifier and the candidate of peace who should be given the presidency. Even flip-floppers like Alaric Tokpa, Alhaji Kromah, Togba Nah Tipoteh and Varney Sherman who had earlier demonized Weah’s political inability to lead Liberia, became new bed fellows, singing the same old song of Weah being the Unifier; after they failed miserably to make significant gains in the first round of elections. It is widely believed that because of their dislike and deep seated hatred for Ellen, and their scramble for jobs led them to Manneh’s CDC.

What puzzles me to date is why would all the Lone Star players who should have championed Weah’s cause pleaded with him not to continue his political sojourn? Dionysius Segbwe, James Debbah, Jonathan Sogbie, et al attested that Weah was not what he was being portrayed. They cited his intolerance, authoritarian style, and temperament. They furthered that Weah was being used by failed, greedy, and gold-digging politicians who have lost favor with the Liberian people to make a political resurgence. As fate would have it, the race for the run-off began. Showing his traits of intolerance, authoritarian and temperament, threatened the lives of journalists who dare write negatively about him. His Clar TV and FM radio stations were being used by CDC officials to castigate and chide opponents. The Liberian people sensing the “Real Weah” decided his fate on November 11 runoff. As defeat became imminent, the so-called unifier began crying that he won 62% of the October 8 elections but was cheated. Only heaven knows why he never protested like Charles Brumskine. The unifier and symbol of peace is now displaying his traits by accusing Ellen of cheating when she didn’t have control over the ballots and polling stations. He is calling on the NEC to halt the counting of ballots until his grievances are addressed. Nowhere in the world can a candidate order the halt of elections process. This is a clear indication of how Weah lacks understanding the dynamics of politics. Not even the Common Sense Approach he so cherished! If Weah were a Unifier and symbol of peace he should have made his case peacefully and use the procedural legal medium for redress, instead of making remarks that undermine the long sought peace and stability that the international community and well meaning Liberians have fought to establish.

Liberian people have gone through enough pains and agonies over the years. We all have paid the ultimate price for this. We are tired with confusion and violence. The unnecessary street demonstrations and inflammation of issues are counter productive. Liberians want to begin their lives anew. Our people are tired living on hand outs. We in the diaspora are homesick, and want to come home to a peaceful Liberia and contribute our quotas to the development of our country. No one should hijack our peace and liberty. Weah you’re not a unifier and symbol of peace, but a confusionist. Prove me wrong by conceding and let Liberians inaugurate their newly elected 23rd President, first African woman president Mrs.Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who has been mandated thru their votes and given the mantle of leadership. George Weah’s disillusioned advisors should be told that the game is over, exchange jerseys and walk out of the pitch with defeat in dignity. Do not stain our history. If indeed you’ve got Liberia at heart, call it a day and join the President Elect Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for a better Liberia.