International soccer stars and Liberians on Friday celebrated George Weah’s presidential victory within the nation’s first democratic switch of energy after two devastating civil wars, as the previous ace striker vowed to usher in change.
Idolised in Liberia as “Mister George”, Weah is about to interchange Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who in 2006 took over the nation based by freed US slaves. He can be sworn in on January 22.
The 51-year-old, who grew up in grinding poverty, starred at European giants Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan within the 1990s, earlier than briefly enjoying for Chelsea and Manchester City towards the tip of his profession.
He entered politics after retiring from soccer in 2002.
Weah simply beat Vice President Joseph Boakai in Thursday’s run-off vote, gaining 61.5 p.c of the poll towards 38.5 p.c for his rival and profitable in 14 of Liberia’s 15 counties.
“My fellow Liberians, I deeply feel the emotion of all the nation. I measure the importance and the responsibility of the immense task which I embrace today. Change is on,” Weah stated on Twitter.
Boakai conceded defeat on Friday and stated he had referred to as Weah to congratulate him. He additionally appealed for unity, saying: “My love for the nation is way (extra) profound than my need for the presidency.
“I reject any temptation of imposing pain, hardship, agony and uncertainty,” he stated. “My name will not be used as (an) excuse for one drop of human blood to be spilt in this country.”
French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the ex-star striker’s victory, saying: “Congratulations to Mister George for this election! Great moment for Liberia!” He additionally invited Weah to go to France and the invitation had been accepted, Macron’s workplace stated.
His former membership Paris Saint-Germain tweeted: “We knew George Weah way before he became President-elect of Liberia. Congrats to the PSG and world football legend on the latest chapter of his brilliant career!!!”
Tributes poured in from former Chelsea star Didier Drogba, Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure and Marseille’s former Cameroon midfielder Stephane Mbia.
AC Milan supplied their congratulations “to the Red and Black legend” who starred for the membership over 4 seasons.
Weah was already dealing with strain Friday to enhance the lives of hundreds of thousands of Liberians dwelling in abject poverty.
“I think the Liberian people will expect… Weah’s presidency to (have a) pro-poor, pro-growth policy that will put the people at the centre of national development. Wherein that power is given to the people; the provision of education, youth training for disadvantaged and vulnerable youths that are on the streets and who see themselves in him,” stated political analyst Vita Ishmael Tue.
Clinton Taryor from Weah’s CDC celebration added: “Mr. President, don’t forget your roots. We are not behind you because you’re handsome or because you are a star…. Some of us are behind you because we know that you walked in our shoes.”
The tumultuous occasions of the previous 70 years in Liberia, the place an estimated 250,000 folks died throughout back-to-back civil wars between 1989-2003, have prevented a democratic handover from happening since 1944.
Sirleaf’s predecessor Charles Taylor fled the nation in 2003, hoping to keep away from prosecution for funding insurgent teams in neighbouring Sierra Leone. Two presidents who served previous to Taylor have been assassinated.
The Sirleaf administration, elected in 2005, guided the nation out of the ruins of battle and thru the horrors of the 2014-16 Ebola disaster, however is accused of failing to fight poverty and corruption.
Boakai, who served in Sirleaf’s authorities for 12 years, was “riding on a ticket with excess baggage,” Liberian each day Frontpage Africa stated Friday.
“In the eyes of many, nepotism, corruption, waste, and a messy educational system have dogged the government’s legacy, and its by-product is a shrinking economy,” it stated.
Weah, the one African ever to have gained each FIFA’s World Player of the Year and the coveted Ballon D’Or, missed out on the presidency in a 2005 bid.
Weah’s newest marketing campaign was not with out controversy, nevertheless.
He has drawn some criticism for selecting Jewel Howard-Taylor, the highly effective ex-wife of former warlord and president Charles Taylor, as his vice-president. Taylor is serving a 50-year sentence in a British jail for battle crimes.
Weah additionally had the backing of a infamous former warlord Prince Johnson who sipped a beer as his males brutally tortured former president Samuel Kanyon Doe to dying. He was additionally allegedly supported by President Sirleaf.
Reported by AFP