Liberian Soccer Legend George Weah To Launch Second Presidential Bid

Written by Kevin Mwanza

Liberian soccer legend George Weah has told africanews. that he will run for president in 2017.

Weah, who won FIFA’s World Player of the Year in 1995, is expected to accept a petition by supports of Liberia’s main opposition party Congress for Democratic change (CDC) on Thursday, Voice of America reported. He is the leader of CDC, which he formed 11 years ago.

He first ran for president in 2005 and came second to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. In 2011, he ran as a vice president to Winston Tubman and once again his party came second to Sirleaf.

“I will be declaring on the 28th of April and our people are gearing up; I want to participate in the process,” Weah told africanews.

“We are going to go to convention and I know I will be the candidate on the ticket of the Congress for Democratic Change,” he added.

Some analysts say Weah’s CDC lost the last two presidential elections because, while the party was popular in urban areas like the capital, Monrovia, it failed to extend its reach to the rural areas.

Nathanial McGill, national chairman of the CDC, however does not agreed with such views and believe the party has nationwide following .

“If we are a Monrovia-based party, how come we pushed this president to the second round in two successive elections? The fact that the government did not win on the first ballot shows we are not a Monrovia-based party. We are a national-based party,” McGill told Voice of America.

In the last election, CDC decided to boycott the presidential runoff claiming it had been rigged out in the first round.

A rally of its supporters called by the CDC leadership in support of the party’s plan to boycott the runoff election turned violent when police fired on protesters, killing one and wounding several others.

Like many of his supporters, Weah treats the assertion that he lost the 2005 polls with understandable contempt.

Weah, a first time senator for Montserrado County in Liberia, was earlier this week mentioned as one of the worse legislators in the West African Nation’s senate by the  Institute for Research and Democratic Empowerment.

Liberia’s efforts to recover from a long civil war that ended in 2003 and reestablish democracy have been hampered by an Ebola epidemic that hit the West African region in 2014 and killed more than 4,000 people in the country.

More than 12,000 people died of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.