As Liberia prepares for its upcoming presidential election, the question on many citizens’ minds is whether the country will thrive under President George Weah’s leadership if he is re-elected.
Weah, a former soccer star who came to power in 2017, has faced criticism and challenges during his first term, leaving some sceptical about his ability to lead Liberia towards prosperity.
One of the major concerns surrounding Weah’s leadership is the issue of corruption. During his first term, there were allegations of corruption within the government, which cast a shadow of doubt on Weah’s commitment to creating a transparent and accountable administration. Many Liberians are looking for reassurance that if Weah is re-elected, he will take stronger measures to combat corruption and ensure that public funds are used for the betterment of the country.
Another factor that has hindered Liberia’s progress under Weah’s leadership is the continued economic hardship faced by many citizens. Despite promises of economic growth and job creation, the poverty rate in Liberia remains high, and the majority of the population struggles to make ends meet. This has led some to question Weah’s ability to effectively address the economic challenges facing the country and bring about meaningful change.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented additional obstacles for Weah’s administration. The pandemic has disrupted global economies, and Liberia has not been spared from its impact. The country has faced difficulties in effectively managing the spread of the virus and providing adequate healthcare to those affected. This has raised concerns about Weah’s ability to handle crises and effectively lead the country during challenging times.
Despite these concerns, Weah argues that he deserves more time to continue his work. He claims to have completed nearly 90% of his agenda and promises to bring further progress if re-elected. Weah’s focus on building new roads, particularly in rural areas, is seen as a positive step towards improving infrastructure and connecting isolated communities to economic opportunities. However, critics argue that infrastructure development alone is not enough to address the underlying issues of poverty and corruption.
In order to avoid a runoff, it is necessary for the winner of the presidential race to secure 50% of the total vote cast, plus at least one additional vote. The former Vice President Joseph Boakai is the main challenger to the incumbent President George Weah, who defeated him in a runoff in 2017.
President Weah has implemented policies such as building hospitals and introducing free education, which have been beneficial to a country still recovering from two devastating civil wars and an Ebola epidemic. However, some voters have expressed disappointment with his inability to improve living standards, tackle corruption, and address the growing narcotics problem among destitute youths.
President Weah has taken action against corruption by firing his chief of staff and two other senior officials after the United States imposed sanctions on them. In addition, a Liberian court has issued arrest warrants for more than 30 former central bank officials in connection with $104 million that went missing.
Despite his enduring appeal as a former football star who rose from poverty, President Weah’s poor track record in his first term and the loss of support from former warlord Prince Yormie Johnson could cost him votes. However, a lack of strong opposition and solid economic growth could work in his favour. The World Bank reports that the economy expanded by nearly 5% last year, driven by gains in agriculture and mining.
Weah’s personal journey from the slums of Liberia to international soccer stardom has inspired many, and his popularity among the country’s youth remains strong. However, it is crucial to evaluate his leadership based on tangible results and meaningful improvements in the lives of ordinary Liberians. The upcoming election presents an opportunity for voters to assess Weah’s track record and prospects for the future.