‘Like Tubman, Like Weah’, Liberians Forecast President Weah’s Leadership Philosophy

L/R: Late President William V. S. Tubman and President George Manneh Weah

Having clutched to power as President of Africa’s oldest independence nation, Liberia, President George Manneh Weah who has been described as a ‘Native Man’ to be elected to the presidency will possibly depict  the real ideological leadership of Liberia’s 18th President, William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman (November 29, 1895 – July 23, 1971).

GNN last week sampled the views of Liberians as to their view on the leadership of Liberia’s soccer pride, and now their youthful president; his leadership formula, and what will be expected of him during his remaining years as the nation’s ‘Country Giant’ and the 25th President of one of Africa’s poorest nations.

Since his ascendancy as President nearly two years ago, the ‘Country Giant’ is doing all in his power to follow the footstep of the late President Tubman, his reign, and the style of operations of his followers, many of whom who are reportedly pretending as the ‘Good Guys’ are making no difference as compare to the Tubman era.

According to the GNN investigation, the Liberian leader is politically doing all in his powers to follow the classical example of the Tubman era; visioning that his tenure as President of this republic remains undisputed, by making sure that the Liberian people witness his administration endlessly, with his confidants calling for a 24-year rule.

Liberians witnessed the Tubman 27-years rule the formation of the ‘PROs’ (Special recruits who were paid for given out sensitive information on opponents)  as Liberia’s 17th president constituted the longest tenure in that office in the history of Africa’s first republic (proclaimed in 1847); he even though he was responsible for numerous reforms and social policies, including enactment of suffrage and property rights for all female residents of 21 or older; authorization of direct participation in government by all tribes.

A descendant of early American immigrants, mostly liberated slaves, Tubman grew up in poverty and under severe discipline. His father, a stonemason, required him and the other four children to attend daily family prayer services as well as church services and the local grade school. The children had to sleep on floor pallets because their father thought beds were too soft and therefore “degrading to character development.”

Tubman, the second son, first planned to be a preacher and was accredited, at 19, as a Methodist lay pastor. At about the same time, he received a temporary appointment as a junior collector of customs. His record of competence and honesty led him toward public service. He studied law after hours and at 23 successfully passed the bar examination.

Tubman later won election to the local legislature and then occupied a wide range of public offices, including trial judge, public prosecutor, and arbitration referee. At 35 he won election to the Liberian Senate. At Monrovia, the capital, he undertook the David-against-Goliath task of opposing the entrenched establishment—a self-perpetuating clique of American-descended Liberians who had long dominated the national government.

The witty, cigar-puffing Tubman, who gaily labeled himself the “Convivial Cannibal from the Downcoast Hinterlands,” moved adroitly to advance the constitutional rights of the majority tribes. His maneuvers were so effective that the leadership of his party (the True Whig) proceeded to “kick him upstairs” to the Supreme Court, where he served as an associate justice until 1943. Then he unexpectedly announced his candidacy for the presidency. He won handily in the ensuing election and six times thereafter. In June 1944 Tubman and his predecessor, Edwin Barclay, were White House guests of President Franklin D. Roosevelt—the first African heads of state to be so honoured.

Like President Weah, his administer seems to be somehow similar to that of the Tubman administration, when many of those who preferred to be called the president’s ‘gatekeepers’ or the president’s best friends are said not to be helping him in the successful administering of his nearly two years leadership.

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About Cholo Brooks 13338 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.