ELECTIONS 2023: Know Your Candidate – Profile Of George Manneh Weah

As Liberians anxiously look forward to choose their president on October 10, 2023 amid campaign rallies by contestants who are doing all in their bid to capture the votes of Liberians during these elections, one of those is the incumbent, H.E. George Manneh Weah whose profile is been featured by the GNN-Liberia.

Liberia’s 24th President, Dr. George Manneh Weah, was born on October 1, 1966 on the Capitol Bypass in Monrovia, Montserrado County unto the union of Mr. William Tarpeh Weah and Madam Anna Quayeweh Weah (both deceased). He holds ancestry to the Kru and Bassa ethnic groups, as his father hailed from Grand Kru County while his mother hailed from Grand Bassa County. The Liberian Leader, born in a Christian home, got converted as a Muslim in 1989. To keep alive his grandmother religious’ tutelage, President Weah reconverted to Christianity following her death in 1994.  Presently, he is a devout Christian; he is a full and dutiful member of Georgia Patten United Methodist Church located down Waterside, Johansen Drive, Monrovia.

His Father, the late William T. Weah, worked as a mechanic with LIBTRACO on Johansen Drive while his mother, Madam Anna Quayeweh Weah, was a marketer. Dr. George Manneh Weah was reared by his late grandmother, Emma Forkay Klonjlaleh Brown, a devout Christian. Dr. George Manneh Weah George is one of dozens of children brought up by his grandmother.

President Weah is one of 13 siblings in his family. The Liberian Leader is a family man. He married Clar Marie Weah in 1992. The Liberian Leader is blessed with children (biological and adopted).

Education

In 2013, the Liberian Leader earned a master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA) from Keller Graduate School of Management, DeVry University, United States of America. In 2011, Dr. George Manneh Weah earned a Bachelor Degree (BA) in Business Administration from the DeVry University in Miami, Florida (United States of America).

He began his early childhood education at the Daniel E. Howard and C. W. Brumskine Elementary schools. President Weah later attended G. W. Gibson and Ellen Mills Scarborough for his junior high education. In pursuit of secondary school education, President Weah attended Muslim Congress and Wells Hairston High Schools. He obtained high school diploma from the Continental Academy in the United States on September 21, 2007.

The Liberian Leader has three honorary Doctorate Degrees of Humane Letters (LHD). The Honoris Causa are in recognition of President Weah’s accomplishments and contributions in many fields, including humanity, sports, peacebuilding and education.

They were conferred on him by the AME Zion University (June 22, 1997), Cuttington University (June 29, 2018) and University of Liberia (December 12, 2018).

Soccer Career

President Weah became famous at a young age due to his adorable soccer exploits. He started as a goalkeeper with Young Brazil. He later played for Bahjaenekay and Young Survivors, scoring 34 goals in his debut season thus earning him the highest goal scorer in the league. Notably in Liberia, President Weah played for Bong Range United, Mighty Barrolle and Invincible Eleven. In 1987, he won the highest goals scorer (Golden Boots) and most valuable player awards in the Liberia Football Association First Division League.

He was recruited by Tonnerre Kalara Club de Yaoundé in late December of 1987. Following a brief spell in Cameroun, the Liberian Leader was signed by A S Monaco of France (1988 – 1992).

The President of Liberia also played for Paris Saint-Germaine (1992-1994). From 1994 to 1999, he played for AC Milan in Italy. President Weah continued his glamorous soccer career playing for Chelsea FC in England (1999), and Manchester City (1999) in England. He moved back to France to play for Olympic Marseille and contributed in saving the club from relegation. He finally drew the curtains on his soccer career playing with Al-Jazira in the United Arab Emirates (2000 – 2003).

During his soccer career, the President won collective and individual awards, including three Confederation of African Football (CAF) Player of the Year awards, Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) Player of the Year, Ballon d’Or, Union of European Football Association (UEFA) and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Player of the Year in 1995-1996. To date, he is the only African player to achieve this feat in a single year.

President Weah represented his country as he played, captained and served as technical director for the Liberia National Soccer Team, Lone Star. He led them to two African Cup of Nations finals (1996 and 2002).

Job Experience

While playing for Invincible Eleven (IE), President Weah worked for the Liberia’s Post and Telecommunication as switch board operator.

Accolades – Club

Invincible Eleven (IE)

Liberia Football Association Premier League (Champions 1986-1987)

AS Monaco (France)

Coupe de France 1991

Paris Saint-Germain

Ligue 1 – 1993-94

Coupe de France

1992/93, 1994/95

Coupe de la Ligue

1995

A.C. Milan (Italy)

Serie A

1995/96, 1998/99

Chelsea FC (England)

FA Cup

1999/2000

Individual Awards

African Footballer of the Year: 1989, 1994 and 1995

FIFA XI: 1991, 1996 (reserve), 1997, 1998

French Division 1: Foreign Player of the Year 1990/91

UEFA Champions League Top Scorer: 1994/95

BBC African Footballer of the Year: 1995

Onze d’Or: 1995

Ballon d’Or: 1995

FIFA Player of the Year: 1995

ESM Team of the Year: 1995/96

Onze d’Argent: 1996

FIFA Fair Play Award: 1996

FIFA Player of the Year (2nd place): 1996

IFFHS African Player of the Century: 1996

World Soccer 100 Greatest Footballers of All Time: 1996

FIFA 100: 2004

Arthur Ashe Courage Award: 2004

Golden Foot Legends: 2005

AC Milan Hall of Fame

IFFHS Legends

Goodwill Ambassador

Having worked extensively with UNICEF beginning 1994, Weah was named its Goodwill Ambassador on April 7, 1997. On July 14, 2004, Weah received the prestigious Arthur Ashe Courage Award from ESPN for his work on behalf of children who were affected by conflict, disease, and poverty. Additionally, that year, Weah made several visits to Liberia and Sierra Leone as Goodwill Ambassador in support of HIV/AIDS prevention and polio vaccination campaigns. He also partnered with UNICEF to reintegrate and demobilize child soldiers (boys and girls) back into their families and communities in Liberia as he did in Sierra Leone.

After ending his glamorous career in 2003, Weah returned home and labored in restoring peace to Liberia, a nation rocked by an internal conflict. He mainly risked everything, including moving into dangerous terrains, to ensure a successful disarmament of thousands of ex-combatants in his capacity as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Politics

Dr. George Manneh Weah began his political career in 2004. He is the founder of Liberia National Congress Party (LINCP) which later became the formidable Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). Weah contested three elections and won two. He lost the presidential race in the runoff with former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in 2005. In 2014, Weah contested and won the Montserrado County Senatorial by-election. In November 2017, he won the General and Presidential Elections with over 60% of valid votes following a runoff with former vice president, Joseph N. Boakai. Dr. Weah was inaugurated on January 22, 2018.

In his first annual message to the National Legislature, President Weah reduced his salary and other benefits by 25% with immediate effect.  According to Article 60 of the Liberian Constitution, salaries of the President and the Vice President are established by the National Legislature and cannot be increased or reduced during the period for which they are elected. However, the President took the action in view of the very rapidly deteriorating economic situation of Liberia.

Humanitarian

During years of carnage and nightmare in Liberia as a result of the Liberian civil crisis (1990 – 2003), President Weah wasn’t just the positive image of Liberia but was also the source of life for many. He was the nation’s torchbearer during those dark days.

He flew regularly to refugee camps hosting Liberians, most notably the Bujumbura camp in Ghana. He provided relief items, sponsored some refugees in school and gave air tickets to some who had the opportunity of traveling for better future.

Back home, Weah took charge of sponsoring the national team, Lone Star, which he captained and later served as technical director for, to honor international games at his personal expense. He awarded scholarships to deserving and disadvantaged students and children respectively. To date, Weah has the highest number of scholarships in the country.

Quest for second term bid

The Incumbent President George Manneh Weah during one of his campaign rallies pleaded with potential voters in Montserrado County Electoral District #3 not to reject him again as he seeks reelection.

In his campaign tour Thursday, 17 August 2023, Mr. Weah begged voters to vote for more developments so he can leave a legacy.

President Weah and his campaign team rallied Montserrado Electoral Districts 2 and 3 on Thursday but received a low turnout. The districts are thought to be opposition Unity Party (UP) strongholds.

Mr. Weah bragged that he’s the best president the country has ever had, stressing his wish for leaving a development legacy in the minds of the people if he’s re-elected.

“District #3 I’ve come again to you. Let me give you a narrative of how we must appreciate one another,” Weah began his plead with voters.

“I want you to know when I was running for Senator of Montserrado County, I came here and you did not give me your mandate, but I still did not give up and won the election,” Weah continued.

He explained that while serving as a Senator, he returned to the district along with former National Port Authority Managing Director Bill Tweahway and they build a school in the district so that the residents can have access to education.

“Again in 2017, I came to you to vote for me as your President, and most of you did not vote for me, but it did not stop me from building your roads and giving you free WASSCE [West African Senior School Certificate Examination] fees and free education,” he told the residents.

“I just want to let you know I love you unconditionally, “Mr. Weah added.

President Weah noted that he has returned to the district again to ask the people of Montserrado County Electoral District #3 to vote him into power for a second term to continue developments for the nation.

He pleaded with them not to reject his presidential bid, emphasizing that he’s a president of the people and he wants to leave a legacy behind.

“District Number Three, I’ve Come to you again, this time I’m not angry at you because you have rejected me throughout,” he said.

“We are all friends and families, this time around I’ve come. The only thing I am going to tell you is to join those of your friends who give us power in 2017 to give us our second term to leave a legacy that you will all remember,” President Weah said.

He promised District #3 that if the voters vote for him and if he’s elected, unprecedented developments will come to the district.

He pledged his commitment to developing the district.

“People of District Three, I’m not a stranger to you, and you can follow my track record. Of all [that] I’ve done for you, so please I’ve come asking you for a second term to continue with more developments for you to enjoy.”

Mr. Weah bragged that his government has done much in a short time, including building roads, hospitals, providing free tuition for students in public universities and colleges, among others.

He alleged that his government has done more than what the administration of the former Unity Party (UP) government did in 12 years.

Some credits for this article came from the Executive Mansion Website

Watch out for another profile in our subsequent posting ahead of October polls

 

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