The Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) senatorial hopeful for Montserrado County, Ambassador George M. Weah, last Friday declared victory judging by the huge turnout of his supporters who brought the City of Monrovia to a standstill as he officially launched his campaign.
“I am already Montserrado’s Senator,” Amb. Weah told the mammoth crowd at the CDC headquarters in his speech climaxing the parade.
The overconfident soccer legend, in a joyous but exhausted tone, also warned candidates contesting against him in the Special Senatorial Elections for Montserrado County to honorably quit, because the numbers of CDCians, have proved that Liberians have spoken.
“I want to thank you people for your continuous confidence bestowed in us, and for the respect and for the commitment. You have shown to the world that the mighty Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) is still alive,” Amb. Weah said. “You have shown the oppositions that we have already won the elections, and they need to quit.”
The CDC political leader also told the crowd that Montserrado County District # 4 and 9 Representatives Henry Fahnbulleh and Munah Pelham-Youngblood have given him the ‘keys’ to Montserrado County.
The chairman for CDC’s Senatorial Campaign for Montserrado County, Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, also hailed CDCians for the huge turnout, and urged them to likewise turn out to vote on Tuesday, December 16.
Prior to the speeches, the CDC procession of a record crowd of tens of thousands of supporters began from Weah’s house at Rehab-Duport Road, through Red Light- Freeport, the Somalia Drive and to Central Town before the crowd moved to the Headquarters of the CDC in Congo Town, where another record crowd of supporters had gathered as well.
The parade included Montserrado County’s Representatives Edwin M. Snowe, Henry F. Fahnbulleh, Bill Twehway, Gabriel Nyenkan, William Dakel, Acarous M. Gray, Munah Pelham-Youngblood, among others.
The supporters, who were predominantly wearing white T-shirts with the photograph of Amb. Weah and the subscription, “Yes! We Must” were seen dancing, singing and chanting pro-CDC slogans, while other supporters were holding the banners of the CDC Montserrado county senatorial candidate and the casket bearing the mortal remains of what they described as nepotism, corruption, power greed and injustice.
The carnival of Mr. Weah began at about 10:00am, but because of the throngs of people, which led to traffic-jams along their route, the parade did not end until about 8:00pm.
Weah’s supporters, some of whom danced and waited at the headquarters from morning into the night hours, demonstrated their unflinching support with a massive turnout to indicate his impending victory over his main rivals, independent candidate Robert A. Sirleaf (the President’s son), Christopher Z. Neyor, the former president of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) and Benjamin Sanvee, a former youth advisor to President Charles G. Taylor.
It can be recalled that Amb. Weah gave President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf his resignation letter last Tuesday in preparation for campaigning in the Senatorial elections of Montserrado County.
The former AC Milan superstar was appointed in December 2012 after Nobel laureate Leymon Gbowee resigned the post, accusing Sirleaf of nepotism.
Weah's job was principally to facilitate the peace process following 14 years of ruinous civil war which ended in 2003 after the deaths of 250,000 people.
The role has been complicated by an Ebola epidemic which has devastated Liberia's public services and health infrastructure, killing 5,000 people in west Africa in 11 months.
Nationwide senatorial elections had been due to take place in October, but were suspended until December 16, with a mass mobilization of voters deemed unsafe at the height of the epidemic.
A glamorous figure at home, the rags-to-riches story of the man his compatriots call King George has provided a rare beacon of hope for impoverished people who treat him as an icon.
A member of the Kru ethnic group mired in poverty, Weah was raised by his grandmother on a reclaimed swamp in one of the worst slums of Monrovia.
In the 1994-1995 season he was named both African and European player of the year after top scoring in Europe's prime tournament, the Champions League, with eight goals.
Now 48, he has parlayed outstanding spells at Monaco, Paris Saint Germain, Milan and Chelsea into a career in politics, although his two campaigns in the 2005 and 2011 presidential elections were unsuccessful.
His senate bid is widely seen as a step towards another tilt at the presidency in 2017, although he will have to convince his party that he can make it third time lucky.