In the wake of the recent mounting support for Vice President Joseph N. Boakai in Gbarnga, Bong County, for his presidential bid in October, ex international footballer, Senator George Manneh Weah (Monsterrado County), has told Radio France International (RFI) in Paris, France that he is the choice of the Liberian people to be president.
Senator Weah told RFI last Tuesday, “I am a winnable candidate—I am the choice of the people.”
He told the radio that he has no qualms about winning the upcoming elections, because he has the support base to do so.
“If you go around Liberia and ask about Senator Weah, the people, the locals will tell you that ‘he’s a good man, he is doing what we are expecting him to do,’” Weah told RFI.
Weah said winning the October Presidential Elections is a matter of time and therefore it is not if but when he becomes president.
He said: “When I become president I will make sure we do everything to invest in agriculture to create employment for our people and for our people to be able to sustain themselves. Through agriculture we can create jobs for the young people.”
He meanwhile dismissed criticism of his poor political track record and told RFI that his opponents are trying to “defame” him.
Weah, representing his Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party, is gearing up for elections in October, and is the standard bearer of the Coalition of the Democratic Change (CDC) with Senator Jewel Howard Taylor of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) as his running mate.
In a triumphant boast, Weah told RFI: “Everything I do, everything I touch is successful,” but did not give further clarification. Weah meanwhile defended his current senatorial position by saying, “I co-sponsor bills and I represent my people well.” He said he has helped promote legislation focused on Liberian youth, although he was not specific.
Meanwhile, local media have criticized what the non-governmental organization Institute for Research and Democratic Empowerment has described as his chronic absenteeism in the legislature. He described as a ‘fallacy’ a local media report that he made a brief appearance at a meeting of the ECOWAS regional bloc, but left early, prompting Rep. Edwin Snowe to make a statement on his behalf.
“It’s fallacy—we’re in a political time. People against my ideology will say what they want to say. If you say I don’t go to ECOWAS – there’s no facts,” Senator Weah said.
Charles Taylor Phone Call
Weah admitted earlier this year to local media that he had spoken to former President Charles Taylor, who was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Weah said that someone nearby was on the phone with Charles Taylor, who had heard his (Weah’s) voice in the background and asked to speak with him.
“I think there’s nothing wrong with that—to speak to a former president. Even though I know the president we’re talking about,” Weah said in a defense. “But again, it’s not a friendly call. Just that I wanted to say hi to him, so I said hi to him. That was it.”
Reconciliation is one of his campaign strategies as the CDC candidate, he said. So would voters believe in his commitment to reconciliation after this phone call? Weah pointed to his time as a former UN peace ambassador that he worked on disarming child soldiers.
“I believe Liberians should be safe and united,” he told the radio station. “We came from an era of misunderstanding—not understanding cultural diversity…without solidarity and reconciliation and peace we cannot grow, we cannot advance,” he added.
Weah said he is also looking out for the needs of rural voters.