George Weah Sworn in as President of Liberia

George Weah6
George Weah delivering his inaugural speech at the Samuel Doe stadium

On Monday, January 22nd, Former Football star and Ballon d’Or George Weah  was sworn in as the 25th President of Liberia, in the country’s first democratic transfer of power in over 70 years. Weah, a decorated football star, took over from Africa’s first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Liberians of all ages formed long lines outside the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium, near the capital, Monrovia, to watch Weah’s inauguration.

Moved by the population’s love, Weah said in his inaugural speech, “I have spent many years of my life in stadiums, but today is a feeling like no other. I am overwhelmed with the crowd and the energy here today, … Today, we all wear the jersey of Liberia, and the victory belongs to the people, to peace, and to democracy.”

Flag of Liberia

He added: “I promise to do everything in my power to be the agent of positive change. But I cannot do it alone. … […] And so, My Fellow Citizens, I want to admonish you, that the foundation of the New Liberia must be reinforced by the steel of integrity. We need men and women, boys and girls, whose integrity provides the foundation of the trust that is required for Liberian society to benefit her people.

Brother Weah, we wish you the very best in governing the beautiful country of Liberia. We know that your getting there stems for your great love of your country, and our prayers will carry you throughout this journey! 

For the full speech, watch the video below, and read The Patriotic Vanguard Patriotic Vanguard for the full transcript of President George Weah’s inaugural speech. Enjoy!

George Weah: From One of the Greatest Football Players Alive to President of Liberia

George Weah3
George Weah, president-elect of Liberia

This is a happy day, for George Weah is now president-elect of Liberia! Thinking about how long it took to get there, I am so proud of him. His consistency, his determination to serve Liberia at the highest office, and his love for his country are commendable. As a flashback, remember the Liberian presidential elections of 2005, when he had gone through the second turn of the presidential elections, and amidst election frauds many believed that he had won the election in lieu of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. People told him that he was too young, he should let Mama run the country; that he was just a football (soccer) player, albeit a great one, but a baby in politics, an uneducated man, and should let those who knew it, run the country. After a month of deliberation, and a lot of strength and patriotism, Weah agreed to let Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf claim the victory. He could have said ‘NO’ and gone into protests which could have led Liberia into civil unrest, but he loved his country deeply, and chose peace! In subsequent years, he learned politics, learned how to serve the people better, even unsuccessfully ran as a VP candidate in the 2011 presidential elections, became a Senator of Montserrado County in 2014, and got a graduate degree. Today, he has won the presidential elections. Talk about perseverance, love, and determination!

George Weah4
George Weah won Ballon d’Or while playing for AC Milan

George Weah developed great football abilities early on, and after playing in the Liberian football domestic league at the beginning of his successful career, and winning several national honors (including the Liberian Premier League and the Liberian Cup), Weah went on to play in the Tonnerre of Yaoundé (one of the greatest football clubs of Cameroon) in Cameroon where he was discovered, and then took off for a very successful career in Europe. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, and in 1995 he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d’Or, becoming the first and only African player to date to win these awards. In 1989, 1994 and 1995, he was named the African Footballer of the Year, and in 1996, he was named African Player of the Century. Known for his acceleration, speed, and dribbling ability, in addition to his goalscoring and finishing, Weah was described by FIFA as “the precursor of the multi-functional strikers of today”.  In 2004, he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players.

Flag of Liberia

As you can see, it took him over 12 years from those failed elections of 2005, but he made it. He successfully went from an outstanding football player to the president of a nation. His story is that of perseverance, and particularly of excellence: Do what you are called for, whatever it is, with excellence, … you never know you could be called for greatness through that excellence! We salute his uncompromising, unflinching courage and determination, and we are happy for Liberia

Madam President wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel Peace Prize winners (L to R): Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karman
Nobel Peace Prize winners (L to R): Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karman (source: BBC)

Wow… such was my surprise and joy when I woke up this morning to find out that Madam President, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had won the Nobel peace prize this year with another fellow Liberian lady Leymah Gbowee, and a lady from Yemen Tawakkul Karman.  I just thought that you would want to re-read the post I wrote almost two years ago on this proud African Iron Lady, and watch the video on her first 52 weeks in power.  Enjoy!!! (Just a spin: why is it that for women they had to put all three of them together? couldn’t the Nobel committee have acknowledged Madam president this year, and then the other two next year? or Madam president and the fellow Liberian lady this year, and the other one next year? So sad that when it comes to women, the world, even the Nobel committee is still sexist!)

Madam President: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Iron Lady
Iron Lady: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

There is a say which often goes as such: “When things are so bad that they are irreparable, men leave the power to women or minorities!” (Just look at the USA!) Well… that’s what they will definitely say about Liberia, a country which had been in war for so many years and decades, that the system was so broken down, the country was a mess, no government, no law, no nothing!

Mme President
President of Liberia: Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

And then was elected Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf! The first African female head of state! We even beat the USA, we got our woman in power! Yes… here comes the Iron lady of Africa. Few words will express what the inauguration of Mrs Sirleaf meant to me, and thousands of other girls and women across the continent. Truth be told, very few of us ever thought possible the day a woman would be president on our continent. Very few of us thought possible an actual country ruled by a woman, in Africa….! When I was young, I had read about Nzingha the queen of Angola, Hatshepsut the She-pharaoh of Egypt, Beatrice of Congo, Empress Zewditu of Ethiopia… to name just a few; but these emblematic African female leaders seemed so far removed from me, buried in the sands of the past, that as a young African woman my dreams to see a charismatic woman leader in the modern era seemed to be just that… a dream (I still wanted my dream to become a reality)!

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Don't mess with my president!

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is an achieved economist who served as minister of finance of Liberia in the late 70’s. She once supported Charles Taylor against the bloody government of Samuel Doe… but later on criticized him once she realized he was perpetrating bloody crimes in Liberia as well. After Samuel Doe’s coup in 1980, she went into exile in Kenya where she worked for Citibank as director. She returned to Liberia to run against Doe, but was sentenced to 10 years in jail, and was again forced into exile. She later repeated the scenario in 1997 when she ran against Charles Taylor, but lost. She finally won the elections in 2005 to be the first elected female head of state of Liberia, and Africa. Hers is a story of perseverance, endurance, determination, courage, hard work, and above all love for her country. What brought her back so many times to Liberia? Lord only knows! What made her want to challenge Samuel Doe, Charles Taylor, Prince Johnson, etc…? The good Lord only knows! One thing is sure, this is definitely an Iron Lady!


The video you will see below is a documentary on her first year in power entitled Madam President! It highlights her struggles and victories. How do you re-build a country where there are no institutions? where there are children soldiers? where there is no law? and where a claim to land means nothing after years of war! How do you do that? Well… watch Madam president! surround yourself with the best minds, and some strong women as well! I tell you… Watch and raise your hat to Mrs. President! Yeah… that’s right! Our very first woman president!

To find out more, check out Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Wikipedia, read her book “This Child Will Be Great“. Laura Bush wrote a piece on her in Time Magazine after she and Condoleezza Rice attended Sirleaf’s inauguration. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 by president Bush. Check out Follow the Leader to learn more about the people who made the documentary, and this article by BBC.

Madame La Présidente

Check out the rest: Madam president Part 2 and Madam president Part 3