Why are some Liberians feeling so let down by President George Weah now? I have watched folks express so much anger at the President in the last week. Some have insulted him and others are even making threats. There’s a saying that one should not get mad at someone for being who they have always been. Instead, be upset with yourself for not coming to terms with it sooner. He has been showing his true colors and he is who he is, yet the majority of Liberians voted him into the highest position in the land. Now they are experiencing buyer’s remorse. You placed your dreams in the hands of someone whose only focus has been himself. ..pulling himself out of poverty; building a name for himself and amassing wealth for himself.
A young Liberian man and supporter of George Weah once said We want to put him in power because he cares for the youth and common people. If he becomes president he will open a football academy for us.” If he didn’t open a football academy when he made millions as a soccer player why would he as President? And for heaven’s sake what did he do with his wealth?
According to West African Times Weah and his wife, Clar have been involved in several strange real estate deals. For example, Clar Weah bought a home in NY and then in December 2016, she purchased the house from herself using a company called Tarpeh LLC for $0. George Weah bought a home in New York but not in his name but the name of his old school mate and the house was later transferred to him. Another property in New York was bought in the name of Clar Weah and her in-laws.
The Weahs purchased several homes in the early to mid-2000s. According to the Miami New Times, they bought a home in the South of Florida which is the adopted home of mostly international men and women of mystery…a place for drug runners, celebrities and criminals on the run. It’s where they run to and hide until charges are dropped or checks are cashed. George Weah, who is unknown to his neighbors, bought this 2900 square foot home after retiring in 2004 for $374,900.
Clear Weah also bought a commercial property (restaurant and grocery store) in Lauderhill, Florida but as of late 2018, a lien was placed on the property by the County. But with all the accumulated properties, just a couple of years ago, George Weah was unable to pay child support in the US after a paternity test showed he was 99.9% the father. As a senator of Montserrado County, he claimed his income was only a little over $1000 and he would only be comfortable paying $162 monthly.
Some Liberians see the President as a Robin Hood in reverse: stealing from the poor, his own people, to fund his extravagant lifestyles while the country is in free-fall economically. The poor in Liberia are now feeling the pinch but some felt it back when he was a senator. Their disappointment in Weah was felt even back then.
I believe back in 2015, Mary Powo, a resident of Central Monrovia told FrontPageAfrica – “We really thought he was going to do something for us, but we are actually disappointed. We don’t even hear from him again since he went to that Capitol Building.”
Here we are in 2019, just shy of two years since Weah became President and the Perspective News reports he has already amassed the following: President Weah demolished and reconstructed his decrepit 9th Street Residence
President Weah’s 49 units of the apartment off the Roberstfield Highway opposite Baptist Seminary is now in their finishing touches
-Weah has 26 unit complexes behind the Baptist Seminary
-He refurbished his Jamaica Resort to an exotic level.
Purchased 50 acres of land behind the Farmington Hotel at the cost of US$300k in cash
Weah is the owner of a private jet that is docked in Dakar, Senegal
-He has also purchased 15 acres of land in Marshall City for First Lady Clar Weah at the cost of L$ 15million in cash
-The President has purchased 15 acres of land in the VOA Community,
Brewerville at the cost of LS$8million in cash
-The headquarters of the Clar Weah foundation is currently being constructed on the 15 acres of land in Marshall City.
-From Rehab Junction to the Rehab Residence of the President has been paved with asphalt pavement at the cost of more than US$90,000.00
-President Weah has purchased almost all the properties around his Rehab Residence under the pretext of the security implication.
-The road leading to the President’s Jamaica Resort was paved with asphalt at the cost of more than US$ 300,000.00
Nothing new here for me. When George Weah has access to funds he builds his wealth. When he doesn’t, he lays low like when he moved to Florida or when he became Senator and was hardly seen at the Capitol Building. Did he pass any laws while in the Senate? Did we see him argue on the floor? As Peace Ambassador did he leave any lasting legacy? Two major roles in which he served and yet we don’t see any accomplishments.
My Pastor always says some horses are thoroughbreds and others are just run of the mill horses and will never become thoroughbreds. Do we knock them for that? No, we accept them for what and who they are and what strengths they offer but we should not expect anything more. As a man who pulled himself out of poverty using soccer, I have mad respect for him. Soccer was where his superior abilities were housed. And we revere him for that because he brought great pride to Liberia with his skills on the soccer field.
But Liberia needs a serious administrator, leader, visionary, excellent manager who has good communication skills, ability to make sound and wise appointments, courage to make unpopular decisions, ability to put the current times in the perspective of history and have crisis management skills. These are the main job requirements for the Presidency.
James Barber published a well-known study of presidential character in which he studied personalities in order to predict presidential performance. Barber believes that Presidents can be categorized as having “positive” or “negative” attitudes, and as being “active” or “passive.” His findings indicate that “positive active” Presidents are more successful than passive/negative ones.
I see President Weah as being passive/negative. When he faces criticism he, too, becomes critical and negative. He does not respond as if he is in charge; he allows his subordinates around him to lead when he’s the leader; he doesn’t act on issues going on around him even if the sky may be falling; and he seems to have a tough time deciding on big issues so those around him with more active personalities take the lead.
We all got a sense of what type of President George Weah would be from watching him dodge presidential debates during the campaign and his quiet time in the Senate and as Peace Ambassador. Why do we expect that because he is President he should dramatically turn into this take charge, get things done, do the work of the Liberian people and start firing the people around him who are incompetent kind of guy? He is not!
Weah is the captain of the Liberian team and he is willing to play the position of striker. He is not the goalie, the midfielder or the fullback. He is the striker, the one closest to the opponent’s goal and most likely to score. But he will wait and be passive until an opportunity is given to him to score. I wish him all the luck in the world and am praying for him as I pray for Liberia to win.
—-Tori Vee ward