By Sen. George Weah
Throughout the history of our struggle and my political journey, I have been besieged by criticisms and overwhelmed with the question as to wh…y I am seeking the presidency. Some have even gone further to suggest that I should have stayed in the football sector because that’s my area, but I have always found these things to be a sheer distraction intended to keep me from focusing on my vision for a better Liberia.
Several years ago, when I embarked on my journey as a professional soccer player, I heard the same negativity. Many critics said that I wouldn’t make it. Many suggested that I would be a failure, but I didn’t listen to them. I kept pushing and defying all odds until I succeeded as one of the greatest soccer legend the world has ever produced. Today, those that said I was going to be a failure, are now calling me “Chief.” I am not saying this to boast, but to make a case that no amount of negativity will distract me from fighting for change and a prosperous Liberia.
Fellow Liberians, Today, I have come to answer those questions as to why I decided to get into politics and run for the presidency instead of staying on the football field. I will begin by sharing my personal story with you. Growing up as a kid in Clara Town, I found myself struggling as a child with many challenges from a poor family, as it is the case with many other children today in Liberia and other developing countries.
It wasn’t always easy finding food to eat needless to say school fees to stay in school. As a child who was raised by a single mother and a grandmother, my situation was that of a hopeless one. I had to sell popcorn and doughnuts for neighbors on many occasions just to survive, but little did I know that those challenges and experiences would prepare me to be able to confront the many challenges we are faced with as a nation today.
My experiences growing up in such a poverty-stricken environment created a deep sense of curiosity as to the root cause of our problem as a people. I had always wonder while growing up as to why many of my counterparts and I were subjected to such an impoverished lifestyle while a selected few lived in abundance. But little did I know that these things were caused due to an age old problem consisting of corruption, greed and the lack of vision, unpatriotic leaders, and the in-equitable distribution of our national wealth.
My fellow Liberians, the more I realized the root cause of our problems as a country, the more I began to develop interest in becoming a Change Agent; and this is one of the reasons why I chose to work with UNICEF as a Goodwill Ambassador; to help underprivileged kids by creating awareness about ills in society and inspiring hope into them.
My experience with UNICEF even spiked my interest in wanting to do more in my capacity from a larger scale, but I soon realized that I could not solve all of the problems on my own as a private citizen. It was then that I developed the desire to see a better Liberia where the ordinary citizens will be given opportunities to succeed, A Liberia where our national wealth will not just be distributed among a selected few.
A Liberia where our people will be liberated from the shackles of poverty, A Liberia where elitism will be abolished and corruption declared a common enemy. A Liberia where both Muslims and Christians will live together in one peace and harmony. A Liberia where you or your relatives will NOT be left to die at a hospital simply because you couldn’t afford the money for the hospital bill. A Liberia where our youths and young graduates will not be gallivanting in our society due to lack of jobs, but will be given opportunities to succeed. These are some of the reasons why I made the transition from the soccer pitch to politics.