The ‘Footballer’ Has Changed Your Country

Mark Neywon Mengonfia

As the campaign for the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections intensifies in the country, President George M. Weah who has been touring several districts in Montserrado County has boasted that the person whom many consider a mere footballer has changed the outlook of the country.

The Liberian leader who is on his sixth day of campaigning around the city said his administration has done more than any other government since 1847 in terms of development. “We have built more hospitals, more schools, and more roads than any other President in the country’s history since 1847,” Weah reiterated.

He told his hundreds of supporters in District#4 that it was because of the level of work he did as Senator of Montserrado County that led to the election of Saah Joseph to replace him as Senator of Montserrado County. “I’m a success story. My success is that I send more ministers to school who are serving you today, since some of us struggled to go to school during our days,  I decided to build more schools and introduce free schools so that you will not face the kind of difficulties we went through,” said President Weah.

At the same time, President Weah has promised Liberian school-going kids that his government will reintroduce the cadet program which was practiced many years back to ensure students earn money while going to school. Addressing partisans in Montserrado County District four, the Liberian leader said those programs that helped students’ yesteryears and reintroducing it will become a help to high school going students.

He said as a young man, he worked as a switchboard technician at the Liberia Telecommunication Agency, a job he said earned him US$50 back then which was enough at the time to sustain them.

Counting on his successes and challenges in many years, President Weah said they believed that he as a person could not achieve in life but contrary to their thinking, he said he was able to overcome all those sad days by ensuring his dreams do not die with him.

Some of the challenges he pointed out were when he was in high school at the time, he never had money to pay his fees. “I never had free school in my life, but I have created free universities and paid WACE fees for Liberian children.”

President Weah has flashed back on his struggling days as a boy growing up without an opportunity for free education as this present generation. According to him, as a boy, he was one of those less fortunate Liberian kids who were in need of an opportunity to better his living condition but said one did not come his way until football brought him one.

“First time-voters, I want to tell you that I was like you. It was difficult for me to go to school, but someone helped to pay my school fees and today I am the President,” Weah boasted. He said, “I wished at the time when I lived on the Capitol Hill, I had the opportunity but it was difficult, but today, I did what I am doing because I do not want you to be in my position.”

President Weah told the gathering how he struggled during his earlier days moving from one garbage center to the other not knowing what they were looking for. He was quick to say because he did not want the current generation to experience what he went through; he saw the need to offer free university education and at the same time, pay millions of United States Dollars for Liberian students to write the regional exams at no cost to their parents.

“People used to tell us that I do not have experience but today, we have free school in Liberia and the payment of WASSCE fees; to me, it is an honor to do that and it is unprecedented,” he added. “I lived in Liberia and I was 21 years old and I never had free school in my life,” he added.

According to the President, when opportunity came, he had no option, but to drop out of 12th grade and leave Liberia for Cameroon and onward to Europe where he succeeded in football.

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