The swearing-in of Liberia’s President-elect, George Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah, took place yesterday, at the Samuel K. Doe Stadium in Monrovia, in front of an audience of personalities from FIFA General Secretary, Fatma Samoura, and CAF President Ahmad.
Ahmad led a CAF delegation that included Kwesi Nyantakyi – 1st Vice-President, Constant Omari – 2nd Vice-President, Kalusha Bwalya and Amaju Pinnick.
The CAF President and his entourage later held a meeting at the headquarters of the Liberian Football Association with football stakeholders in the West African country.
Former footballer of the year George Weah was sworn into office as Liberia’s new president.
Dressed in all white, the new leader stood at the podium amid tens of thousands of cheering Liberians, taking the oath of office around midday on Monday.
The 51-year-old, who won FIFA’s 1995 prestigious Ballon d’Or during his time at AC Milan, sealed the runoff vote on Boxing Day against the outgoing vice president and his swearing in, fittingly, was held at a football stadium.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – Africa’s first female president – served for 12 years, guiding Liberia through the destruction of back-to-back civil wars that ended before her tenure and facing the challenge of the Ebola crisis that killed thousands there.
Weah, who had run for the presidency before but is relatively new to national politics, inherited a weak economy along with poor health and educational sectors.
Liberians held prayer services for 48 hours leading up to Monday’s inauguration of Weah, who served three years in the senate more than a decade after retiring from a glittering international football career in which he played in France, Italy, the UK and elsewhere.
Many of Weah’s critics are still skeptical about his ability to deliver in a country that is faced with youth unemployment and other challenges.
His running mate, Vice President-Elect Jewel Howard-Taylor, has political experience that surpasses his.