MEET YOUR HERO.
PRESIDENT GEORGE WEAH THE PRESIDENT FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA
President George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah ( born 1 October 1966) is a Liberian politician and former professional footballer who is the incumbent president of Liberia, serving in office since 2018. Prior to his election to the presidency, Weah served as Senator from Montserrado County. He played as a striker in his prolific 18-year professional football career, which ended in 2003. Weah is the first African former professional footballer to become a head of state in 2018.
After beginning his career in his native Liberia, Weah spent 14 years playing for clubs in France, Italy and England. Arsène Wenger first brought him to Europe, signing him for Monaco in 1988. Weah moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 1992 where they won the League 1 in 1994 and became the top scorer of the 1994–95 UEFA Champions League. He signed for AC Milan in 1995 where he spent four successful seasons, winning the Serie A twice. He moved to the Premier League towards the end of his career.
Weah represented Liberia at the international level, winning 75 caps and scoring 18 goals for his country and playing at the African Cup of Nations on two occasions. He also played an international friendly in 2018, where his number 14 jersey was retired.
He’s Widely regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, in 1995, Weah was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d’Or, becoming the first and only player to win these awards while representing an African country internationally. In 1989, 1994 and 1995, he was also 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.
Weah became involved in politics in Liberia following his retirement from football. He formed the Congress for Democratic Change and ran for president in the 2005 election, losing to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the second round of voting. In the 2011 election, he ran for vice president alongside Winston Tubman. Weah was subsequently elected to the Liberian Senate for Montserrado County in the 2014 elections. Weah was elected President of Liberia in the 2017 election, defeating the incumbent vice president Joseph Boakai and was sworn in on 22 January 2018.
Weah was born and raised in the Clara Town district of Monrovia. He is a member of the Kru ethnic group, which hail from south-eastern Liberia’s Grand Kru County, one of the poorest areas of the country. His father, William T. Weah Sr., was a mechanic while his mother, Anna Quayeweah (d. 2013), was a merchant. He has three brothers, William, Moses and Wolo. He was one of thirteen children largely raised by his devoutly Christian paternal grandmother, Emma Klonjlaleh Brown after his parents separated when George was still a baby. He attended middle school at Muslim Congress and high school at Wells Hairston High School. He began to play football for the Young Survivors youth club at the age of 15 and later moved to other local football clubs, assuming starring roles for Mighty Barrolle and Invicible Eleven. Before his football career allowed him to move abroad, Weah worked for the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation as a switchboard technician.
Weah is a devoted humanitarian for his war-torn country. During his playing career he became a UN Goodwill Ambassador. At the 2004 ESPY Awards at the Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles, Weah won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for his efforts. He has also been named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a role which he has suspended in his political career. Off the football pitch, he stood out throughout his career for his initiatives to fight against racism in the game.
Weah has tried to use football as a way to bring happiness and promote education for children in Liberia. In 1998, Weah launched a CD called Lively Up Africa featuring the singer Frisbie Omo Isibor and eight other African football stars. The proceeds from this CD went to children’s programs in the countries of origin of the athletes involved.
Weah was President of the Junior Professionals, a former football team he founded in Monrovia in 1994. As a way to encourage young people to remain in school, the club’s only requirement for membership was school attendance. Many of the young people, recruited from all over Liberia, went on to play for the Liberian national team. Weah was also actively involved with youth programs in a Liberian enclave on Staten Island, New York, when he resided there for a time.
The Diya Group chairman and Indian entrepreneur Nirav Tripathi announced a multimillion-dollar partnership with Weah in 2016, whereby global football academies would be established to help assist youth in both impoverished and emerging nations.
The motivation for the academies is cited as a shared experience between both Tripathi and Weah in how sport can transform lives in their nations of India and Liberia.
Weah was sworn in as president on 22 January 2018, making him the fourth youngest-serving president in Africa, marking Liberia’s first democratic transition in 74 years. He cited fighting corruption, reforming the economy, combating illiteracy and improving life conditions as the main targets of his presidency. Two other world class African strikers, Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o, attended the inauguration. He is also the first professional footballer to become president.
After winning 2017 Liberian general election against Joseph Boakai who was vice president. He promised a Pro-Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity, and that this will benefit not just the poor, but all Liberians.
On 29 January 2018, in his first annual message to the national legislature, he reduced his salary and other benefits by 25% with immediate effect. “With the assessment that I gave you earlier of the poor condition of our economy, I believe that it is appropriate that we should all make sacrifices in the interest of our country. According to Article 60 of the Constitution, the salaries of the President and the Vice President are established by the Legislature, and cannot be increased or reduced during the period for which they are elected. However, in view of the very rapidly deteriorating situation of the economy, I am informing you today, with immediate effect, that I will reduce my salary and benefits by 25% and give the proceeds back to the Consolidated Fund for allocation and appropriation as they see fit.”
On 29 January 2018, Weah announced he would seek constitutional changes to allow people of “non-Negro” descent to be citizens and allow foreigners to own land. He called the present situation “racist and inappropriate”.
On 12 September 2020, he declared a national emergency over sexual violence in the country, pledging to create a special prosecutor for rape, a national sex offender registry, and a national task force to tackle the issue. He further announced a 2 million dollar emergency fund, part of which was used to purchase DNA-testing equipment for forensic identification of perpetrators.
Weah signed a drug bill into law which passed by the Legislature. The law aimed to regulate, restrict, control, limit, or eradicate the illegal export and importation as well as the flagrant use, abuse, and proliferation of narcotics within the nation.
Months before the 2023 Liberian general election he accepted the endorsement of the Bassa people for re-election. They did this because he had competence and passion to develop Liberi.
Under his presidency Liberia has made improvements to education and also constructed and renovated to make sure children have better education and environment.
Healthcare in Liberia has improved ever since he became president in 2018. His administration invested into healthcare, infrastructure, and medical equipment. He is making sure that every Liberian has affordable and high quality healthcare. President Weah has faced various facets which includes construction of clinics and hospitals. He would also deploy many medics to many poor and underserved areas of the country. He has also built health insurance programs.
Weah has four children; three children with his Jamaican-born wife Clar Weah: George, Tita, and Timothy and a child from another relationship. Both of his sons became footballers and signed for Paris Saint-Germain. Both played youth internationals for the United States.
He holds French citizenship and speaks the French language fluently.