“Given his strong global popularity, Weah will be above all a “President ambassador” able to represent Liberia in the world. I hope President Weah inspires young people to commit themselves to changing the situation”.
– Sr Barbara Brillant FMM
In the aftermath of the Liberian Presidential election, which saw former soccer star George Weah elected, the Vatican’s news agency, Agenzia Fides, reported on the comments of Sr. Barbar Brillant, an American Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, who has worked for many years in Monrovia.
“Young people wanted a change and that is why they voted Weah, but the hope for a short-term improvement is scarce because the national economy is in pieces”, Sr Barbara informed Agenzia Fides. Weah, a former soccer star, was declared the winner of the presidential ballot held on December 28th.
Weah led with 61.5 percent to Vice President Joseph Boakai’s 38.5 percent. The first round of the presidential elections was held on October 10th.
Liberia has yet to recover from the bloody civil war that broke out in 1989 and ended in 2003 which claimed over 250,000 lives, and from the recent Ebola outbreak.
“Unfortunately I do not think the economic situation will improve in a short space of time”, Sister Barbara commented. “However, young people have placed their hope in Weah. I think there will be difficult times, with difficulties at an economic level, but peace will stand”, she added.
The 2017 elections marked a peaceful transition of power between outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and George Weah, who took office on January 22nd. In the previous 2005 elections the new President had been beaten by Sirleaf. Weah in recent years has managed to broaden his personal consensus and that of his party, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
“Given his strong global popularity, Weah will be above all a “President ambassador” able to represent Liberia in the world”, says Sister Barbara. “What will be important is, above all, his team of collaborators called to make decisions to give a real change to the Liberian economy”.
“I hope the new President will motivate and inspire youth to commit themselves to changing the situation”, Sr. Barbara told Agenzia Fides.
Weah’s soccer career included spells with Manchester City and Chelsea, with whom he won the FA Cup. He is regarded as one of the greatest African players of all times. In 1995 Weah was named FIFA’s World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d’Or, becoming the first, and to date, the only African player to win these prestigious awards. He was capped 60 times for Liberia.
You may access the Wikipedia George Weah biography by clicking here.
The Guardian’s report on the swearing in of President Weah on 22 January 2018 may be accessed by clicking here.
Liberia has a population of just over 4.5 million of whom 166,000 (5.8%) are Catholic. There are a total of 9 SMA missionaries working in Liberia.
We ask you to remember our missionaries and also to pray that the election of President George Weah might herald a new dawn for a country that has suffered too much in recent decades.