Goalkeepers hated him. Defenders despised him as he made many looked simple. His wizardry was unbounded. He was a legend in a land where you needed to be twice better to get half praise. George Weah was one of his generation’s finest footballers. He scored many goals – beautiful ones.
But King George has failed to score for Liberia recently. The football-turned-politician is the President of Liberia. His government has been accused of being clueless, political ineptitude and even corruption. In short, he has scored many own-goals – poverty and youth unemployment are up.
It would be an understatement to say that ordinary Liberians are disappointed with Weah’s performance. The footballing legend – who is the only African to ever win FIFA’s coveted World Player of the Year award, as well as the first-ever footballer to become a head of state – became President in January 2018 after campaigning to revive the economy, create jobs for the hundreds of thousands of young adults that make up his electoral base and, as he put it, to ensure that “public resources do not end up in the pockets of government officials”.
But rather than tackling the issues on which he and his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) were elected, critics charge, the government is going out of its way to maintain the status quo that prevailed under the previous government of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who also made history as Liberia and Africa’s first-ever female President. Incidentally, Sirleaf is a former World Bank functionary whose disastrous economic legacy after two Presidential terms belied her so-called technocratic pedigree.
It is getting to half-time in his Presidency. He needs a new strategy. King George must score economic goals, urgently. He must win this important game of his call: “Now that Mr. Weah has scored the most important goal of his life, the Liberian presidency, he has works to do. The Liberian people need to score their own collective goal: wellbeing and prosperity. It is left to Mr. Weah to build a winning team by strengthening the national offense and “defense” with a solid national economic team.”
You campaign in poetry and then – govern in prose.
Most times when politicians or new recruits into the world of politics reel out what they will do, when voted into power, the first thing that comes to my head is: do they even understand what they are saying? The same way most people read aloud, without making sense of what they are reading.
The problem is that when you build false hope, telling people things that have no relationship with reality, if they believe you, then you are likely to be haunted as long as you are in power. All your ineptitude and incompetence will become so visible such that even idiots can perceive them.
Whenever anyone seeking office tells you, I will do this and that, without following it up with the ‘how’, if you believe him/her, then you need help.
Why is it so difficult to tell the people the truth while campaigning and when in power? Because people don’t believe what is true, so deceit is the name of the game.
King George never had the intellectual rigour or excellence of the soul to be president, to believe otherwise means you never paid attention from the beginning of the whole melodrama.