Weah Struggles to Live Up to His Promises: Former Footballer George Weah Was Elected President of Liberia on the Back of Generous Policy Pledges but Two Years Later the Country Is Beset by Problems

By Mitchell, Charlie | African Business, February 2020 | Go to article overview

Weah Struggles to Live Up to His Promises: Former Footballer George Weah Was Elected President of Liberia on the Back of Generous Policy Pledges but Two Years Later the Country Is Beset by Problems


Mitchell, Charlie, African Business


When Henry Costa landed in Monrovia in December from a trip abroad, he was given a rock-star welcome by hundreds of supporters. In an ostentatious open top car, he sped into the city.

However, Costa is not a musician or a politician, but one of the loudest critics of Liberia's President George Weah, who is currently facing the greatest crisis of his short presidency. Costa's arrest in January, for allegedly falsifying a travel document, will energise, rather than deter, his supporters.

In July, his Council of Patriots rallied thousands of people. Since December, a new wave of protests has seen 3,000 people regularly fill the streets of Monrovia demanding Weah sack his entire economic team.

The former radio host's support reflects Liberia's economic decline since Weah assumed office two years ago. Under the leadership of the former international footballer, who promised to restore power to the people, inflation is bobbing around 30%, unemployment is high, the central bank is short of foreign reserves and civil servants have gone months without pay.

Still, the president's supporters have expressed no willingness to compromise. In December, Bhofal Chambers, an MP from Weah's Congress for Democratic Change party, accused the protesters of "treason, terrorism and subversion." Throughout the crisis, Weah's allies have framed the demonstrations as a quiet coup by a political elite determined to undermine the authority of a political outsider.

But how did it go so wrong for a president who won 70% in the 2017 presidential run-off promising an unvarnished, more collaborative style of leadership?

"Weah's economic management has been notably lacklustre; however he is only partly to blame for the situation," says Eric Humphrey-Smith, senior Africa analyst at Verisk Maplecroft. "He inherited a huge operational deficit at the Liberian central bank and a hefty public wage bill that obstructed state-led investment."

The World Bank has projected the Liberian economy will contract by 1.4% in 2019. One of the world's poorest nations, Liberia has an annual GDP per capita of just $688, according to the IMF.

Disgruntled Liberians will have their say at the ballot box later this year, when half of Liberia's senators will run in midterm elections. Some ministers have suggested the country is too cash-strapped to hold the vote, but the US and other international partners would likely not accept a delay.

"Ordinary Liberians are facing the brunt of high inflation," says Ibrahim Nyei of SOAS, University of London. "There is exchange rate volatility meaning the price of commodities changes every day." Small business owners who buy in greenbacks and sell in Liberian dollars are struggling to make ends meet.

Liberia was one of a trio of countries, alongside Guinea and Sierra Leone, hit hard by the 2014 Ebola outbreak in the region. In Liberia alone the disease killed 4,800 people and deterred investors. Liberia's small but vitally important tourism sector has not recovered from the outbreak. GDP growth fell from over 8% in 2013 to zero in 2015.

However, while Ebola hit local businesses, the current economic malaise is largely self-inflicted, analysts say. And while his predecessor Ellen Johnson Sirleaf--who won a Nobel peace prize for guiding Liberia's post-war reconciliation --could fall back on international goodwill, Weah cannot.

Policy pledges

Nyei says the president promised too much during his election campaign, with a series of policy pledges and guarantees of infrastructure. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Weah Struggles to Live Up to His Promises: Former Footballer George Weah Was Elected President of Liberia on the Back of Generous Policy Pledges but Two Years Later the Country Is Beset by Problems
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.