MONROVIA — Now that George Weah has emphatically won Liberia’s presidency, an even more daunting task awaits: delivering tangible benefits to expectant supporters in the face of a gutted economy and waning donor support.
Weah was met by hundreds of screaming supporters on his arrival at his party headquarters on Friday. Many have waited over a decade — since his failed bid for the presidency in 2005 — to see a man they consider their own come to power.
Those supporters come with high expectations that the former soccer star may have to carefully temper if he is to keep his widespread support, particularly among the West African country’s disaffected youth.
In a farewell address on Friday to the senate, where he has served since 2015, Weah struck a unifying note but steered clear of policy specifics, as he did throughout the campaign.
“We all are colleagues, we are Liberians. It is time for us to work together to move the country forward,” he said.
Weah, who grew up kicking a raggedy soccer ball on the dusty streets of the capital Monrovia’s Clara Town slum and later played for top European clubs, successfully tapped into dissatisfaction with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s 12-year presidency.