Former football star, George Weah was today sworn in as Liberia’s president, replacing Africa’s first elected female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
This is the country’s first transition of democratically elected presidents since 1944.
“It felt and sounded like the end of a big soccer game…the 35,000 capacity stadium was packed and colourful. Thousands had turned up in numbers to witness the country making history, ” CGTN reporter Soni Methu said.
From a football star to a President, who is George Weah?
1966: George Weah was born in Clara Town, Monrovia.
1995: Named the FIFA World Player of the Year, winning the Ballon d’Or, becoming the first African to win the title.
1996: He was named African Player of the Century and received FIFA Fair Player Award
2005: He announced intention to run for president of Liberia after he retiring from football at the age of 37.
He formed the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).
2009: He campaigned for the CDC candidate in the Montserrado County senatorial by-elections.
2011: Chosen as CDC’s vice presidential candidate, running with presidential candidate Winston Tubman
2014: He was elected to the Liberian Senate, defeating Robert Sirleaf, son of President Sirleaf
2016: Announces his intention to run for presidency for a second time.
2017: Tops the first round of voting in Liberia with 38.4% of the votes forcing an election run off.
2017 Dec: Defeats Joseph Bokai to win election run off with 61.5% of the vote
2018: Sworn in as Liberia’s president.
Weah takes over power from Africa’s first elected female president
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made history in 2006 by being elected the first female head of state in Africa, taking on a country ripped apart by 14 years of civil war.
“My calling was to first ensure there was peace in the country because we could easily have gone back to war”, she said.
Sirleaf made great strides in transforming the economy. The country’s economy transformed from a negative growth to more than 8.7% in 2013.
Her leadership led more than $4 billion in debt relief in June 2010, lifting off UN sanctions.
She made history again in June 2016 by being elected as the Chair of the Economic Community of West African States, making her the first woman to occupy that position since its formation.
In 2011 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize alongside two other winners for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.
She is also listed as one of the top 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes magazine.