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Liberia: President George Weah to hunt re-election

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Liberian President and former worldwide soccer star George Weah introduced Monday (Jan. 31) that he would run for a second time period in October, rejecting mounting criticism that he’s out of contact with a inhabitants dealing with steep value rises and meals shortages.

“My fellow residents, I might be coming to you shortly to ask you to resume… for a second time the mandate that you simply gave me six years in the past,” Weah stated in his annual State of the Nation tackle.

Weah pledged “a mandate of alternative, a mandate for transformation, a mandate for growth”.

He additionally defended his first time period, saying: “Let me guarantee you that the state of our nation is robust. The state of our nation is steady… The state of our nation is peaceable and safe. We intend to maintain it this fashion.”

The election is slated for October 10 within the West African nation, which remains to be recovering from back-to-back civil wars between 1989 and 2003 that killed some 250,000 individuals.

It was additionally ravaged by an Ebola pandemic and the nation of 5 million individuals, one of many poorest on this planet, has been hit arduous by the implications of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

About half its individuals dwell on lower than $1.90 a day, in accordance with World Financial institution figures.

Weah got here to energy in 2018 after successful an October 2017 election, capitalising on his iconic standing acquired after changing into the primary and solely African to win soccer’s most prestigious particular person award, the Ballon d’Or, in 1995.

The 56-year-old was absent from Liberia for greater than a month late final 12 months, prompting criticism.

He went overseas on the finish of October for a string of political gatherings in quite a few nations — and to observe his footballer son symbolize the USA on the World Cup in Qatar.

Weah had shared footage and video of himself together with his son in Qatar on Twitter, talking of being a “proud daddy” because the US nationwide staff certified for the knockout phases.

However photos of Weah having fun with himself within the stands in Qatar — the place he was a “visitor of honour” — whereas Liberians battle didn’t go down properly with many compatriots venting their anger on social media.

– Liberia on ‘autopilot’ –

The opposition denounced what it noticed because the president’s globe-trotting between Qatar and worldwide summits in Morocco, Egypt, France, Monaco and the USA, with former vice chairman Joseph Boakai saying Liberia was “on autopilot”.

“We proceed to witness different acts of poor management, irresponsible behaviour, lack of concern, impunity, and wanton misuse of our funds,” the Unity Social gathering heavyweight added, suggesting that others may have represented the nation in Weah’s place.

Till December 8 the president was not seen in his homeland, the place individuals have been battling hovering costs and shortages of primary items.

The day earlier than, a number of hundred Liberians had demonstrated peacefully on the name of opposition teams to denounce Weah’s alleged incompetence and indifference to the plight of unusual Liberians.

Combating corruption had been certainly one of Weah’s main marketing campaign guarantees, however in September he accepted the resignations of three shut allies after the USA accused them of corruption.

Weah had initially suspended the boys from their roles after Washington imposed sanctions on them over allegations tied to multimillion-dollar contracts and a minimum of $1.5 million in diverted public funds.

Graft stays endemic within the nation, with the watchdog Transparency Worldwide rating Liberia 136th of 180 nations in its 2021 corruption perceptions index.

Based as a colony in 1822 by former US slaves, Liberia grew to become a republic 25 years later — Africa’s first.