CELEBRANT, CAMPAIGNER -Weah Spends 57th Birthday Wooing Votes Upcountry -Citizens Say October 10 Vote Will Be Their Gift to Him
MONROVIA: Perhaps for the first time in his adult years, President George Manneh Weah is spending his cherished birth anniversary in the woods of Liberia. On October 1 every year, the Liberian legend and humanitarian had always celebrated in the comfort of his home, whether it was in Europe when he was playing soccer or on vacation in the United States and even while in political opposition at home, he was always swarmed by countless well-wishers, supporters and admirers. This year, the venue of celebration is deep in the woods, first waking up to the daylight of October 1, 2023 appreciating nature under the turfs of Nimba forest trees, and by the evening hours, he bumped into colorful crowds of Grand Gedeans after a torturing journey from Tappita. It has all been celebrating and campaigning on the day, as The Analyst reports, reflecting on the celebrant-Campaigner.
Knowing that his month of birth also hosts the date of Liberia’s general and presidential elections, President Weah has, throughout much of his campaign tours, reminded eligible voters about the coincidence. He would often say, “I am letting you know that October 1 is my birthday. I know most of you would like to celebrate with me, as you have often done many birthdays back. What I want to ask of you is that, I don’t want your gift on my birthday, October 1. Give me my birthday gift on the 10th of October when you go behind the cubicle to vote. Let your vote be my gift this year.”
And for many demographic groups of voters, their gift is certain on October 10. From Montserrado to Bomi, from Gbarpolu to Grand Cape Mount, from Margibi to Grand Bassa, from Lofa to Nimba County, and now in Grand Gedeh today, the vows and promise of the gift are resoundingly unanimous: Mr. President, for all you have done for us – the paved roads, the pro-poor housing units, the free WASSCE and free public college – we will surely give you the gift of vote.
Tappita City, Nimba County went exceedingly festive early morning hours when residents of the town who were waiting about to attend a political campaign of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) streamed up the sloppy vicinity of the Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital where the President and entourage were lodging. One group after the other – young and old, men and women – trooped to the president’s lodging place to wake him up and tender their birthday pleasantries.
A predominantly young men’s community live band was right by the window of the President rendering a mix of musical selections, while CDC militants chanted and hooted battle cries and slogans.
By 9am of October 1, the entire back of the Hospital was overtaken by stampeding young people and other residents with deafening birthday drumming and singing.
This nearly delayed the commencement of the CDC rally and departure for Grand Gedeh. By 11am, the celebrant had to muster the courage, along with his wife Madam Clara Marie Weah and son Champ Weah who travelled with him, to attend a rally nearby where scores of Tapita residents were gathered.
All Why the Celebrations?
The clamor by the rural people yesterday, October 1, 2023, like thousands if not millions of Liberians to extol and heap eulogies on President George Manneh Weah on his 57th birth anniversary, is far more than the ordinary tradition of birthday pleasantries for a president.
Anyone who drops the political lens to take a candid, natural look at the 24th President of this Republic and reflect on his history would accept that celebrating with him today, October 1, is a patriotic duty. It is indeed a deserving, justified and unfeigned thing to do.
Supporters and admirers see the President as a true son of the soil, born in one of the world’s largest slums, and a rare gift to Liberia. Others call him a priced gem to cherish and adore.
Weah has a success story many motivational speakers use to excite young people. And it gladdens all Liberians that this progeny of the slum not only conquered the hamstring of poverty and much of society’s nemeses, but also dominated the world in athleticism and subdued Liberia’s elitist political dominion.
In all this, and very strangely, he remains not only humble and meek, but also progressive and revolutionary.
The more one takes a deeper reflection of the 57-year odyssey of George Manneh Folky-Kloh Tarpeh Weah, and all the victories and accolades bagged, the better they know that all of his achievements are not as simple as some may think.
The deeds and valor of this offspring of Gibraltar are an eloquent legacy that any civilization would treasure for a long time to come.
Rarely, if not never, has a Liberian citizen risen from the abyss of squalor and neglect to the apex of success and accomplishment.
Many feel that celebrating the life history of Clara Town-born George Weah leaves a national message that inspires all unfortunate people who are confronted with the challenges of time, particularly young people upon whom this country’s future rests.
The message which George Manneh Weah has unpacked in his national and international triumph is that, with discipline, determination and humility, anyone can change their unpleasant birth history into glorious achievement. It means no one’s birth history is etched in stone to define his life trajectory.
Even while on his campaign trails, the President continues to spread his success story, encouraging young Liberians that if he, from the slum of Liberia, often overlooked and dismissed by some, can become great like him with such discipline, humility and hard work.
Thus, one reason why many Liberians and non-Liberians are so fond of him and his records, which is apparently why they are today clamoring to celebrate with him at 57, is not because he is yet another Chief Executive of Liberia; it is rather because he represents an incredibly historic national success story that is a composite of raw courage, legendary and charity.
More importantly, George Manneh Weah paid his dues copiously to this country and its people, and he continues to do so even today with much difference and style.
Besides standing for the nation during his professional soccer days, single-handedly funding the national team, the Lone Star, in critical times, going to refugee camps to cater to fellow citizens seared by hunger and want, he also risked it all by wending his way into the woods to convince heavily armed militia to disarm to the United Nations.
Moreover, as the 24th President of Liberia, he brings a fresh perspective to the table, and cuts a new corner in the gallery of national governance.
His governance mantra, dovetailed into the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), has found eloquent expression in the way he has tilted the development paradigm away from the traditional pro-elites hegemony that Liberia has known for ages, to a pro-poor dimension that focusses and prioritizes the long neglected masses of the people of this country.
The evidence is all over the place for anyone to see. His revolutionary, first-time-ever development programs and policies: like first-time-ever digital registration platform at the only major public academic referral institution, the University of Liberia; the first-time-ever free tuition to public universities and colleges; the first-time-ever tarmac roads to slum communities; extreme passion to build paved roads across the country, resulting to several tarmac roads program.
Also to consider are: the first-time-ever free housing units for poor rural and urban dwellers; the first-time-ever free solar lights projects illuminating masses-domiciled communities; the first-time-ever record in a political epoch without a political prisoner; the first-time-ever successful attempt to quash Degree 88-A that had rendered the political environment of Liberia toxic and extremely harmful. And the list is endless.
Another towering evidence of President Weah’s first-time-ever pro-masses governance trajectory is seen in his inundation of government with sons and daughters of a long forgotten segment of the population—people in the slums and ghettos.
The Celebrant’s full name is George Manneh Opong Gbarkuegbah Folky Klon Tarpeh Weah. Many, old and young, rural and urban, adore him as a Liberian child to cherish.
A Liberian writer once wrote: “George Manneh Weah is an athlete to adulate. What a patriot to behold! What a leader to serve! What a celebrant to celebrate! What a gem to treasure! What a national pride to cherish! What a Liberian to honor!”
Joining millions of his admirers, family members and supporters, who are heaping praises upon him during his celebration of 57th Birthday Anniversary, The Analyst says: “Mr. President, on this day—on this 57th Natal Anniversary of yours—our hats are off. We bow in salutation. We yell on the top of our voices, saying in unison, ‘All Hail George Manneh Weah’”!