By Titus B. Pakalah
In Liberia, politics has been used to weaponize our perception against people or established institutions—this is often done for several reasons. One is to enforce an internal struggle for political power and public sentiment(s), two, to theorize a dishonest conversation for social media attention and three, to compromise facts and please our egos. In the case of these scenarios, Timothy Weah has recently been trapped into contemporary political conversation which has linked his private life to his father political career.
During the 2017 presidential and general elections, Martin did not argue about Timothy’s contribution to Liberia, he saw Timothy Weah as a child who would one day wave the flag of Liberia in the global footballing world. But today, even as Timothy does exactly what we predicted years ago—Martin sees it as nothing but a gimmick to please his father Political relevance in the oncoming Presidential Election in October.
Martin does all this for the Unity Party. His propagandas are typical characteristics of any political bulldog whose intent is to transcend the construct of public governance at the expense of vulnerable electorates. Martin cannot tell you that Joseph Boakai, Jr. worked for the CDC-Led government under the Maritime Authority as Principal Director for Corporate Affairs, he also can not divulge the reality that one of Joseph Boakai’s sons, Tan-Tan has been a notorious criminal, musical artist and a Caine juice seller who has negatively impacted the lives of hundreds of Liberian youths, and exposed girls to prostitution. I challenge he definitely would not talk about this, because it deconstructs his message in the midst of those he pleases. Now, if Martin says Liberians should not vote Amb. Weah because his son has done absolutely noting for Liberia—this means too, Liberians should never waste their time behind Joseph Boakai because Amb. Boakai himself has squandered opportunities which may have had a direct impact on my life or yours. In short, it entails that Tan-Tan’s toxic social behavior should serve as a bedrock to reject Joseph Boakai in the upcoming election. This is what I consider the pretense of political power strugglers and for us, we do not fall to the sentiments of Martin.
When our nation Liberia struggled out of the dungeon of senseless and brutal civil war, which saw the deaths of over 250,000 Liberians, Timothy became his early soccer game. Born in 2000 to legendary George Weah and Clar Weah in Broklyn, New York. Timothy grew up outside of his father political life, a child who was overly raised by his mother (Clar) and sister (Tita) due to his father constant travels on sporting duties, at which time his father played for AC Milan and earned 8.5 million pound per year.
Timothy did not become an American by paperwork—he was born and raised there which even made it more easier for him to step in his father path. Technically, assuming Tim was born in Liberia and refused to honor his ancestors land, I would have not penned these lines, because he owes it to the land that birthed him, but on the other side: where was Liberia in terms of sports development when we just came out of civil crises?
We were never concerned about raising our children in the scars of civil war and poverty especially for the fortunate parents. Each dawn met us struggling to survive and to rebuild our technical and social infrastructures, to strategize an inclusive post-conflict reconstruction, governance, transitional justice and reconciliation.
The construct of the Liberian society was ravaged in its entirety. For some of us, we were raised by foster families as result of a war once introduced by political clouts.
IS TIMOTHY WEAH THE ONLY CHILD OF A LIBERIAN ROOT WHO IS NOT PLAYING FOR LONESTAR?
NO! Ola John was born in Zwedru, Liberia on May 19, 1992—at age two his family escaped the Liberian civil war to the Netherlands. He joined DES Nijverdal at an early age in his soccer career in 1998 before moving to Twente in 2002. Ola became his senior debut with the club in 2010.
“On 24 May 2012, John signed for Portuguese club Benfica on a five-year deal which included a €45 million release clause for a transfer fee of €9.1 million according to Football Leaks. It was rumored that 80% of the undisclosed went to sports investment company Doyen Sports. After struggling to find his space in the first team during his initial months in Lisbon, John became a regular starter or used substitute in the second half of Benfica’s 2012–13 campaign, which included appearances in UEFA Europa League and Portuguese Cup finals.
He was loaned to Hamburger SV for the remainder of the 2013–14 season on 17 January 2014.
He stayed at Benfica for the new season, scoring his first league goal on 12 September 2014 against Vitória Sétubal. On 5 October, he gave two assists in a 4–0 home win against Arouca in Portuguese league.On 29 May 2015, John scored the winning goal against Marítimo (2–1) in the league cup final”( Source: https://www.footballdatabase.eu/…/details/118057-ola-john)
Alphonso Davis was born to Liberian parents (Father & Mother) in a refugee camp in Ghana. His parent fled Liberia to Ghana due to the devastating civil unrest I earlier mentioned. In search for survival Davis family emigrated to Canada. In 2017, Davis was still a Liberian national who by then was eligible to play for Liberia. Fortunately on June 6, 2017 he was granted Canadian citizenship and on the same day included in the national training camp.
By root, Alphonso is the only Liberian to lift the European Champion League Trophy. The player has struggled to become a king in global footballing royalty with Bayern Munich. According to Capology, Alphonso Davies’ current annual salary is close to €11.2 million gross / €6 million net. Taking this account, the Liberian-Dutch winger earns about €937,000 per month or €216,000 a week. That would make it nearly €43,000 a day, or around €5,400 per hour, or €90 per minute.
With his financial fortunes and reflection of his background where millions of children are missing out on primary education with widespread poverty and the prevalence of sexual and gender based violence—Alphonso does not own a school, hospital, soccer academy, nor businesses in Liberia or his hometown. In this light, we cannot blame Davis, nor Ola John for not playing for Lonestar or contributing to human lives in Liberia. We also cannot infer that because these men are not doing well for Liberia means they will not help someday.
Should we also politicize the current failure of Ola and Davis for not contributing to Liberia football sector? I am sure you definitely wouldn’t. Has anyone of us read Sam Vimes ‘Boots’ Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness” This boots theory explains that one reason the rich are able to get richer is because they are able to spend less money. In a nutshell, the state does not demand for good deeds, it is by preference and self-awareness that make us to realize our role in helping society achieve. Who knows, maybe they prefer to save and spend less or manage the way they spend.
WHY TIMOTHY WEAH THIS TIME:
The attack on Timothy is organized and purposeful. I read couple of Facebook contents from a handful of young men who are used by politicians to damage the moral and financial records of people. One of the lines quoted: “do not celebrate Tim”. Well, if I am told by politicians not to celebrate Tim what benefit do I gain to hate the achievement of a boy who has taken Liberia to the world stage of football? Even if I agree to hate Tim, his records do not end for him as: the first Liberian-American kru to play in a world cup, and the first to play for the United States Men soccer Team.
We all know the challenges George Weah faces as Head of State, ranging from leadership, transparency, accountability, democratic governance and gender equalities. But Tim isn’t our leader! The life Timothy lives cannot be measured to his father political success in election processes—just as we cannot equate Liberia governance issues to Timothy’s success. Before the 2023 general and presidential elections, people made decision to vote for George Weah not that electorates were promised that Tim would have paid back in goodwill.
Liberians in 2017 knew exactly that Mr. Weah had a son who would become a fabulous prospect in global soccer history—they did not rely on his son but a man whom the Liberians voted.
The votes Liberians gave Mr. Weah were justification of the previous challenging governance system he inherited that was fractured by egos, corruption and nepotism. Whether President Weah is to be re-elected in the October 10 elections, we will always remember and live in his legacy.
Tim will always survive outside of Liberian politics.
THE IRONY IS:
Political opportunists want you to believe that it is morally upright for Tan-Tan, son of former vice president(Joseph Boakai) to run night clubs and liquor shops among vulnerable young people, while his father contest for the 2023 presidency. They want you and myself accept their hates that it is wrong for Timothy Weah to play for the United States because his father is President of Liberia.
Should we hate Joseph Boakai son for working in the CDC-led government under the Liberia Maritime Authority as Principal Director for Corporate Affairs? (source: https://wap.org.ng/…/jospeh-boakai-jr-resigns-from…/)
Should we also hate Joseph Boakai Jr. for been arrested in 2018 over an alleged theft of property in the tone of US$140,000.00? ( source: https://www.newrepublicliberia.com/vp-boakais-son-risks…/).
This is the nasty politics that comes from those who seek public office and present themselves as moral compass of society. Do not fall to their hate!