George Weah scores a rare goal for Africa with succession

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George Weah scores a rare goal for Africa with succession
Incumbent George Weah (L) lost to Joseph Boakai (R)

For whatever insinuation one may want to draw from the video clip that shows the initial ceremonial procedures of transition of power in Liberia following the recently concluded Presidential elections, the sight of the motion of the wheels of power transfer turning in Liberia must be coming as refreshing rain water in the West African politics particularly after the region having seen five coup d'etats in the recent past.

We must give it to the outgoing Liberian President George Weah for resisting the temptation that has bedeviled a number of African leaders for years.

President Weah, after serving his first term in office, he sought to extend his presidency by contesting in the presidential elections which pitched him against his own former Vice President and who eventually emerged victorious in the re-run up.

Just like other Africa's strongmen, President Weah could have done as others in order to extend his stay on the throne, but he didn't.

When he was beaten in the polls, he conceded and today we are witnessing the transition from President Weah to the President elect.

Why this power transition in Liberia is very monumental is the fact that Liberia has undergone a very ravaging history of coups and violence that had characterized Liberia for years right from 1980 when President William Tolbert was violently overthrown and murdered by Sgt. Samuel Doe.

Later, Samuel Doe was to be murdered in 1990 by Prince Johnson in a very gruesome and dehumanizing manner that shocked the entire world.

The death of Samuel Doe plunged Liberia into what was to become the bloodiest civil war in West Africa dragging in other countries like Sierra Leone from where the former Liberian President Charles Taylor turned a notorious warlord waged his insurgency and caused untold human catastrophe that the region had never experienced.

Charles Taylor was to be arrested in 2003 by the concerted effort of the ECOWAS military intervention and was handed over to the International Criminal Court in Hague where he was convicted of crimes against humanity.

It was in 2006 that the ravaged war-torn Liberia was able to return to semblance of normalcy and in the general elections held in 2005, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson was elected the 24th and first female President of Liberia who ruled for two terms till 2018.

The former world soccer sensation George Weah took over and his first and single term expires early next year and will be handing over to President elect Joseph Boakai.

This peaceful transition of power in Liberia underscores the journey that this tiny West African former American colony has walked over many years. It shows that finally Liberia is cementing her credentials as a budding democracy in West Africa that many African leaders need to emulate.

---Edward Baliddawa

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