George Weah is a legendary soccer player, a Liberian regarded as one of the greatest African soccer players of all time. The 51-year-old became the first (and to date, only) African player to win both the Ballon d’Or Award and FIFA Player of the Year back in 1995.
Since retiring from professional soccer, Weah has transitioned into the world of politics. After failed presidential and vice presidential campaigns, Weah was elected to the Liberian Senate back in 2014.
This year, Weah launched another presidential campaign, and is expected to win this week’s election once the results have been finalized.
He also has a controversial running mate.
Weah didn’t choose a disgraced former president or corrupt soccer player. Instead, he picked the ex-wife of a cannibal warlord. Should the election results be confirmed, Jewel Howard-Taylor is poised to be Weah’s vice president. Howard-Taylor’s former husband Charles is a former cannibal warlord who is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence in Britain for war crimes.
It is important to keep in mind that the Taylors divorced back in 2006, nine years after Taylor was elected President of Liberia in 1997. She also does have a little bit of a political background herself, wining election to the Senate in 2005 by the third most populated county in the country.
“The first thing I’ve done is to believe that I am able to make the changes I talk about,” she told AFP in a recent interview.
“I have made promises I have fulfilled in education, healthcare and infrastructure development, and so I hope over the past 12 years Jewel Howard has become her own person working for peace, working for prosperity and working for development”
Questions remain over how much Howard-Taylor knew of her husband’s crimes, as she was studying and working abroad during his rebel years before he was elected president.
— George Weah (@GeorgeWeahOff) December 26, 2017
— George Weah (@GeorgeWeahOff) December 27, 2017
The race for president was between Weah and current Vice President Joseph Boakai, but Weah is seemingly going to come out on top, potentially earning as much as 70% of the vote. The current President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, made history as Africa’s first elected female head of state 12 years ago. Now, she is being replaced by a former Monaco, PSG, and AC Milan striker.
Weah’s political career hasn’t exactly gone off without a hitch however, as he has been criticized for his work in the Senate according to a profile by BBC News.
But many educated Liberians dismiss Mr Weah as a “high-school drop-out” – he says he has an online Associate of Arts degree in Sports Administration.
Weah’s education consists of degrees from Parkwood and DeVry University.