George Weah, an ex- international football idol has been sworn in as president of Liberia, the first peaceful democratic transfer of power in the West African country in more than seven decades.
Weah won 61.5 percent of the votes in December’s election run-off, defeating outgoing vice president , Joseph Boakai who garnered 38.5 percent of the ballot.
According to the election commission, voter turnout, as gathered was 55.8 percent, which translates to over 1.2 million people.
The former world footballer of the year succeeded Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female president. Weah, in 2002 joined active politics after retiring from football and contested for the presidency in 2005 losing to Sirleaf.
It would be recalled that the last peaceful transfer of power between two democratically elected presidents took place in Liberia in 1944, when president Edwin Barclay was replaced by William Tubman.
The swearing-in ceremony which took place at a stadium near the Liberian capital, Monrovia was well attended by several African and foreign dignitaries, including heads of state from Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Mali, Ivory Coast and Guinea.
Liberians regard the 51-year-old as a hero for his incredible rags-to-riches tale. He was born in a slum in Monrovia, but achieved fame in international football.
Also, Weah promised to eradicate corruption in the country of four million people and boost the weak economy since Liberia was described as one of the poorest countries in the world with 80 percent of the population living on less than $1.25 a day.
Monrovia, its capital is highly dependent on exports of iron ore and rubber, which have recently dropped steeply in prices. The country is also trying to overcome the effects of the Ebola outbreak, which left more than 4,000 people dead.
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