Liberia’s former international soccer icon turned President, George Manneh Weah says he is what he is today because of the love that slain President Samuel Doe had for players of the Liberian National Soccer Team, the Lone Star.
Mr. Weah, who gained international fame as Africa and World best soccer icon before venturing into politics, recalls that he was the youngest Liberian player to travel to several parts of the world, including other African countries and Europe under the watchful eyes of the late President Doe.
Doe who is remembered among Liberia’s sports – loving presidents, was brutally murdered by erstwhile rebel group Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) general, now Nimba County Sen. Prince Yormie Johnson during the civil war.Sen. Johnson is now a key political ally of President Weah, having politically delivered vote – rich Nimba County to Weah’s Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) ticket in 2017 during crucial time of a presidential run – off that earned the CDC victory.
President Weah’s comment about being what he is today because of the late president Doe came when he was addressing Liberian Muslims at the Monrovia City Hall upon their return from a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia on Monday, 9 September.He praised God for the safe return of 324 Muslims to the country, having gone to Saudi Arabia to intercede both on behalf of the country and for God to grant them their desires.
The President narrates that during a visit, he asked one of his friends about what he (Weah) could do for him as President of Liberia, and the friend’s wish was for Liberians to go to Saudi Arabia.President Weah underscores that both Muslims and Christians in Liberia have no choice but to live together as one family, noting that the civil conflict thatravaged in Liberia did not distinguish between Muslims or Christians.
He expresses thanks to key government officials and partners for their support which made it possible for Muslims to attend the Hajj, adding that he is pleased that their wish to go to Mecca is fulfilled.
Also speaking during the occasion, Lofa County District #4 Rep. MariamaFofana praises President Weah for making it possible for the participation of Liberian Muslims in this year’s Hajj.She says President Weah will always be remembered for his fatherly role played, making it possible for Liberians from the 15 political subdivisions of the country to go to Saudi Arabia and participate in the holy program.
The Lofa lawmaker notes that for the first time in the history of Liberia, 324 Liberians through the instrumentality of President Weah were able to go to Mecca to participate in the Hajj.She indicates that the 324 Liberians were successful out of 365 persons that were initially intended to go to the Holy Land of Mecca.
She expresses thanks and appreciation to other partners who worked along with the Minister of Internal Affairs Varney Sirleaf to make the pilgrimage to Mecca possible, urging her fellow Muslims to continue to intercede on behalf of the President, government, and people of Liberia.
Some of the returning Liberian Muslims gave individual testimonies as to their experiences to and from Mecca, praising God for their travel and safe return to the country.By Emmanuel Mondaye–Edited by Winston W. Parley