Monday, January 22, 2018 4:59 pm
George Weah, football star, has been sworn in as the 24th President of the Republic of Liberia.
Weah took his oath of office at exactly noon inside the 35,000 capacity Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Monrovia.
At least eight African Heads of States, including President Muhammadu Buhari represented by Vice Present Yemi Osinbajo, and international soccer stars witnessed the ceremony.
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.
Many 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 found fame in international football.
Weah has promised to eradicate corruption in the country of four million people and bolster the weak economy, Al-jazeera reports.
Monrovia is highly dependent on exports of iron ore and rubber, which have recently plunged in prices. The country is also trying to overcome the effects of the Ebola outbreak, which left more than 4,000 people dead.
Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world with 80 percent of the population living on less than $1.25 a day.
Speaking at the Samuel Doe Stadium in the capital, Monrovia, Weah said: “I will do more than my fair share to meet your expectations – but I ask you to meet mine, for I cannot do this alone.”
Mr Weah also used his inaugural speech to praise Liberia’s strong ties with countries like the US and China, stressing their importance in helping reach the country’s full potential.
He also spoke of the European Union, telling the tens of thousands who had gathered to watch him become president today that the continent would “always have a special place in my heart”.
George Weah and former President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during the inauguration.
Mr Weah played football at clubs in France and the UK during the late 1980s and 1990s, becoming the first African to win the coveted Fifa World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or.
“Without Europe, George Weah would not be standing here. I have spent many years of my life in stadiums, but today is a feeling like no other,” he said in a report by BBC.