by ISMAIL AKWEI
Thousands of Liberian citizens, diplomats, international footballers have converged at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, outside the capital Monrovia, to witness the inauguration of ex-footballer George Weah as the 25th president of Liberia.
The heads of state present include Ghana’s Nana Akufo Addo, Guinea’s Alpha Conde, Sierra Leone’s Ernest Bai Koromah, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, Faure Gnassingbé of Togo, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo Republic, President Jose Mario Vaz of Guinea Bissau, Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon and Malian president Ibrahim Boubakar Keita.
Some football stars including Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o and Nigeria’s Sunday Oliseh and Taribo West also made their way to the historic ceremony as George Weah becomes the first football star to rise to the level of president of a country.
Thousands of Liberians queued outside the stadium since Sunday to secure seats to witness the swearing-in of the football star turned president. 51-year-old Weah won the first round of the presidential election with 38.4% of the vote and won the second round with 61% of votes against outgoing Vice President Joseph Boakai.
Weah will be sworn in with his Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, ex-wife of former Liberian president Charles Taylor who has been incarcerated for war crimes.