Akwaaba Kwame Weah

His Excellency George Oppong Ousman [Kwame] Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia from today has been described in so many ways among: kept trying till winning; successfully pulling self by the bootstraps; from rags to riches, and born to rule.

It’s all about his astounding win in presidential elections to become Liberia’s 25th leader since its founding as an independent settlement in 1821. It’s, thus, a third try victory hallelujah time.

What’s fascinating about the gentleman is his humility, despite fabulous personal riches, to go back to the level of taking high school examinations, passing and going on to earn a degree in business.

Even though he is quoted as saying ‘leadership is not about how many degrees one has but rather how politicians understand and fulfil the needs of their citizens,’ he lived by ‘it is never too late for anyone to pursue and achieve a dream;’ when, in 2011, he ‘graduated from DeVry University in Florida with a degree in Business Management.’

Not so among congresspeople in this motherland. They worm their way into presidential staffing or become ministers when they know they aren’t prepared for those positions. They thereafter steal the time we are paying them to work as ministers/staffers to return to acquire appropriate skills for work undeservedly assigned to them at great cost to the motherland.

At age 51, he assumes the presidency among quinquagenarians before him along the West African coast with little success, some actually disaster. I hope someone will remind Kwame Weah about that and help keep him away from what made those his predecessor quinquagenarians failures in various ways.

He should exorcise the quinquagenarian (each, except Jammeh and Rawlings) was president at age 55) jinxed (‘byluck’) to fail. Among them are Compaore (40-63), Gbagbo (55-66), Jammeh (29-52), Jonathan (53-58), Mahama (54-58), Rawlings (34-53) and Taylor (49-55).

Wish I knew how Macky Sall (since age 51) has been faring. But for, him, the quinquagenarians have been, in reality or perceptively, characterised as incompetent, corrupt, or self-aggrandising. They ruled and hardly governed.

The Johnson-Sirleaf and Boakai, with Kufuor before, departures could mark the beginning of future retirement of the septuagenarian class of Akufo-Addo, Buhari, and Ouattara. Mahammadu Bawumia, though, could have a beginning turn any point between 59 and 63.

That is, he could escape the quinquegenarian trap and hop into sexagenarian success. Weah, though, must be wary of the young and hot-headed and rather seek counsel in the old and wise septuagenarians and avoid quinquagenarian failure.

His Vice-President says Mr Weah is patient and seeks consensus building.

These are sterling to me as a septuagenarian who has seen and lived the world. These same qualities could, however, conflict with the rapid results demand of the youth who championed and supported his campaign to become president. His humility, combined with patience and consensus building should win the youth to carry on with him.

Actually, I heard he’s ready to reach out. That would be powerful; because for a wounded people as our brothers and sisters, compatriots of Liberia motherland are, nothing would be more desirable to stabilise for action than reaching out. His consensus building skills should profitably serve this purpose.

You are Kwame, an Atoapem Abramsamadu Katawere Pambo╔ö. Kwame, wo te ananka nuro. ‘Saturday’s child works hard for a living,’ says poet rhyme writer Alethea Kontis. Kwame, as a football striker, you worked hard to score goals to Golden Boot awards. As President, we expect scoring development goals, the millennium ones that weren’t scored and the sustainable ones that are yet to be scored, blending your football skills with your political skills. The Monkees sang that with Saturday’s child ‘you can tell the future’s looking bright.’

Your footballing’s been accolades galore.

You know how to win and you have won. In 1995, you won both African Player of the Year and the coveted Ballon d’Or. You were African Player of the Year 1989, 1994 & 1995. In 1996, you were African Player of the Century. Your week day of birth namesake, Kwame Nkrumah, was ‘Man of the Millennium.’

I also read top on your agenda is fighting corruption. That must be a challenge because it’s been the Achilles heel of the aforementioned quinquagenarians who all promised anti-corruption fight but lost or deepened it. In our undergraduate history class in the 1970s, our lecturer told us Liberia was among the poorest and most corrupt nations in the world.

I don’t know how much has improved since then. As said before, quinquagenarian leaders deepen corruption.

The hope then is that you would draw heavily on your football acceleration, speed, dribbling and finishing goal scoring ability, for accelerated containment of corruption. It’s already noted that, to effectively run Liberia, it’s obvious you may prefer elder septuagenarian advice to the failed quinquagenarian experience.

By Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh