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  • Writer's pictureMarie S.

George Weah & His Godfatherism of Liberian Politics



George Weah's entry into Liberian politics has been described as a breath of fresh air, as he represented a departure from Liberia's traditional political elite. However, his presidency has been marked by accusations of nepotism and godfatherism, which have led to concerns about the state of democracy and accountability in Liberia. This analytical political report will breiefly examine George Weah's political career and his role in shaping Liberian politics.


Godfatherism in Liberian Politics:

George Weah's political career began in 2014 when he ran for the Liberian Senate as a candidate for the CDC party. He won the election and served as a senator until 2017, when he announced his candidacy for the presidency. Weah won the presidency in a run-off election against former Vice President Joseph Boakai, with over 60% of the vote.


Weah's presidency has been marked by accusations of godfatherism and nepotism. He has been accused of appointing family members and close associates to key government positions, including his wife as the head of the Office of the First Lady. This has led to concerns about the concentration of power in the hands of a few individuals, and the impact of this on democracy and accountability in Liberia.


Weah was elected president of Liberia in 2018, following a contentious election against former Vice President Joseph Boakai. He ran on a platform of change and promised to improve the country's economy and infrastructure. Since taking office, Weah has faced significant challenges, including a struggling economy and widespread corruption.


The characterization of Weah's style of politics by godfatherism stems from critics who argue that Weah's political power is based on his popularity rather than his policies, and that he has relied on political rewards to and from cronies to maintain his hold on power. For example, Weah's CDC party has been accused of using intimidation tactics to silence opposition voices. In addition, Weah has been criticized for appointing family and ethnic members and close associates to important government positions, rather than qualified individuals with the necessary experience.


A 2021 report by the United States Department of State noted that "corruption and nepotism remain pervasive in Liberia," and that "there have been numerous allegations of corruption and abuse of power involving government officials and the president's family and inner circle." The report also highlighted concerns about the independence of the judiciary and the media in Liberia.


Role in Liberian Politics:

As the leader of the CDC party, George Weah has played a significant role in shaping Liberian politics. The party was founded in 2004 and has been one of the major political forces in the country. Weah's election as president in 2018 was seen as a victory for the party and a significant shift in Liberian politics.



However, his presidency has been marked by accusations of godfatherism and nepotism, which have raised concerns about the party's commitment to democracy and accountability. The concentration of power in the hands of a few individuals has also led to questions about the party's willingness to work with other political forces in the country.


Godfatherism is a term used to describe the practice of a political leader using their power and influence to control the political landscape. The godfather uses their influence to appoint individuals to key positions and ensure their loyalty. This practice is prevalent in many African countries and has often been associated with corruption and nepotism.

George Weah's godfatherism and nepotism have had a significant impact on Liberian politics. His presidency has raised concerns about the concentration of power in the hands of a few individuals and the impact of this on democracy and accountability. This has led to criticism from opposition parties and civil society groups, who have called for greater transparency and accountability in government.


Godfatherism has had profound impacts on Liberian Politics. The lack of transparency and accountability in government appointments could lead to corruption and abuse of power. This could erode public trust in the government and undermine the legitimacy of the democratic process. Furthermore, godfatherism could also stifle political competition and limit the diversity of ideas in the political landscape. This could lead to a lack of innovation and progress in the political and economic spheres.


Furthermore, the accusations of nepotism have had a negative impact on the perception of the CDC party, which has traditionally claimed to be a pro-poor and anti-elite political force. The concentration of power in the hands of a few individuals has led to questions about the party's commitment to these ideals.



Conclusion:

George Weah's presidency has been marked by accusations of godfatherism and nepotism, which have raised concerns about democracy and accountability in Liberia. His role in Liberian politics as the leader of the CDC party has been significant, but his actions have led to questions about the party's commitment to its pro-poor and anti-elite ideals. The concentration of power in the hands of a few individuals has also had a negative impact on the perception of the party and its ability to work with other political forces in the country. It is important for the government to take steps to address these concerns and ensure that democracy and accountability are maintained in Liberia.

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