News / Africa

Liberian Opposition Leader Calls for Peaceful Co-existence

George Weah in Monrovia, November 2011 file photo. George Weah in Monrovia, November 2011 file photo.
George Weah in Monrovia, November 2011 file photo.
George Weah in Monrovia, November 2011 file photo.
James Butty
The man named by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf nearly a year ago to head Liberia’s national reconciliation process says it is important for all Liberians to embrace the idea of peaceful co-existence saying he cannot do it alone.  

The previous opposition presidential and vice presidential candidate, as well as football legend, George Oppong Weah was appointed last December to be Liberia’s new peace ambassador after Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee quit in October as head of the National Reconciliation Commission, criticizing Sirleaf for not doing enough to fight corruption.  

Weah kicked off his national reconciliation process in June with a football match in Monrovia.  

He said phase two will be launched in October or November with a listening tour around the country to hear Liberians’ views on national reconciliation.

“The first part was successful, we can say.  We organized a peace initiative to jumpstart the process.  The most important thing is that all Liberians play their part if they want to see it go forward.  So now, we’re looking at the second phase which is the listening tour, and we do hope that the sponsors and everybody that wants to see peace in the country come on board for us to do this.  I can’t do this alone,” he said.

Weah said the listening tour will likely commence somewhere between October and November this year.

He hoped the government could be supportive of the reconciliation process by providing the necessary funding.

Weah said, although 14 years of a civil war has left Liberians divided and polarized, he’s confident the country is ready for reconciliation.

“Our people are divided, but they need to understand that there’s a need for reconciliation, most especially those who took part in the civil war that brought this country to this division.  We had our time of bitterness, but we can’t continue to stay in the past.  We have to design a new strategy for our country to go, and the only way is the peaceful way, to reconcile and work together and make the country what we want it to be,” Weah said.

When she resigned last year as chair of the National Reconciliation Commission, Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee criticized Sirleaf for not doing enough to fight corruption.

Gbowee said she and the president had “differences in opinion on the pathway for national healing and reconciliation.”

Weah, who was the presidential candidate in 2005 and vice presidential candidate in 2011, had been criticized for accepting the peace ambassador position, thereby abandoning his commitment to the opposition Congress for Democratic Change.

But, Weah said he is only doing what he has always done, and that is to work for peace in Liberia.

“I’ve always been a peaceful person.  I advocated for this country to have peace.  I spent millions of dollars putting the national team together to restore peace, going to refugee camps to let our people know that there’s still hope.  Today, if I accept [the position] to be the peace ambassador, I don’t understand why anybody will go against that,” Weah said.

Weah responded rhetorically to some critics who have suggested that he was paid a huge sum of money by Sirleaf or promised political rewards for accepting to be a peace ambassador.

“A couple years back, during the civil war and before the war, when I stepped up for the Liberian Football Association to pay their debt for them not to be expelled, did anybody pay me?  When I paid millions to bring peace through sports to our country because there was war, did anybody pay me something?  Today, I am a political leader and I was asked to promote peace among our people.  Did Sirleaf have to give me a job or promote my political ambition?  No!  I didn’t do for anything,” Weah said.

You May Like

Afghanistan, Pakistan Leaders to Hold Icebreaking Talks in Paris

Two sides are expected to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions and jointly work for resumption of stalled peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban officials

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
September 06, 2013 12:00 AM
It takes sacrifice for Liberia to be develop. We as Liberians need to put our Country first. Stop looking at America or the West to bring development to our Country, It is our responsibility as Liberians to develop our Native Land. It is time that we Liberians say enough is enough. When I went back to Liberia, and landing at R.I.A, The Country Airport has not met the international standard, There is not electricity on the Airport, The whole entire Airport is under developed., there is no electricity in Monrovia, People are using generators to run their electricity, there is no safe drinking water, and yet than still Madam Sirleaf is proud to be president of Liberia. We cannot go forward by ignoring the truth, Madam Sirleaf needs to do more for Liberia. She has not done nothing for Liberia. It is time that she sit back and see her mistakes and help bring about real change in Liberia. It is time for a change, it is time for a new Liberia, and we all must work to bring about this change. God Bless Liberia, God Bless the Liberian People, and God Bless our President

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
September 05, 2013 3:42 AM
It is time that we Liberians put our differences aside and work for the betterment of our Nation. Liberia has suffered a lot since 1989 N.P.F.L so called war.since 1989, Liberia has change hands with so many presidents, and yet still no president has done nothing for our Country, including Madam Sirleaf. Liberia is the biggest village in Africa. It is a shame how those people travel to developing countries and see how Government work to bring development to their Countries, create jobs for their people,

Liberia is a small Country with lot of resources, Gold Diamond, Rubber, and timber and they have discovered oil in Liberia, we can use those resources to develop our Nation. But those leaders that has been leading are so corrupt. They are thieves. They come to power to enrich themselves. But if we can only put the Country first and work with unity and peace, And for the love our country, than Liberia will reach the level of a modern world. But it takes people like me and other who have true love for our Country. God Bless Liberia, God Bless the Liberian People, and God Bless our President.

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs