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Liberia’s George Weah May Run for President in 2017

FILE - George Weah, a former soccer star and the running mate of presidential candidate Winston Tubman of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), stands at the balcony after a news conference at his headquarters in Monrovia, November 5, 2011.

The national chairman of Liberia’s main opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party, Nathaniel Farlo McGill, said there’s a strong possibility that party founder and leader George Oppong Weah may consider another run for the presidency in 2017.

Weah came second to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the 2005 and 2011 presidential elections.

But McGill said that for now Weah, who was elected last year as Senator of Montserrado County, is focused on “improving his senatorial portfolio” and traveling around the country to meet and talk to Liberians about their needs.

During a recent visit to the United States with Weah, McGill told VOA they were in the United States to thank the Obama administration for U.S. support during the Ebola crisis.

“As you know, during the last nine to 12 months, our country has been engulfed by Ebola and as a major political party we felt it is our responsibility to begin to provide some leadership. We came to the United States firstly to extend our thanks and appreciation to the United States government, and also to ask the United States government to find a way to see how we can begin to address the post-Ebola recovery program,” he said.

McGill said he and Weah also used their U.S. visit to meet with CDC members and supporters in the U.S.

He said Liberians in the United States told him they are concerned the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has failed so far to create opportunities for them to return home.

“They want to see situation improve; they want to have an opportunity to go back home and invest, but one of the things I am hearing from Liberians is that the government is not creating the opportunity for investment,” McGill said.

McGill said he told the government during his inauguration that being an opposition should not make you an enemy of the government. As such, he said the government should not create barriers or give investment to only supporters of the ruling party.

“If we have investment, more Liberians will have jobs. But if you limit the possibility for Liberians who are not supportive of the regime not to bring investment in the country, then we have a problem of unemployment,” he said.

He accused the Johnson Sirleaf government of giving investment opportunities only to supporters of the ruling Unity Party.

McGill also said there is a strong possibility that Weah may consider another run for the presidency in 2017, but that for now Weah wants to work on being a senator.

“Like I said, Ambassador Weah is primarily focused on his senatorial portfolio. What he wants to do in the next one year or one and the half years is to change the condition of our people; provide opportunities for them,” McGill said.

He said Weah wants to concentrate on how best he can help to meet the basic needs of Liberians.

“We don’t even have safe drinking water; sanitation is an issue, and Mr. Weah is primarily focused on that. As we go to 2017, there’s a greater possibility that Ambassador Weah can be a candidate,” McGill said.

Mcgill said the CDC, which had been plagued in the past by infighting is now focused on internal reconciliation and reaching out to other political parties in preparation for 2017.

“The party is focused now as we move forward. We have a very strong leadership team; we have a strong secretary general; we have a strong youth league; we have a strong leader in Ambassador Weah; we are now talking about reconciliation; we are reaching out to other political parties,” he said.

McGill said the CDC has matured dramatically since the last two elections and has come to realize that no one party can win an election. As such, he said the CDC has been reaching out to other political parties and Liberians of all backgrounds.

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