Former World Footballer of the year George Weah is all set to become Liberian President – after being endorsed by the country’s premium warlord.
Mirror Sport reports that Prince Johnson has given his vote to the former AC Milan man, in what is seen as a crucial boost to the ex-Chelsea star’s hopes of taking charge of his home country.
The 51-year-old former World Footballer of the Year Weah, is involved in a run-off against current vice-president Joseph Boakai, scheduled for November 7.
Reports from sources confirmed that Weah won 38.4 per cent of the vote in the first round earlier this month – more than anyone else
However, that figure was shy of the 50.1 per cent necessary to win outright.
Johnson, who took more than eight per cent of first round votes, is seen as a crucial backer – having helped Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf get re-elected in 2011 – and puts pressure on Boakai to drum up support of his own against Weah.
“I am humbled to announce … my full and unflinching support in collaboration with the Congress for Democratic Change party of Senator George Weah,” Prince Johnson said at his Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction party headquarters.
But Johnson’s attempt at playing kingmaker has made many in Liberia uncomfortable, following his role in the country’s civil war that ended in 2003.
Additionally, his troops took control of parts of the capital Monrovia in 1990, ousting former president Samuel Doe, and Johnson celebrated as the leader was executed.
“Johnson’s backing will not win the vote alone for Weah, but it will certainly boost his prospects, especially as other candidates are also likely to throw their weight behind the opposition leader, sensing his momentum,” said Roddy Barclay,director at risk-advisory firm Africa Practice.