Former international footballer George Weah has been sworn in as president of Liberia.”I have spent many years of my life in stadiums, but today is a feeling like no other,” President Weah told crowds in the capital Monrovia.
It is Liberia’s first transition between democratically-elected leaders since 1944.
Mr Weah thanked his predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for bringing peace to the country after years of civil war.
In his inauguration speech, Mr Weah said he couldn’t offer any “quick fixes” but rather steady progress towards the goals of Liberians.
His biggest priorities, he said, would be to fight corruption and pay civil servants “a living wage,” and show the private sector that Liberia was “open for business”.
Tens of thousands of people attended the inauguration at the Samuel Doe Stadium in Monrovia, with many queuing for hours to enter.
President Weah took the oath of office soon after 13:00GMT in front of an estimated 35,000 people.
Cameroonian football legend Samuel Eto’o watched the historic moment, along with the presidents of Ghana, Gabon and Sierra Leone.
Liberia’s outgoing President Sirleaf attended the ceremony. Mr Weah thanked Mrs Sirleaf, Africa’s first female elected head of state, for “laying the foundations on which we can now stand in peace”.
Liberia’s former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the new President elect George Weah speak during his swearing-in ceremony at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Monrovia, Liberia, January 22, 2018Image copyrightREUTERS
Presentational grey line
Seven things about George Weah:
- Born 1 October, 1966, grew up in a slum in Liberia’s capital
- Signed by Arsene Wenger to Monaco from Cameroonian club Tonnerre Yaoundé
- Made Monaco debut in 1987, went on to play for AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea
- Only African to win Fifa World Player of the Year
- First ran for president in 2005, losing to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
- Graduated with a business degree from a US university after being accused of lacking education
- Elected president in December 2017