Liberian president, George Weah, has proven that he is not only a former soccer legend but one with another mission – to be a preacher.
The 51-year-old, whose footballing career played a huge role in his landslide election victory, recently opened his own church and gave an inaugural sermon.
On December 31, 2018, during a watch night service to usher in the new year, the Liberian leader held a service and dedication ceremony for the church – The Forky Jlaleh Family Fellowship Church.
The ceremony was attended by a host of government appointees, including the Speaker of the country’s Legislature, Bhofal Chambers and the Senate Pro-Tempore, Albert Chie, Liberian media, Front Page Africa reported.
In his first sermon on the theme: “Life is a business; what you do with your life will make you profitable or unprofitable”, President Weah encouraged his congregation to be committed and passionate about their objectives in 2019.
To his officials, the former football legend urged them to show commitment to their roles and abstain from sabotaging his administration.
“You work with government then you want to sabotage the government. You are a Minister in the government but you want to sabotage the government. You are an executive then you want to sabotage the government. You want to sit right here so that government work. You are also part of the government”.
“Let’s forget about all the setbacks in 2018 and focus on the prosperous New Year, what God gave you is enough,” he said.
When the former football star assumed power in Liberia in January this year, he promised to reform the economy that has been struggling to recover following the 2014-15 Ebola crisis, to fight corruption and nepotism and bring in a new era for the West African country.
But after almost a year in office, the 51-year-old’s administration has been faced with some challenges including slip-ups with some appointments he made.
Corruption has also been a hard nut to crack for the president especially with recent news of the disappearance of $100 million (about $15 billion Liberian dollars) worth of newly printed banknotes destined for the central bank.
The cash was said to have been shipped from Sweden in late 2017, in the midst of Liberia’s elections to choose a successor to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, according to Front Page Africa.
The incident sparked off blame games and travel bans, as well as, public outrage in one of the poorest countries in the world.
Critics of the government pointed accusing fingers at President Weah for the missing money while others blamed the former leader, Sirleaf.
When the incident occurred, the government said it was investigating and “will leave no stone unturned to find those responsible for the act.”
Up until now, the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the money is yet to be unravelled, and although the government subsequently announced that the money was never missing, many Liberians are still skeptical.
Instead of placing this high on its to-do list, the government of Weah rather announced strict policies that will direct women as to how to style their hair, angering scores of Liberians last October.
People raised concerns and largely wondered how a woman’s hairstyle would affect productivity.
In just about two months, Weah’s decision to open a church has also met mixed reactions, compelling a response from the Deputy Information Minister for Technical Service, Boakai Fofana.
“There’s a story behind the Church. Contrary to what many have started to impute, it’s not vainglorious. So, the President and his family have customarily had a small weekly service in his home, from time immemorial.
“Each week, a family member will join the tiny congregation. The group outgrew his abode, and so he decided to build a little edifice to continue the practice,” Front Page Africa reported him as saying.
The minister added that Weah’s grandmother raised him around churches.
“That’s his comfort zone,” he said.