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Vexed by the King of Liberia

November 13, 2009

Glenna Gordon has a fantastic story about trying to take the photo of George Weah, massive soccer star and one-time presidential candidate, whose narrow loss to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf surprised some folks. Weah was in town for the recent senate elections, lending some celebrity to his political party.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Geogre Weah is the king of Liberia! If he say to Liberia, ‘lay down,’ they will lay down!” the PRO told me with pride. “I promise you that today, TODAY, you will see George Weah! You are with me so you have to see George Weah TODAY.”

When we drove past the Governance Commission, the PRO belted out, “That Amos Saywer! He eating all the money!” (Amos Sawyer is one of the more respected members of the political elite in Liberia.) When we drove past a new hotel, he said, “Ellen built that hotel and when George Weah is President, we will seize this building for the people!”

Closer to George Weah’s house in a neighborhood called ELWA, just past Rehab Junction (no relation drug problems) he said, “Everyone wants to live here because this is where George Weah lives!”

At his compound, at first I was requested to “wait small” since George Weah was resting. “You will see George Weah today!” and then in quickly became clear I wouldn’t see him at all. Having now wasted several hours, taxi fare, and way too much phone credit, and would soon disappoint my editor, I was, as the PRO called me, “vexed.”

“You can wait! You will see George Weah today!” I refused to wait, and got ready to leave. The PRO seemed personally insulted. He gave me back my business card. I accepted. I think this was supposed to be symbolic, but I’m not sure of what.

Voting yesterday was apparently as disorganized as my trip to see George Weah. Ballots were missing, polling stations closed, and people unsure of when to vote. The results of the elections have still not been announced, but I’m told they will be announced TODAY.

Read the whole post.

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