By Alva M. Wolokolie
Liberia’s Peace Ambassador, former renowned world footballer, George Manneh Weah, has showcased his award won in 1995 “the Ballon D’or” to Liberians ahead of the Liberia Peace Initiative in Monrovia slated for June 20- 22 at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville. Ballon D’or is a French word. In English, it is called “Golden Ball”.
The peace initiative is part of Mr. Weah’s contribution to a reconciliatory process that would ensure national healing in post-war Liberia. Ambassador Weah has already invited several former soccer stars who played with him when he won the 1995 Europe, World, and Africa Best Player Award.
Some of those African stars invited to participate in the one-day event are Roger Miller of Cameroon, Samuel Eto’o, Cameroon, Patrick Mboma of Cameroon, Kolo Toure formerly of Manchester City but now with Liverpool, his brother Yaya Toure, Jordan and Andre Ayaw and their father Abedi Pele of Ghana.
Others are Richard Akina of Lanse and Rans of France, Cyril Domouar, formerly of Ivory Coast, Mohamed Kallon of Sierra Leone, Richard Kinston of Ghana and Omar Ding formerly of PSG among others.
At a special press conference held yesterday at the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism, Ambassador Weah told a group of journalists that peace and reconciliation cannot be achieved by him alone and as such he needs the cooperation of all Liberians regardless of political, ethnic or religious background.
The Liberia Peace Ambassador told the audience that without peace, there would not be stability in the country, so it would be prudent that all Liberians come out to support and participate in this national endeavor.
“This is a unification game for us Liberians. The best way to start this is by bringing the “Ballon D’or” to you because since I won this award, I could not present it to you because of the war in our country. If Liberia must achieve peace, it must come from each person’s heart and I think it is time we can do it,” Ambassador Weah said.
Weah, also a political leader of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) said his task as Peace Ambassador is to create awareness and promote peace in the country. This initiative, he added is not for money as it has been perceived in some places but the love and participation that an individual has to help see Liberia regains its status among the comity of nations.
“I have no office to work in since this position was given me but I must begin the process and encourage the participation of everyone. Those guys I am bringing here have not asked me for a dime. They are coming too to help us so that when you see them, you could be inspired and motivated in life,” Weah asserted.
When asked whether he has reconciled with himself and those who may have offended him in the past, Ambassador Weah responded that he has never had biff with anyone before and that he cannot reconcile with himself because he has not had problem with himself.
“Look at me; you see how handsome I am. I have always been a friendly person. We are all Liberians; I have never had problem with anyone,” The Peace Ambassador said.
The politician explained that the reconciliatory process will include a sports festival with all stars, one-day musical concert and a one-day Consultative Reconciliation with major stakeholders and civil society groups.
Weah, a former soccer legend; is the first and only African to win the World Best, Europe Best and Africa Best titles in a row the same year.
He is the founder and standard bearer of the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) that contested two general elections since 2005.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf appointed Mr. Weah Peace Ambassador in December 2011. He later accepted the post after several months of consultation with family members and friends in Gbarnga, Bong County at the closing of the Vision 2030 Conference.