Retired footballer turned politician, George Manneh Weah, who converted from Islam to Christianity a few years ago has claimed victory in Liberia’s presidential poll, becoming the 25th president of the country.
Weah, 51, converted from Christianity to Islam which he practiced for 10 years before converting back.
He took to Twitter to thank all his supporters.
“It is with deep emotion that I want to thank you, the Liberian people, for honoring me with your vote today. It is a great hope,” Weah, who is former AC Milan striker wrote.
Former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, who was an observer at the election, said he was certain it would be free and fair despite few challenges experienced.
Weah now succeeds 79-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf who was the first African woman to be elected head of state and government and commander-in-chief of the defence forces.
Initially scheduled for November 7, Liberia’s presidential vote was delayed after the party of a third candidate filed a legal complaint alleging voter fraud and irregularities.
During the campaigns, contestants Weah, the candidate for the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), and Vice President Joseph Boakai, of the Unity Party, promised to revive Liberia’s struggling economy and kick-start infrastructure projects.
The Standard Media – Kenya reports that Weah’s deep political sense and football fame made it possible for him to get support from the youths who form majority of Liberia’s population.
Weah declared at Jireh International Faith Mission Church in Liberia in 2004, that he is Christian and not a Muslim he was.
His declaration was based on a question posed to him by Ms Esther Nyumah, founder and overseer of the Jireh International Church: “We want you to tell us whether you are a Muslim or a Christian.”
Without a stutter Weah answered: “I am a Christian. I only did that [became a Muslim] because some people were putting pressure on.” Weah claimed that his decision at the time was a matter of convenience when he was playing soccer for the AS Monaco in France.
Weah said he had converted to Islam under the influence of his former manager, Mohammed Siliby, himself a Muslim.