Monday, December 19, 2005

Weah acting more like a politician

Africa: That or people hammered it home that he is in a losing battle.

"The weekend head-to-head came a few days after former football legend Weah, issued a rabble-rousing speech at party headquarters, telling supporters he was the rightful president of Liberia. Afterwards, pro-Weah youths took to the streets throwing stones at security forces and smashing cars. Police arrested 40 people. But in an apparent U-turn, Weah dropped the fighting talk after Sunday's discussions. "I said in the meeting… that I am a man of peace and I will do nothing to disturb the peace process, the people need peace and Liberia is far greater than any one of us," he told reporters. Former Nigerian head of state, Abdusalami Abubakar, who brokered the meeting, said it had passed in an "atmosphere of cordiality". Weah had previously threatened to block Sirleaf's January 16 inauguration failing an official response to his claims of fraud in last month's election, which she won. But when the country's National Elections Commission threw out Weah's allegations last Monday his lawyers immediately said they would appeal to the Supreme Court, raising fears of another stand off. Weah refused to say at the weekend whether he would now drop his Supreme Court appeal. But aides from his party, the Congress for Democratic Change, confirmed they were under pressure to drop their complaints. "This is a matter that we the executives of CDC are now debating, but from the readings of things we may not pursue the case further because of wide international and national appeals," an aide told IRIN on condition of anonymity. The chairman of Liberia's transitional government, Gyude Bryant, who also attended the meeting, conceded that pressure was on Weah to let the matter drop."
Yep, the Hammer was used and Sirleaf is being smart about this.
Sirleaf, who won 59.4 percent of the vote against the former soccer star, has previously indicated she would be willing to bring Weah into her new government. "Our mandate is to accommodate all those who are ready to work for peace and stability in a government of inclusion," the former economist said last week. During the election campaigning, Sirleaf told reporters that she might even offer Weah a ministerial position such as minister for youth and sports.
Another would have paniced and given Weah an position he is ill-suited for to shut him up. But with pressure coming from all sides, Sirleaf can keep it to a minimum importance.

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