In a move that has shocked everyone including his closet advisors, Liberian President George Weah, who was elected in 2017, has confirmed that he will not seek re-election in 2029. Weah’s announcement came just a week before he is set to turn over power to the incoming administration, following the defeat of his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in the 2023 elections.
Weah, addressing members at the Forky Klon Jlateh family church, stated, “Right now, I am 57, and our retirement age is 65. Six years from now, I will be 63, and I cannot work for two years. So, the best thing we can do now to promote peace and prosperity for this country, and nobody is going to drag me into politics until I reach 90 years.”
The retirement law of 65 years general refers to civil servants and not politicians as the incoming president is 80 years but this declaration indicates that the CDC will need to find a new political leader to guide the party in the 2029 elections. Notable figures within the CDC who could potentially step into this role include Saah Joseph, Senator of Montserrado County, Thomas Fallah, Head of the CDC legislative Caucus, Samuel Tweah, former Minister of Finance and Development Planning, and Jefferson Koigee, the longtime youth leader of the party and current Secretary-General.
The recent defeat of the CDC by the Unity Party in the 2023 elections has left the party divided and disoriented, with the once-prominent political force in Liberia struggling for its survival. Weah’s indication of resignation from active politics does not necessarily mean he plans to be an indifferent observer in the political process. During his speech, he urged CDC members to treat the incoming administration with respect and avoid causing trouble. He emphasized, “If you don’t have anything to do at the Inauguration, stay home. Don’t go to the street and cause trouble. Even me, I’m traveling as soon as I turn over power.”
Once hailed as the party of the future, the CDC has faced internal disorganization and corruption, contributing to its defeat by the Unity Party. Weah also used the occasion to share his observations on the country’s current state, throwing a jab at the incoming government by saying, “They say they will build all the roads in 3 months; let’s watch and see.”
George Weah, who lost the runoff election on November 14, 2023, is expected to formally turn over power on January 22, 2024, at the Capitol grounds. His future role in Liberian politics remains uncertain, but his statements suggest that he does not plan to fade away entirely from the political landscape.