Leadership by 'autopilot': Liberians protest as footballer leader absent

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By Isabella Jewell
Liberian protester holds sign at demonstration on 17 December 2022
Liberian protester holds sign at demonstration on 17 December 2022   -   Copyright  hh

Several hundred Liberians joined a peaceful demonstration in the suburbs of the capital Monrovia on Saturday to draw attention to soaring food costs and the shortage of basic goods in the country. 

The opposition party organised the protest, which drew large numbers of dissatisfied citizens who are increasingly angry that their President, former football star George Weah, for going 'missing in action'. 

Weah has been abroad since the end of October, first attending a string of political gatherings before travelling to the Qatar World Cup to support his son, Timothy Weah, who is representing the United States. 

Opposition leaders have asked whether the country is running on 'autopilot', with Alexander Cummings from the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) slamming the president's record: "We’re going to give President Weah an ‘F’ because he has failed us as a people."

The West African nation has felt the shockwaves caused by Russia's war on Ukraine, with the price of food and fuel rising sharply since February. 

Ambrose Kamara, one of the protesters, said: "Our gathering here today will send a signal to the international community that we are tired with everything that is unfolding in our country."