Thousands of people gathered in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, earlier this month to protest against a faltering economy and widespread corruption in the government. They blame President George Weah, a former football star who took office last year amid heightened expectations. Since then, corruption has continued to run rampant and economic conditions have only worsened. In an email interview with WPR, Elizabeth Donnelly, deputy head of the Africa Program at Chatham House in London, discusses the recent demonstrations and whether there is anything Weah can do to regain his “man of the people” image.
World Politics Review: How significant was the scale of the recent protests, and what are the conditions in Liberia that are causing so many people to take to the streets?
Elizabeth Donnelly: These were the most significant protests in Liberia in over a decade, and they drew attention both from within the Liberian government and from international observers. They are protests of frustration and disappointment. President George Weah, having inherited a difficult economic situation, has quickly descended from hero to let-down in the popular imagination.