Ex-warlord Kromah Again Failed To Take Responsibility

By Winsley S. Nanka

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

September 19, 2002

Alhaji V.G. Kromah, one of the principal architects responsible for the destruction of lives and properties in Liberia has once again failed to take responsibility for the atrocities he and his rebel forces committed during the 1990s. In a rambling diatribe distributed by The Perspective website, the ULIMO-K's former supreme military commander blamed everybody but himself for his public relation problems.

He lambasted the Perspective for undertaking a deliberate attempt to assassinate his character. Alhaji Varmuyan Garxim Kromah accused the Internet magazine of being a front for the ‘‘Madame’’ in Abidjan, a direct reference to Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, one of the Liberian “packed bags” opposition politicians. General Kromah also expressed that the attacks against him have an ethnic underpinning. A direct reference to allegedly being a target because he is a member of the Mandingo ethnic group.

The most laughable of Mr. Kromah’s claims in his article and elsewhere is claim of massive support during the 1997 presidential election in Liberia. Mr. Kromah has on several occasions written of the massive support he received in Lofa, Bong, Nimba and Grand Cape Mount Counties during the election. However, statistical evidence obtained at the Liberian Connection website proves otherwise. The attention seeking former warlord received a statistically insignificant 4.03 percent of the popular votes during the elections of 1997, a paltry percentage in a percentile of 100.

Notably absent from the former warlord’s diatribe are:

1. His failure to explain up to now why he joined Charles Taylor, the human rights abusing kleptocratic warlord in 1996 to overthrow the collective presidency? General Kromah said in his now infamous 2000 Perspective interview that he took up arms against Mr. Taylor because of the atrocities he (Taylor) and his forces committed against the Liberian people. It can be recalled that General Kromah and Charles Taylor joined forces to overthrow the collective presidency installed by ECOWAS in Monrovia. The collective presidency served as the bridge between the civil war and the return to civilian rule. During the 1996 assault on Monrovia, Generals Kromah and Taylor on one hand, and the AFL/ethnic Krahns on the other hand, fiercely fought in Monrovia. The battle for Monrovia decimated Monrovia, the Liberian Capital. The Liberian capital has not recovered from the April 6 fiasco. Stiff resistance by the AFL/ethnic Krahns and pressure from the United States government thwarted warlords Kromah and Taylor’s attempt to seize power.

2. Why he has not accepted responsibility for the atrocities he and his rebel forces committed during the 1990s in Liberia? Victims of ULIMO-K’s atrocities in Liberia like other victims of atrocities committed by warlords Charles G. Taylor, George Boley, Prince Johnson and Roosevelt Johnson have demanded responsibility of Alhaji Kromah. But, the former ULIMO-K’s supreme military commander has persistently refused to accept responsibility for the heinous crimes he and his rebel forces committed in various places in Liberia, including Lofa and Cape Mount Counties.

The attention seeking former warlord’s failure to come clean about these two issues and others will continue to follow him because victims of ULIMO-K’s atrocities believe that Mr. Kromah has to accept responsibility if there is to be forgiveness. Alhaji Kromah needs to look deep into his conscience and admit to his wrong doings; and regret them enough to take responsibility.

Crying “ethnicity” will certainly not help the former warlord’s attempt to resurrect himself because the democratization process in Liberia today is not about individuals or tribes. It is about Liberia. The evidence of that is the election of Mohamed Kromah as the President of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas. As one observer puts it, there are many other Liberians of integrity that are members of the Mandingo ethnic group. One such example is Al-Hassan Conteh. Alhaji Kromah’s troubles stem from his quest for publicity. His constant appearances and statements remind victims of ULIMO-K’s atrocities and horrors.

The former warlord needs to understand that accountability, responsibility and transparency will be the order of the day in the new Liberia. As one victim of the Liberian civil war puts it, “ its about Liberia, not Kromah or any individual for that matter”.

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