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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Liberia: Axing the Rotten Apple: Why Abraham Kromah Should be Dismissed from the LDEA

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By Mohammed M. Bamba, Jr

 On January 24, 2024, Abraham Kromah was appointed and subsequently confirmed by the Liberian Senate on February 6, 2024. His appointment was greeted with huge discontent with an unprecedented call for the revocation of his appointment by the President or denied by the Liberian Senate by many Liberians.

A call by many Liberians predicated on his affiliation with the ULIMO – K warring faction, his wanton display of unprofessionalism during his reign as Deputy Inspector General for Operations of the LNP and his many history of human rights violations. From the onset many well-meaning Liberians thought he was the wrong pick for the LDEA and that he lacked the leadership ability to lead a dedicated institution like the LDEA.

Firstly, Abraham Kromah’s appointment and knee-jerk confirmation by the Senate violated the act creating the LDEA Chapter IV, Section 4.1.3 Page 7 which states that “A General Director of the LDEA must do a successful examination; medical including drug test before exceeding as Director General of the entity. The General Director must not have been dismissed from the LDEA or any statutory security agency for any substantive reason( S), must have a clean record and should not be facing any criminal charges or subject to any investigation of war crimes, crime against humanity or any crime that violates international human right convention “.

Abraham Kromah didn’t present any record of a drug test during his confirmation hearing and the Senate in their usual ignorant also ignored the fact that Abraham Kromah wasn’t just a key player as an Ex -ULIMO K fighter but was also dismissed by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for shooting and running over motorcyclists with his official assigned 102 Police vehicle.

(See link https://thenewdawnliberia.com/ab-kromah-others-fired/ )

Amid all these dreadful records of Abraham Kromah and the numerous calls for him not to be confirmed, the Liberian Senate went ahead to confirm him and in less than a hundred days he began to showcase his ineptitude and vindicated us by becoming a major culprit in the fight against illicit drug trafficking and substance abuse.

Since his appointment, he has failed to institute any sustainable policy program to address the heightening drug crisis befalling the state and all he does is connive with drug kingpins to line up his pocket in return for protecting these drug lords. Abraham Kromah isn’t just only protecting notorious drug dealers but also heavily recruiting ex-combatants to the LDEA most of whom are Ex-ULIMO K fighters.

According to the testimony of Abraham Kromah two deputies at the LDEA, one of the most dangerous drug dealers in the country by the name of “God Lord “have been shielded by Abraham Kromah under the nefarious impression that he is a confidential informant.

It’s so perplexing that a man who is responsible for most of the illicit drug trafficking in the country will be shielded by Abraham Kromah when the fight against illicit drug trafficking has engulfed the sub-Saharan region.

According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report, “Drug trafficking in the Sahel region – i.e., Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and the Niger – continues to hinder security, economic development and the rule of law while jeopardizing public health”.

The report further that the “drug economy and instability in the Sahel are linked through a vicious cycle, the report notes, in which the weak rule of law is facilitating the expansion of the drug economy, which can, in turn, provide financial resources for maintaining or expanding conflicts, which then continues to weaken the rule of law. “

(See link https://www.unodc.org/unodc/frontpage/2024/April/drug-trafficking-undermining-stability-and-development-in-sahel-region–says-new-report-from-unodc.html )

We can’t ignore the glaring fact that due to weak and ineffective governance institutions, socio-economic challenges, political instability and overlapping security issues in the region have gradually made the region a transit hub for the drug market and Liberia is no exception.

With the trend of ineptitude and the ineffectiveness of the LDEA, we could be so vulnerable to this global threat of our country becoming a hub of illicit drug trafficking.  When the KUSH drug hit Sierra Leone in 2016, it spread so rapidly that due to the vulnerability of our local security institutions, it began to spread in Liberia and by 2023 Kush had gradually taken over our young population.

This deadly drug according to experts is a synthetic, cannabinoid-like drug and is as dangerous as heroin and cocaine.  This drug has even metamorphosed today in Liberia into what is now known as “ZOMBIE” a drug that is on the rise in Liberia.

The prevalent of the “Kush and Zombie “ drugs coupled with their rapid spread is a result of the ineffectiveness of the current LDEA leadership headed by Abraham Kromah who is creating more avenues for drug trafficking and substance abuse by allegedly facilitating those top drug dealers in the country under the pretense of being informants.

If we must tackle this national emergency then we need to axed  the bad apple (Abraham Kromah ) from among the good ones before his contagious influence spreads and by the time we all realize it will be too late.

As part of the many reasons why Abraham Kromah shouldn’t return to the LDEA is the scary fact that he is heavily recruiting ex-ULIMO K fighters who are not well-trained professionally to the LDEA is troubling and with notorious Ex-General Zeeza Maza being used to train a special force outside the LDEA is something that threatens the peace and stability of our country.

We must not encourage Abraham Kromah to degenerate our peace and destroy the LDEA only because of political patronage.  Because of Abraham Kromah’s unprofessional attitude, he continues to exhibit and his act of shielding drug kingpins the LDEA has lost support from the US Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

According to the two Deputy Directors at the LDEA, “crucial supplies such as uniforms and advanced drug testing kits, previously confirmed as donations are being withheld without explanation.”

They also stated that “Luis Diaz the UNODC representative has explicitly stated that their continued support is contingent on a change in the agency’s leadership with Abraham Kromah being identified as the rotten apple “.

Over the years, the LDEA has depended on these two international institutions for logistical and technical support; which have helped the LDEA a lot in fighting illicit drug trafficking. Sadly, we are gradually losing our international partners all because of one bad apple in Abraham Kromah who has seen the LDEA as a means of enriching himself by facilitating drug dealers and shielding their arrest. If we are to have a vibrant LDEA with strong ties with our international partners, people like Abraham Kromah need to be axed.

The drug epidemic continues to grow daily in Liberia leaving many young people affected and our country vulnerable to potential drug dealers’ use for either terrorist financing or money laundering. We must rise to save our state and the younger generation by getting rid of the bad apple that continues to undermine the collective fight against illicit drug trafficking.

I must appreciate Mr. Boakai for suspending Abraham Kromah and I am admonishing him that if only he is serious about fighting substance abuse and drug trafficking then he should go a step further to dismiss Abraham Kromah. Abraham Kromah is among the many heads of agencies and ministers who decimally performed during the first  100 days of this government.

Any attempt to make a U-turn in his decision will continue to remain in this circus of no tangible results in combating illicit drug trafficking and substance abuse. Mr. Boakai has the opportunity to show the Liberian people that he has the political will and he can use it for the betterment of the citizenry and our country’s image.

Abraham Kromah should be axed and be replaced by a professional person at the LDEA who can bear a moral face to attract our International partners to fight illicit drug trafficking and substance abuse. The LDEA needs a leader who can place the state above his pockets, the well-being of the young population over the well-being of himself. A person who can enforce the law without any ounce of fear or favor.

While we believe there is a need to have a new leadership at the LDEA that will take the fight against illicit drug trafficking and substance abuse to the doorsteps of those traffickers and users, we also believe that there should be a structural reform at the LDEA in order to weed out all the ex-combatants and former ULIMO -K fighters recruited by Abraham Kromah.

About the Author

Mohammed M. Bamba, Jr is a political activist and an Administrator who holds a Master of  Public Administration in Local Government and Rural Development Administration from the Cuttington University  School of Graduate and Professional Studies.

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