On Friday, September 16, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf reappointed Abraham Kromah (popularly known as Abe Kromah) as Deputy Police Director for Operations.
His dismissal last year was said to be for one “administrative” reasons and it was greeted by the public, especially reckless and recalcitrant (disobedient; unruly) motorcyclists, with great delight. Surprisingly this was the man who was curbing the grave effects of their hazardous conduct in traffic and was being taken out of the Liberia National Police force.
The decision was that of President Sirleaf who has the constitutional prerogative for every appointed officials to serves at her will and pleasure.
Some alleged that the deputy police director was involved in alleged human rights abuses, connecting him to the notorious rebel group, the Liberia United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD).
Without realizing that some of them also participated in the war and were connected to rebel groups, reckless motorcyclists were annoyed with Kromah because he consistently enforced restrictions on their transport business; not cognizant of the fact that the action to restrict them is meant for their own safety and that of the passengers they carry.
The animosity toward Col. Kromah became especially tense last year as a result of his firm and sometimes unorthodox actions against commercial motorcyclists who did not adhere to restrictions pronounced by the police administration.
When commercial motorcyclists plied the streets of Monrovia, fatal accidents were occurring daily; leading to the death of passengers and cyclists themselves.
Many motorcyclists were allegedly riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol, constantly colliding vehicles and causing traffic congestion, while cab drivers were taking advantage of the size of a motorcycle to infringe on riders’ rights in the traffic.
When an accident occurred involving a motorcyclist, his companions oftentimes, without investigating the cause or assisting police to establish the cause of the accident, would resort to mob violence, including the destruction of life and property. Some vehicle drivers were killed and vehicles set ablaze. The Red Light and Somalia Drive incidents of 2015 can attest to these lawless behaviors.
Considering all these situations that were undermining peace in the country, Col. Kromah with consensus of the Ministry of Justice and the rest of LNP hierarchy, instituted the measure to restrict commercial motorcycles from plying the main roads in order to reduce accident and death rates.
Being a man of principle and action oriented, Kromah began vigorous enforcement of the policy and commercial motorcyclists were restricted only to areas they were told to ply.
When the restriction came into existence and effectively enforced, the accident rate was dramatically reduced in Monrovia and the emergency trauma units at hospitals were greatly relieved.
However, the few months of Abe Kromah’s absence from the LNP led motorcyclists to resume plying areas they were restricted from, perhaps because of weakness on the part of his successor. Many of them even abandoned the safety of helmets and also began to take more than one passenger on a bike.
Such disobedience even led to the instant death of a cyclist in August this year near the Fish Market in Sinkor.
Now that you are back, Col. Kromah, you should realize that you have won a victory over your critics and enemies because the President has seen the need for you to continue the good work you started.
Drivers and pedestrians alike even missed you for the few months you were away as far as public view is concerned.
Remember this biblical aphorism: “Because sentence against evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of sons of men is fully set in them to commit evil.” As the September 19, 2016 Editorial of the Daily Observer mentioned, Liberians blame the President for every bad thing since she is the head of government. Officials, too, take advantage of citizens’ perceptions about government and perform poorly because the blame will be on the President at the end of the day.
In this dilemma, the President needs honest and committed people who will help her to deliver to the expectations of Liberians. She needs people who will build the people’s trust, especially in the security sector.
As Liberians wonder about security of the country without the active involvement of UNMIL, it is our ardent hope, Col. Kromah, that you and your new boss will properly manage the Liberia National Police (LNP) to perform to expectations to ensure a successful transition in 2018. Regardless of stereotypical statements some contumacious (stubbornly disobedient; rebellious) and ignorant elements in the society may make, convince the public that you mean business and are determined to work for your country.
The prosperous and wise King Solomon made this proverbial statement: “Hope deferred maketh the soul sick, but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” Restore our hope and trust in the police, prove your detractors wrong and build confidence in your boss who has appointed you. All the worst will be said of you, but the good record you set will speak for you and your role will be remembered. Be consistent in principle and work habit like Mary Broh. Welcome on board again, Abe!!!
About the author: Joaquin Sendolo is a reporter for the Daily Observer and senior student of Mass Communication at the University of Liberia. Contact: 0886 838535/0777 463853 [email protected]