“Prof.” Alhaji G. V. Kromah Misses the Mark Again


By Theodore T. Hodge


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
February 6, 2006


It is becoming increasingly disturbing to read some of the comments made about the new administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, still in its formative stages. One of such perturbing comments comes from Prof.” Alhaji G. V. Kromah, one of the many failed presidential candidates in the last general elections. According to an article reported by J. Cholo Brooks, Kromah purportedly calls appointments made by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf “discriminatory”. According to Mr. Kromah, “Only members of the Christian community have been awarded positions in the government, leaving out what he calls ‘Muslims’”, writes Mr. Brooks.

Mr. Kromah calls for a “balanced ‘political environment’ where all Liberians, irrespective of their religious affiliation, are represented.” Unfortunately, the only criterion that seemingly matters to Mr. Kromah in this so-called “balanced political environment” is religious affiliation. It is unfortunate because President Sirleaf has made it clear that the criteria for appointments will be based on “competence, qualification and character” --- asking no one how they prefer to pray. I agree with the president, although it is prudent to have a government based on inclusion, Liberia is a secular state, and it should remain that way. Mr. Kromah’s demand for official appointment based on religious affiliation could be a recipe for disaster for a country still trying to find its grip after years of instability.

Mr. Kromah needs to be reminded that our system calls for “winners take all”. What this means is when a general election is held in Liberia, as was the case recently, the winner of the election (i.e. Mrs. Sirleaf), has no responsibility to consult the also-rans, such as Kromah, for major policy decisions. Mrs. Sirleaf won the election by winning the majority popular vote, giving her a mandate to form a government as she sees fit; the people gave her that absolute mandate, they did not intend to apportion the mandate among the many candidates.

Maybe Prof. Kromah is under the illusion that Liberia’s electoral system is based on proportional representation; it is not. In brief, here is a definition of proportion representation: “representation of all parties in proportion to their popular vote”. It is a legitimate electoral system that works well in many principal countries of Europe and Israel, for example. But while many have alluded to it as an alternative political form, the arguments have no constitutional basis in Liberia. For example, many of George Weah’s supporters placed themselves under the same illusion claiming that since he went toe-to-toe with Mrs. Sirleaf and won a substantial proportion of the votes cast, he should be a key player in policy decision making. Nothing could be further than the truth. And if that is the case for George Weah, where does that leave Prof. Alhaji Kromah who barely managed to win close to 3% of the popular vote? The answer is: Back to the drawing board. Prof. Kromah is in no position to be dictating how a new government is formed. Making such inflaming remarks about President Sirleaf is counter-productive and outright irresponsible. Such inflammatory comments could even become dangerous if taken literally by some unsophisticated partisans.

By the way, won’t it a be a matter of political suicide for President Sirleaf to allow Mr. Kromah to dictate substantial policy measures based on his religious beliefs? Didn’t Mr. Kromah refuse to vote for Mrs. Sirleaf (in keeping with his Islamic beliefs) simply because she’s a woman and Islam does not allow female leaders? What would happen if President Sirleaf were to appoint a significant number of Muslims to her cabinet? What if these officials turned out to hold the same strict, orthodox interpretation of the Qu’ran as does Mr. Kromah? Couldn’t this lead to a disaster? Wouldn’t President Sirleaf be undermining herself politically?

My stance here should not be interpreted to mean that I have a preference for a Christian government; I’m not advocating a religious conflict. I have done some intensive research and know where Islam stands on the issue of female leadership and I have done similar research to convince me that the Bible is no better. If we were to take the literal interpretations of these books of God and apply them strictly, women would fare very poorly in our society. Neither the Bible nor the Qu’ran is fair to the fairer sex; as a matter of fact, they are staunchly hostile to their rights. Women are generally regarded as inferiors. (Many books, chapters and verses support this assertion). I’m philosophically opposed to such teachings and belief systems, which is why I advocate secularity. It is our best hope, especially at this stage of our development.

I do not ignore the fact that as a citizen and a leader among a certain segment, Mr. Kromah does have the right to negotiate with the new government. However, to suggest that inclusion be religious-based is what I object to. No one’s entry into government should be based on his or her religious affiliation. People who consider themselves religious leaders should find their local churches and mosques and other places of worship to present their credentials of leadership. They will serve themselves and their adherents more productively instead of imposing their peculiar religious persuasions on the rest of us who may be non-believers or simply prefer to exercise neutrality on the national stage.

I hope this article is read clearly and understood. My only purpose is to interject my personal opinion on a topic that may become a national dialogue sooner or later. I do welcome and respect alternative views.