MONROVIA – The upsurge of calls for women participation in politics and leadership at all strata of governance, especially at the highest level has once again come to the fore, with Africa’s first female president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf heaping plaudits on the public declaration of Madam Bendu A. Kromah who has announced her intent to contest the presidency as an independent candidate in the ensuing October 10, 2023 general elections. Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf herself broke the ceiling on African politics in 20025 when she emerged as the first female democratically elected president in Liberia and on the African continent.
“It was a pleasure to meet with Liberian presidential candidate Bendu Kromah yesterday. As the only woman presidential candidate in the 2023 elections, she has a tough journey ahead of her, but I praise her courage and commitment to democracy”, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf tweeted shortly after Madam Kromah had met her to inform her and seek President Sirleaf’s counsel and support about contesting the presidency as an independent.
Madam Kromah who is taking the murky waters of Liberian politics by storm among other top contenders in the country told her audience on the LBS Bumper Show on Wednesday that she was entering the race not as any other person who intends to make the number, but a serious contender who is set to clinch power.
Introducing herself, Madam Kromah said she was born in Gbarnga City, Bong County where she grew up and attended schools, including the Cuttington University where she spent her freshman year before transferring to the University of Liberia from where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics as major and Mathematics as minor.
She also mentioned her academic journey to the United States of America where she obtained her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) and later on began her work career in the United States as a civil servant in the government of the state of California.
Madam Kromah who described herself as resourceful and results-oriented person said she has always had the inspiration to serve her country and people as a way of giving back to the society, mentioning about how she grew up in Bong County and was saved from situations that would have turned to calamities if not through the intervention of the people. She also spoke of the budding years when she served as one of the young conference workers during the Summit of Heads of Government and State of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU), where she got inspired to serve the country and humanity.
When asked how she will convince the electorate since her name seems to be strange to receive national attention, Madam Kromah said she has always been a true ambassador of the country while in the United States. Kromah said she represented Liberian organizations made up of thousands of Liberians in the USA, served as an Executive Director of the University of Liberia Alumni Association (ULAA) worldwide, which according to her put her in the position to be known by so many people.
She said she has carried out some interventions either personally or with institutions to raise funds for the poor but deserving students, raised funds for charities, contributed to communities and institutions including a clinic in Duport and a child who underwent operations at a local hospital in the country.
On what she intends to do for the country if elected, Madam Kromah said she will look at infrastructure developments like roads, rehabilitation of the disadvantaged youths otherwise called “zogoes” and invest in agriculture as well as make prudent use of the resources.
“Liberia is not poor. We have to maximize our resources, we have to do a forensic audit of our resources, we have to protect what comes from our soil and go to our concessionaires to renegotiate some of the contracts for them to increase what they have been giving us.
“We need to produce more rubber because it will increase our income, we can get a lot from rubber, tyres, gloves, etc”, she said.
She further promised to create 300,000 new jobs for the citizens especially for the young people by investing in sectors that are critical in generating employment and other opportunities, leading to creating an enabling environment where Liberians will be encouraged into businesses.
Responding to a question on her chances against other established candidates, including the incumbent President George Manneh Weah, former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai and others, Madam Kromah said she has great respect for each and every candidate in the race but her chance of winning the presidency against them was high.
“I have great respect for each and every one of those people, but at the same time, I feel I can do the best job at this stage to move us to another level. Liberia needs a whole lot of help, Liberia needs a whole of lot of push, our kids are crying, our young girls are in the streets, crying, some of them are being raped. We need to take Liberia to the next stage”, she said.
Speaking on where she could get her support to undertake some of her development projects if elected President, Madam Kromah said at the end of the war, the international community believed in former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a female, a worthy person that they could do business with, and her administration saw huge pool of funds for development, which will be replicated when she mounts the saddle of leadership.
“So, the international community is looking for another female like Bendu A. Kromah to begin to pull the money for her to start and finish all the other stuff that are lacking and slowing down”, she said.
Asked how will she rate President Weah, she said the president occupies the most exalted seat in the land and will not want to rate or criticize him but she has problem with the slowness in the execution of some of the most critical projects in the country, naming the ELWA-RIA highway which she said has become a death trap and the ELWA-Coca Cola road which has been slowing down businesses and movement of people and goods.
She said she is in support of opposition unity but frowned on the concept of a united opposition against the incumbent.
“If you are coming together to defeat one person, I am not too keen about that. I am going to be the only female contender and I am going to beat all of them. I believe I am the best aspirant right now”, she boasted.