Too Many Messengers Killing Liberia’s ‘Pro-Poor’ Government
IT IS BECOMING increasingly unclear with each passing day, deciphering who is responsible for disseminating President George Weah government’s message.
PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTEES spend most of their work days on Facebook trumpeting the President’s every move – some times to its own detriment.
SINCE LAST week, bloggers have been trading barbs over a photograph posted on the Executive Mansion’s website depicting President Weah and his wife, Clar standing besides United States President Donald Trump.
CRITICS AND SUPPORTERS have thrown shots at each other over the authenticity of the photograph with some suggesting that the photo was doctored while others insisting that the photos were genuine.
IT IS BECOMING A regular occurrence those traveling with the President to insert themselves as official photographers and press secretaries.
TODAY, NO ONE knows for sure whether Mr. Sam Mannah is still the Press Secretary to the President. His posts in defense of the president routinely make the rounds on social media but no official statements from him is dissimenated to the media.
THE REALITY OF IT ALL is that this controversy could have actually been avoided had the President’s official photographer been the one responsible for releasing such an important moment of the President to the general public.
SADLY, THERE is no designated person tasked with the responsibility of being in charge of the president’s message and the optics associated with the presidency thereby causing serious confusion and embarrassment around President Weah.
EVEN MORE TROUBLING IS THE fact that those surrounding the President appear to lack understanding of diplomacy and media relations. A case in point is the issue regarding the President’s travel on a C-2 visa which prevented him from meeting and greeting Liberians in the Diaspora.
WHILE PRESIDENT WEAH’S peers from Ghana and Sierra Leone made were able to engage their respective countries Diaspora communities, he was not.
FRONTPAGEAFRICA HAS LEARNED that those handling the President’s travel failed to make note of all the details of his travels with the US embassy prior to leaving Liberia and only added on the engagement with Liberians in Philadelphia and Minnesota after the visa application was submitted. Thus, only the official trip to Michigan where the national guard has a long-standing relationship with the Armed Forces of Liberia, the President was allowed to visit- outside the 25-mile radius of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
TOO MANY INCONSISTENCIES are being presented from the presidency to the general public from too many people in government.
THE MINISTRY of Information has every Tom, Dick and Harry calling talk radio shows and making posts on Facebook and most times lack coherency with the information being thrown into the public domain. Instead photographs of the government’s chief spokesman, Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe taking photographs of the President presents poor optics for the public and suggest that the minister has either lost sight of his responsibilities or is simply misguided.
ANOTHER CASE in point is the recent handling of the alleged missing billions of local currency reportedly stolen from a container or the bank vault at the National Housing and Savings Bank.
VARIATIONS OF WHAT actually happened came from the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism causing serious embarrassment for the government.
EVEN MORE TROUBLING, supporters of the President have been throwing accusations around that the former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s government is responsible for the missing money.
THIS IS CERTAINLY not good for President Weah and definitely portrays a government in chaos and uncertainty.
WHEN THE GOVERNMENT is lacking a coherent message deluded in a sea of too many messengers the public will speculate with theories of its own.
THIS IS WHY it is important for those around the Presidency to speak with one voice, one clear message and a distinct sense of what is actually unfolding. Outside of this, this government risks more of the same of what we have been witnessing over the past few months – a state of uncertainty mired in a recurring theme of messages lost in translation.