Liberia: Dr. Laurence Bropleh to Re-strategize Government’s Information Dissemination

Former Information Minister, Dr. Laurence K. Bropleh

Monrovia – President George Weah’s new Special Envoy and Advisor says he’s aware of the communication challenges dogging the government, while hinting the significance of a “proactive communicative style”.

Dr. Laurence K. Bropleh, who served as Minister of Information during the first tenure of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was recently appointed by President Weah in dual capacity.

While his role will mainly be advisory, he seems upbeat by the task and has told FrontPage Africa in exclusive interview how he intends to serve the government.

As an advisor to the President, he will have oversight responsibility by working with the government’s media team, helping to structure and restructure government’s messaging – making it very strategic, making sure that the intent and spirit of that message is communicated to the people, he said.

Now an Attorney-at-Law, Dr. Bropleh is also well vast in communicating government policies and agenda, evident by his standout performance in the Sirleaf’s administration.

With his new portfolio in the new administration less than a month old, he’s aware that “a lot needs to be done” to reshape the government’s public relations module.

He will be liaising with the Ministry of Information Cultural Affair and Tourism as well as the Presidential Press office to derive communication strategies.

“We know that a lot of mistakes [have been made] in terms of not collaborating, speaking none-secretively and mix-messaging – we need to change that,” the former MICAT boss said.

“We have started that process, especially with Minister Nagbe and myself – we’ve done some early interventions and I think you realize now that not too many people are just speaking off the top of their head.

“We don’t need that because this is a government that is serious about its image but also serious about what it does in the interest of the people.”

He emphasized that the government will now adopt a more “proactive communicative style”, which will focus more on “communicating the facts and not to embellish”.

“We will communicate that which will help the expectation of our people so that people understand what exactly is the current context. Messaging is extremely vital to governance and so we gonna work harder now,” he said.

Delving into the incessant rift between the media and the government, Dr. Bropleh claims that “a lot of work needs to be done” to rekindle the relationship.

“In consultation with Minister Nagbe, we gonna plan to have series of a tete-a-tete with the media. This government cannot be successful absent the media,” he emphasized.

“The media must be the watchdog but the media must also be collaborators in terms of telling the story as it is.”

Meanwhile, as special envoy, he will execute particular assignments from the President to achieve specific results in order to support the Pro-Poor Agenda.

And he says there’s a lot that is expected of him which he has already started working with Minister of State to achieve.

“Public service is the best gift one can give his if her country and I intend to do that and,” he says.

Dr. Bropleh contested the 2017 elections as an opposition in Grand Bassa County legislative elections.

With his appointment, the question is whether or not he would face resistance from partisans of the ruling party, who might be apprehensive about an opposition having the ears of the President.

But responding he says, “I hope that doesn’t happen because I will be working at the will and pleasure of the President,” while lauding President Weah for the inclusive approach.

“He’s gone outside of his political box because he knows that I am a member of the opposition but he’s reached out to me because he says I am a Liberian, who gifts and abilities can help serve the country.

“The President has the desire, I believe, to step outside politics – yes, he has the hardcore, diehard partisans but I think he also sees that he is coagulating the foundation of the governance of our country by extending the invitation to none CDCians, and I hope he goes to others.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Bropleh, who worked with the United Nations and various international organizations including ECOWAS and AU, says his role as Special Envoy will be a complementarity to the Foreign Ministry.

“That will be able to help us move some of these things forward because the nation needs a lot and a lot is riding on this presidency,” he said.

As Special Envoy, he’s also opting to tap into President Weah’s legacy as a former world soccer star to “mirror” the image of Liberia and keep it positive, adding “We need a shift in the rebranding of Liberia”.