Liberia: Former Information Minister Wants Eugene Nagbe Expelled from the Press Union of Liberia
Monrovia – Following the Press Union of Liberia’s (PUL) suspension of Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe’s membership from the union due to “rowdy behavior,” former Information Minister, Rev. J. Emmanuel Z. Bowier has called for a harsher punishment.
Report by Mae Azango [email protected]
Rev. Bowier, who once occupied the same position Nagbe is in many years ago, is urging the PUL leadership to take their action to another level by expelling Minister Nagbe from the Union if he does not do a written apology.
“I do not see why Minister Nagbe, who is a member of the PUL, would declare the PUL ‘useless’. I think he should be expelled from the PUL if he does not do a written apology for the record,” Rev. Bowier insisted.
Speaking at his Sinkor residence, Minister Bowier narrated how he worked at the Ministry of Information as a cadet and later became editor in chief of the New Liberian Newspaper, than Assistant Minister of Public Affairs, and Minister Counselor for Public Affairs in Washington D.C. According to him after 11 years of stay at that Ministry, before he became Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism; adding: “Not like some people, who became Ministers overnight.”
“We are trying to make the press better and somebody just comes and throws a blanket statement to discredit us. I am calling on Minister Nagbe that being a Minister does not give him the license to condemn people in such manner.”
However, before he made the call, the Union had already issued a press release in which it announced the suspension of Mr. Nagbe’s membership.
“The Leadership of the Press Union of Liberia has with immediate effect suspended the membership of Liberia’s Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe with the organization for rowdy behavior.
“The move to suspend comes after Minister Nagbe termed the PUL a useless entity during a Christmas Day talk show appearance (December 25, 2018) in Monrovia,” the PUL said in its release.
According to the former Information Minister, he feels insulted as a member of the PUL and as the head of the Liberia Media Council (LMC) and a person who has dedicated his life to media works.
Weaponizing Against the Media not the Best Way
Touching on the recent statement by Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel D. Tweah that he and Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill are teaming up to put together a team of intimidating lawyers to make sure that Rodney Sieh goes to jail, Rev Bowier advised both ministers and other officials to know that no government fights the press and survives.
“These ministers must know that when they fuss with the press and when the fuss is over and they go home, the press will tell the story the next day or the same day. Why fuss with a people who have the last say? They should know that the press always has the final say.”
According to Rev. Bowier, no government even a dictatorship form of government will need the media to relay their messages to the people. “Therefore nobody can fight the media, but everybody is trying to impress the President by doing things they have no idea of.”
“It is not good to antagonize the press especially when you are linked to the President. Befriend the press and take your case to them. There is a spirit of confusion over Liberia, because everybody wants to do something that they do not know how to do. They do not ask questions, neither do they go back to their history to know what happened and learn from it.”
How He Sees President Weah
Rev. Bowier, who some Liberians see as a “walking historian”, sees President George Weah as a good President, who wants the best for Liberia, but those around him are making him look bad.
“Why do you think the President who was a very popular football star is losing popularity so soon? It’s because those around him are making him look bad; they have dressed him like a boogieman, when children see, they will run.”
He further stated that the President’s surrounding tells him lies and heap praises on him, including that he will rule forever. “Whoever told them that those same songs were not sung to Doe and Taylor?” he asked.
Some Policy He Instituted as Information Min.
He also used the occasion to speak of some of the policy he put in place when he was Information Minister in the 1980s. According to him, he made sure as a policy when Mr. Larmini Warity, was PUL president that any and all foreign journalists visiting the country would have to be brought to him by the PUL president. “I did it as a tradition that as a visiting journalist, the PUL should be your stranger father. When you visit a village, you first go to your stranger father and he will take you to the chief’s house, but you do not just run to the chief’s house first or he will send you back to your stranger father to announce you, so was it with me and the PUL at the time.”