During one of its weekly press briefings in Monrovia a few weeks ago, the Ministry of Information chose to prioritize insults and other forms of derogatory utterances against few of Liberia’s political leaders. Leading the campaign on that Thursday was the Deputy Minister for Public Affairs at the Ministry of Information, Jerilinmick Piah.
Prior to this, the Minister proper, Clteus Sieh, had initially launched similar attack on opposition politicians when he appeared on the Truth Breakfast Show of the radio and television services of the Renaissance Communications Incorporated. Perhaps it might have been the decision of the hierarchy of the Ministry of Information for Jerilinmick Pia to go ahead and do this “dirty job” after all.
And so, the Deputy Minister for Public Affairs went ahead on that “sad Thursday”, the first in the history of the Ministry of Information, to insult some of his brothers who are aspiring for the presidency of Liberia, just as the “boys who load taxi cabs in the streets of Monrovia do.”
At the center of all of these insults and derogatory utterances by officials of the Information Ministry were Professor Dew Mayson and Senator Franklin Siakor of the New Dawn Movement of Liberia, Businessman Simeon Freeman of the Movement for Progressive Change, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine of the Liberty party and George Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change.
We are of the belief that these waves of dreadful attacks on the persons of these high profile politicians needed not to go unattended, as allowing such would mean an encouragement for these Information Ministry officials to go away from their duties and functions.
We believe that deviating from propagating the various policies of the government and primarily attacking the personalities of astute and well-meaning Liberian citizens, despite their political affiliations render them inefficient and misplaced.
We are even left puzzling over the question as to whether the Ministry of Information has now been transformed into the press and propaganda arm of the ruling Unity Party. This is because sixty-five percent of what’s coming out of the Ministry of Information has to do more with the Unity Party and Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf than the Government of Liberia and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
While we do accept the fact that Mr. Cletus Sieh, Jerilinmick Pia, Isaac Jackson and other officials of the Information Ministry may all now be stalwarts of the Unity Party and might want to prove to be “more Unity Party than the late Dr. Edward Beyan Kesselly,” we also believe that their focus must be activities and utterances that are in consonance with the act creating the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
But what we are observing now is that what the Ministry of Information led by Minister Cletus Sieh should be doing in terms of its duties and functions are characterized by personal aggrandizements, profane expressions against the persons of opposition leaders and warm sentimental platitudes for the political leader of the Unity Party, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as a cover-up far to blind the President.
The Ministry of Information must be on top of all government’s development programs and projects everywhere in this country so as to be able to provide an understanding to the people of Liberia in terms of achievements, pitfalls and causes, as well as future plans and durations, other than having officials who discuss personalities as a way of purchasing sentiments on the basis of party loyalty from the President of Liberia.
Too many things in terms of development that the administration continues to initiate/undertake for Sieh and others to down play at the Ministry of Information for “meekie-mouse politics.”
Where is the New Liberia Newspaper that should be appearing on the news-stand daily? What is the status of the MICAT Half Hour? What’s wrong with the Ministry’s Mid-week Magazine Program? We need to even know about Sunday Panorama. Very little may be known about public affairs programs of the Ministry because of the deliberate lack of interest and knowledge and understanding of the impacts such make on the Liberian society on the part of those who run it.
What Cletus Sieh, Jerelinmick Piah and others are currently doing at the Information Ministry are even indicative of the inability to learn from the good examples of the young cabinet colleagues, including Amara Konneh of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs and Augustine Ngafuan of the Ministry of Finance who are being admired and cherished by many Liberians for their respective achievements.
The current officials of the Ministry of Information must be urged to place more emphasis on restoring hope to that ministry by making its various departments very effective and efficient so as to adequately tell the people of Liberia what the government is doing; what it is not doing; why it is not doing what it should be doing and why; and when does it hope to do what it couldn’t do-these must be the concentration of Sieh, Piah and their likes, other than “bad-mouthing” well-meaning and decent Liberians.
Sieh, Piah and their likes must be mindful that “what goes around comes around.”