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Liberia: New Information Minister Outlines Plans

Earlier this month, Liberia’s information minister Johnny McClain resigned, citing the lack of material and financial support for his department. Now the new minister of information, the Reverend Lawrence Bropleh, has been talking about his plans to move the department forward. First, Bropleh says he’s happy to be chosen as Liberia’s minister of information.

“I feel a degree of humility. Yet there is this feeling of compassion that comes within my being because each and every Liberian should respond to the call to come and help rebuild our country after all these years of civil strive,” he said.

Bropleh said he has already begun the process of restructuring the information ministry to meet the communication needs of the country.

“First, what we are trying to do, James, is to reassess our own capacity within the ministry. And so we want to first do a bit of revisioning, restructuring within the ministry to identify our strength and where we are. Second, we know that information sharing is extremely pivotal to any government survival. This is what I’m trying to call the reconnection of our country through information dissemination,” he said.

Bropleh said the Liberian government will build information sharing technology centers around the country through which local government officials and their constituents would communicate with the central government in the capital, Monrovia, and vice versa.

“Secondly, we want to improve our Liberia rural communication network. And so we want to be able to reach throughout the length and breath of our country so that people are informed about what the government has done, what the government is doing, and what the government intends to do all in the interest of the Liberian people,” he said.

Bropleh, who is an ordained minister of the Gospel, said there would be no conflict between being a minister of God and the government’s chief spokesman.

“I always say that the Church must not acquiesce to the standards of society. Rather the society must acquiesce to the standards of the Church. As a minister of the Gospel, I will not find myself compromising my value system. We must bring a certain sense of integrity and morality to the positions that we find ourselves serving. The moment I feel that my value system is being compromise, James, I will have a discussion with the president to seek another avenue,” he said.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has recently expressed her dissatisfaction with some members of the Liberian media. But Bropleh said he has already begun to build a friendly working relationship with the local media.

"Our president does not desire to have a fight with the media. I also want you to know that I have taken the initiative of building the bridge between the media and the government. I’ve already met with the president-elect of the Press Union of Liberia who has promised to continue to work with us. The government values the independent press, and we have no desire to stifle the press,” Bropleh said.

He said the ministry of information is not unique to have a puny budget, especially for a country coming out of war. But Bropleh said he is convinced President Sirleaf will support the ministry of information because of her belief that information dissemination is pivotal in moving Liberia forward.

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