Boakai’s Press Secretary Vows to Connect Him with the People

MONROVIA: Though her appointment came to many as a surprise, the newly appointed Press Secretary to the President, Ms. Kula Fofana, has begun her job on a high note by setting up a work plan which she said is to not only elevate the image of the presidency through a robust media engagement but also to connect President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to the Liberian people who generously handed him their mandate to lead the country in the next six years.

Miss Fofana, a staunched member of the Unity Party made the assertion last weekend when she appeared on the Spoon TV Network to bear her mind on her new assignment as Press Secretary to the President, a position that has over the years seen it going through changing roles according to each dispensation.

She said she is bringing to the table her own skillsets to manage the information gathering and dissemination mechanism of the presidency that is unique to the emerging trends of bringing respectability to the highest office in the land as well as bringing to par the Liberian presidency to any international standard.

“Our office will be the gateway between the presidency and the public and our goal is not to always be on the defense but to inform the public on what the presidency is about and what the president is doing and whatever we intend to do to deliver the dividend of democracy our people deserve,” she said.

She said President Boakai will not be a lay-back leader who will cut off from the people but will engage the people through various channels and that her team is putting together strategies, one being “to have the president speak to the people in a way that his message will resonate with them”.

She said her method will not be the usual conventional way of how others before her.

“We are open to different suggestions where we will make sure to get, most importantly to connect the Liberian people to their president,” she said. “We are aware this government is going to be scrutinized and we are also aware of how the social media has come to play a major role in communication and information sharing mechanism but it is our own to be up to the task and “do everything possible to ensure that the president’s communication team is up to the point.”

She said it is not in her thought to compare with what others before her have been doing as Press Secretary to the President but she has decided to find a way to make the President accessible to the people against the background that he was elected by popular votes and the citizens need not to be cut off from the president and the cause he represents.

“I am not into comparing what others did before me in this position but my intent is to connect the Presidency with the Liberian people because most times during campaigns it is easier for the community, the people to connect since of course it is campaign time so they have access to the people and people will answer their calls, among others but then when election is over and the government is being set up it becomes challenging gaining access.

“We know definitely the President will be busy but it is for me as press secretary, my style of leadership is different. My ability to navigate between different worlds, so for example, VIPs, media executives, our international partners and what have you and to transition to the local people, the community, regular people, so I will be looking forward to seeing how I can fit in with everybody, to coordinating and of course bring the Liberian presidency to the respectability par international standard. For example if you see communication from the White House, how it is handled and how people see it and so for us we see it from the angle of respectability because it is our presidency in terms of information sharing”, she said.

Responding to a question on the preparation and readiness of President Boakai to deliver his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA)and what the Liberian people should expect from him, Miss Fofana said everything so far is in order and the President is upbeat towards the most important national assignment post inauguration today.

She said having learnt from the lapses during the inauguration, everything is put in high gear to ensure that the SONA event will be one of the best, if not the best organized national engagement “because all hands are on deck, from the national legislature, the protocol from the presidency, the security, the logistics and everything you think that must fall in line to have a successful program”

She said as an insight of what the President will speak on, there will be a keen review of the present state of affairs of the country as he inherited on January 22, 2024 when he was inaugurated and the perspective of where he intends to take the country based on the promises he made and the vow he made to salvage the country.

“He will be proffering some bills, key being on accountability and in this accountability, he is going to emphasize on audit and those promises he made, those ones he talked about during the inauguration, not new promises, but he is going to be specific, and that is why we talk about legislative agenda.

“It was not just what he said on the inauguration day but the president, then a candidate spoke specifically about the need for accountability looking at war and economic crime and it has not been about targeting any individual,” she said.

Speaking on the need for the possibility of setting up the War and Economic Crimes Court, Ms Fofana said President Boakai’s idea about reconciliation and the War and Economic Crimes Court was part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) because it was a broad idea or process for Liberians to account for the things that happened in the past.

“So, President Boakai’s idea is to know where we are with the conversation, it was not about targeting individuals. The TRC talked about reconciliation, memorialization, a lot of others that we have not been able to do as a country, clearly some human rights organization have tried to do something around the process. So for the broad process of the TRC including the aspect of accountability, closure, the government is serious about it and has a way to systemically deal with the situation”

She discounted the nation that she was new to the task of managing information sharing for such a big office of the President, asserting that her upbringing in advocacy and involvement in public service where she served as an Assistant Minister and one of the leaders of the Unity Party especially having contested both for the senate and the house of representatives in Grand Cape Mount provided her enough preparation and readiness to perform and emphasized that she does not intend to bring all sorts of distraction to her task ahead, adding, “my task is just as good as connecting the President of the Republic of Liberia to the people.

“Again you do not want to take the president from away the people that elected him. So my team is presently working hard now how to ensure that the president connects with everybody for example you can have the president meeting Biden and the same president still connecting with Ma Kebeh, Ma kemah and the ordinary person there. The presidency should not be a barrier to the people that elected him”, she concluded.

Kula Fofana Profile

Kula Fofana is Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at David A. Straz Technical and Vocational College of the University of Liberia and a student of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law. She currently serves as the President of People’s Foundation Africa (PFA), an organization working for marginalized and hard-to-reach communities in Liberia and across Africa.

Before co-founding the PFA, she served the Liberian government as Assistant Minister for Youth Development, Co-Chaired Liberia’s Vision 2030, and headed the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) Adolescent Girls Division. She has also consulted with several agencies of the United Nations including UNFPA and UN-Habitat, among others. For many years she worked in civil society organizations on issues related to young women and girls, youth, and vulnerable populations. Kula was a 2019 Senatorial Candidate for Grand Cape Mount County Senatorial By-Election in Western Liberia.

She holds a Graduate Certificate in International Affairs from American University in Washington, D.C. and a BA in Mass Communications, graduating cum-laude from the African Methodist Episcopal University in Liberia.

Kula is an activist with interests in social and transitional justice, diversity, and feminism. She is also a farmer.

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