10 August 2018

Liberia: Presidents Office Mum Over Reported Suspension of Press Secretary

Monrovia — The office of the Liberian presidency is being tight-lipped over speculations that President George Manneh Weah has indefinitely suspended his press secretary Mr. Sam Mannah.

The government's chief spokesman, Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe could not confirm or deny the report when contacted Thursday but emphatically said: "No comment" - that's my official response'.

Mr. Mannah has been under the radar of late and efforts to reach him over the past 24 to 48 hours have been unsuccessful. It is unclear why the Press Secretary has been suspended but multiple sources say Mr. Mannah may have been recorded boasting about his influence over the president and even writing most of the president's speeches.

Mr. Mannah posted the following message on his personal Facebook page Thursday which appears to fall in line with the speculations out there. "Just thinking out loud. Since when did a Press Secretary shoulder the responsibility of writing letters on behalf of the President to other branches of government? Big difference between press secretary and an Executive Secretary. Furthermore, there's a longstanding tradition within the executive, and that tradition has not changed."

Mr. Mannah, who was one of the first appointments of the Weah administration has been one of the President's most vocal supporters on social media, taking perceived critics of the President head on.

In a fiery statement back in June, Mr. Mannah slammed critics of the president who have been describing the still infant government as a mess. "No, Liberia is not in a mess, not even close. It's the likes of some of you out there who think you know it all; or it's either your way or no other way," the Press secretary chimed.

Mannah also came under fire after making a controversial comment against the head of the opposition

Alternative National Congress(ANC) Mr. Alexander Cummings who questioned the lack of strategy in governance by the Weah-led administration.

Throwing pointed jabs at the leader of the ANC Mr. Mannah said President Weah does not need a strategy to effectuate his robust governance plan to govern the Liberian people because he is no stranger to the plights of the people.

Serving as a guest speaker at a Rotary event recently, Mr. Cummings said though the administration is still very young, it has taken many questionable decisions that bring the CDC's ability to govern into question. He also questioned whether CDC understands the enormity of what they have taken on.

But Mr. Mannah retorted that President Weah has been providing for the needs of the ordinary Liberian people "unlike Mr. Cummings who will need a strategy because he doesn't understand the plight of the Liberian people owing to his protracted absence from the country, and as such lacks the proper understanding of the issues confronting the average Liberian."

Mr. Mannah's reported suspension leaves a void in the communications arm of the president's office with reporters covering the presidency unable to get daily or weekly update on the happenings of the president's office.

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