Liberia: Press Secretary Fofana’s “Provocative Post” over Scramble for Jobs Angers Many

Ms. Kula Fofana

As Gbarpolu Senator Konneh raises issue of biased appointments.

influential Gbarpolu County Senator Amara M. Konneh, and presidential press secretary Kula Fofana seem to be involved in some not-too-ideal exchanges at a time when the new Unity Party government takes shape and as the scramble for jobs and the fight for political influence continue.

Senator Konneh, like many other partisans and supporters of the new regime, sees the ongoing presidential nominations, a total of 56 nominations so far, as not being inclusive and does not show geographical balance or representation. Many also complained that the nominations have favored Diaspora Liberians over their local brethren, many of whom were in the trenches to ensure victory for the party in the 2023 presidential election.

In an apparent response to the show of dissatisfaction by UP members and supporters, Presidential Secretary Fofana took to social media (Facebook) and made a post that some have described as ‘provocative’ and a show of sheer arrogance.

On Sunday, February 4, 2024, by about 8:57am, the Presidential Press Secretary wrote on her personal Facebook page: “Children run behind the chicken for the legs when cooked.”

Madam Kula V. Fofana added to her post: “Vai Proverb. Please ask your Vai uncle to interpret....”

Many who responded to her post described it as provocative and warned that her remarks did not represent the change the Liberians were yearning for.

“This is very unfair to your colleagues who fight to have the UP reach this far. Your post is an insult to their sacrifices,” said James Karmoh in a comment under Fofana’s post.

“You cannot say this to your fellow young people. This is disrespectful. You should keep mute than add insults to their injuries. You were appointed, but that does not mean that you are better than them,” Ellen Kerkula noted.

Another commenter, Philip Kpakpar, noted: “You might have been nominated today, but that does not mean you sacrifice more than others who are being overlooked today. You should be in prayers with your friends, but you are careless because of the high level of arrogance among us young people these days.

After receiving backlash, she took down the post two hours later and clarified that it was meant to support the people who struggled for the revolution. “So because people misunderstood the post, I have taken it down. But if you are from Cape Mount, the chicken analogy is in support of the people who struggled for the revolution. This analogy is usually used during our political process. Have a beautiful Sunday,” she said in a subsequent post.

Just as Fofana deleted her “provocative post” and made the clarification, Senator Konneh expressed disappointment in the appointments, stating that the nominations seemed to lack geographical balance and excluded several counties. He highlighted that out of the 15 cabinet ministers appointed so far, only one is a Muslim, and the Southeast region, with six counties, received only one ministerial appointment.

“President Joseph Boakai has appointed 15 ministers to head ministries, including 2 (two) Ministers of state without portfolios. Lofa has 5 (29.4%), Bong has 4 (23.5%), Bassa, Bomi, and Nimba have 2 each (35.3%), while Cape Mount and Sinoe have one each (11.7%),” Senator Konneh wrote.

“Lofa — Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of State without Portfolio; Bong — Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of State without Portfolio and Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection; Bomi — Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and Ministry of Transport; Grand Bassa — Ministry of Health and Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism; Nimba — Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Defense; Sinoe — Ministry of State; and Grand Cape Mount — Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” 

The Gbarpolu County Senator indicated that 15 of 18 cabinet ministers (83.3% of cabinet positions) appointed from 7 out of 15 counties (46.6% of counties). 

With 3 Cabinet Ministerial appointments remaining (Mines and Energy, Labor and Post and Telecommunications), 8 counties (Gbarpolu, Montserrado, Margibi, Grand Kru, Rivercess, Grand Gedeh, Maryland, and Rivergee) are without Ministerial posts.” 

“He (President Boakai) won Gbarpolu and Margibi in both rounds of the elections, and Montserrado in the runoff. The President promised a minister from each county. Clearly, this promise will not be fulfilled,” Sen. Konneh lamented. 

“Of the 15 Cabinet ministers appointed so far, there is only one Muslim, Mamaka Bility. The Southeast, which has six counties (Grand Gedeh, Sinoe, Maryland, Grand Kru, River Gee, and Rivercess), has received only one ministerial appointment. Five counties (Lofa, Bong, Bassa, Nimba, and Bomi) account for 88.2% of all cabinet appointments so far.” 

He added: “Those of us who supported President Boakai must remind him of his promises quietly and publicly when it becomes necessary to help him deliver the promises he made when he campaigned for president. Change means change!”