First, let me say this: I think Amie Bojang-Sissoho is doing a fine job as President Barrow’s press secretary. Here is a woman whose job it is to present the president’s positions in a way that helps him move his agenda. And that’s just what she’s doing.
The work of a press secretary has always been either assertive or reactive depending on the circumstance. Her work is assertive when she puts out a press release on the goings on. The press release could be an announcement on a development, a program or simply an activity that’s up for media coverage. It’s reactive when she’s responding to questions from journalists. It’s a balancing act all together.
I have to indicate that a press secretary isn’t a magician. Just as she can’t do anything about a bad decision so also she can’t turn black into white. A press secretary can’t turn a lie into a truth. A press secretary can’t create an image of honesty if there isn’t any honesty. And a press secretary can’t portray transparency when there’s no transparency.
Amie Bojang isn’t my friend. In fact we haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye. But I don’t need to do much to know that the job she does is sometimes stressful. It’s stressful because it isn’t just about disseminating information. Amie is the link between the president and the people. She is the translator of information from the president to the people. As such, it’s in Amie’s place to know what’s coming her way. She also should hear what is on the street and translate it back to the president.
I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that it’s been a very bad week for President Barrow. He’s been stripped naked for bribing some National Assembly members. At least that’s what one National Assembly Member claimed. And we’ve since seen the act boomerang in flames of hellish vitriol and scorn.
The act is disgraceful so to speak. It doesn’t just sound right for a president to be calling people who are supposed to check his excesses and be giving them money. There is nothing that can justify such a thing no matter how much you try to make it look well-meant. And so the President deserves all the criticism that has since rained down on his head.
Amie has been found in it all. First it was her press release. In it she admitted the President gave out money to some National Assembly Members but rejected any claim that it was an act of corruption. If I think the press release was good enough? No.
And then her subsequent interviews. First it was Kebba Camara. And then Sarjo Barrow and then Kerr Fatu. I can’t say anything about her Kebba Camara and Sarjo Barrow interviews as I didn’t listen to them. How about Kerr Fatou one? Yes. There, she launched a full-force defence of the act – just as in the press release. The interviewer Fatou Touray, I must say did a good job by not fawning over her as most journalists would nowadays do.
Of course I know Amie likes to remind us she’s an activist. Not a time has passed when she didn’t flex her verbal now press secretary muscles to reinforce that view of hers. She reminded us that during the Kerr Fatou interview. She even cried, all well and good.
Meanwhile, in this era of increasingly hysterical Barrow-bashing fervor, Amie has a lot on her plate than she might have originally thought. I’m saying this because just every time you think you’ve seen it all when it comes to State House, something happens to snap your eyelids back with stunned bemusement. There appears no end in sight.
Lamin Njie is a former press secretary at the ministry of the interior. He has also worked as an editor for The Standard, The Voice and Paradise TV. You can reach him via email at [email protected]