Stakeholder Management, Resourcing Communication and Professionalism – Key to PR Practice in government entities – Dr. Patricia Litho

By Sierra Arinaitwe

As a Public Relations (PR) practitioner and trainer who has so far worked for four government organizations, Dr. Patricia Litho, the head of Communication and Information Management at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development shines a light on how to overcome some of the challenges faced by PR practitioners in government entities.

She highlights mistrust from the public due to unfulfilled promises from politicians during the election period, limited resourcing and everyone thinking they are an expert in communication as part of the challenges faced by government communications.

Dr. Patricia Litho (PHD) Head Communication at the Ministry of Energy and Minerals Development

According to Dr. Litho, government employees serve the public and in order to excel at doing their job, communicators should always use their professional skills to observe protocol/ hierarchy in the entity.

“Take time and interest to equip yourself about your organization/entity or ministry; you don’t want to be caught off guard at any point. Know your job and the structures you are supposed to follow to deliver the many things you have to deliver.

“Use your expertise to manage the people from the Ministry and the public through carrying out stakeholder engagements/ dialogues to rebuild trust between them. Always appreciate and understand that the Ministers are the ones who usually appear before the media. Our job as communications officers is to prepare them technically on how to appear before the media,” she  stated .

Dr. Litho  gave the professional  tips above during a panel discussion on “PR Practice in Government Opportunities”  at the recently concluded National Public Relations Symposium held at Hotel African.

Dr. Litho exchanging a light moment with the UPDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Felix Kulayigye

She added thus ; “As a government communicator, there are things you cannot do, just to get attention to your ministry. Know how to maneuver your way around communication. Communication requires resourcing, invest and have an appropriate budget for the communication function to deliver.”

The discussion was moderated by Charles Odongtho alongside her fellow panelists, Brig. Gen Felix Kulayigye, the UPDF spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigire, spokesperson Kampala Metropolitan and Chris Obore, Director Communications and Public Affairs at Parliament of Uganda.

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