News / Africa

Liberian Talk Show Host Calls for President’s Resignation

Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf arrives for a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Nigeria's capital Abuja, February 16, 2012.
Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf arrives for a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Nigeria's capital Abuja, February 16, 2012.
James Butty
The hosts of a popular Liberian radio talk show have called for the resignation of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. 

They say she has failed to protect the country’s natural resources resulting in pillaging by investors.  

The management of Hot-FM took “The Costa Show” off the air to review what it called “the content and formats of the show.”  

A report last year by Global Witness found that Private Use Permits (PUPs) had proliferated and used by companies to get logging concessions without paying the same kind of taxes and following the same rules regarding timber sales contracts.  

The PUPs are deeded property belonging to individuals that are granted to private operators for logging operations.  

Sirleaf suspended the director of the Forestry Development Authority and set up a blue ribbon panel to look into the alleged abuses.  

Co-host Henry Costa said President Sirleaf was negligent in the management of Liberia’s forest resources.

“This flagrant and national security issue that has to do with the violation of the Private Use Permits was grossly abused, and government officials, including the Board of the Forestry Development Authority and the Minister of Agriculture who sits on the Board as chairman, violated the PUP, and 24 percent of the country’s total landmass was given out to these companies under fraudulent circumstances,” he said.

Butty interview with Costa
Butty interview with Costai
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Costa said Sirleaf should have fired Agriculture Minister Florence Chenoweth instead of suspending her over the alleged PUP debacle.

“For example, the minister of agriculture, who approved these PUPs, was suspended as chairman of the board of FDA, but not as minister of agriculture. This, in my opinion, it is a legitimate basis for the president’s resignation,” Costa said.

Last year, Sirleaf suspended the director of the Forestry Development Authority, put a moratorium on the PUPs, and set up a blue ribbon panel to look into the alleged abuses.

Costa said, while he commended the president for imposing a moratorium, a government investigation into the alleged PUP abuse was watered down.

“It was a systemic pattern, it was in line with the pattern under which the government operates where reports or commissions are set up, investigations are done, and then, when the reports are presented, nothing happens,” Costa said.

Critics said Costa cannot be trusted because he once spoke the praises of the government.  Costa said he has never been a supporter of the president.

“The position is that I have never supported the president.  I have been critical since I began the show about seven months ago.  I remain critical, but very objective.  If the government has done certain things right, I will say the government has done good things.  So, we have our detractors.  I’m not going to argue that,” Costa said.

Costa said his call for the president resign should not be seen as a call for the overthrow her, but rather it is a free speech protect by the Liberian constitution.

“If I call for the president to step down, that is a basic exercise of my democratically enshrined given right of freedom of speech which is protected and provided for under our constitution,” Costa said.

He said the president should resign because if she is allowed to stay in power for the next five years, all of Liberia’s natural resources will probably be mortgaged away to multi-national corporations.

Costa refused to criticize the management of Hot-FM for taking the show off the air, at least for the time being, except to say that the owners were threatened by government to pull the plug on the show.

“Under the circumstances, I am not inclined to lambast the management. They are my good friends. They have come under a lot of pressure, and one of the former shareholders of the station happens to be an official in the government. So, he himself was threatened. His job was the line,” Costa said.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid