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

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid