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

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 M by 2015

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide 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.
Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'i
X
Scott Stearns
September 23, 2014 10:52 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video US, Gulf Allies Strike Islamic State Militants in Syria

United States forces have carried out strikes against Islamic State or ISIL militant positions in Syria - the first time Western forces have taken action on Syrian soil. Five U.S. allies from the Gulf joined the military action. Local reports suggest dozens of militants were killed. The U.S. also carried out unilateral missile strikes against a Syria-based terror group which Washington says poses an imminent threat to the West. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Used to Kill Cancer Tumor

There is a new way of killing certain cancer tumors that allows the patient to go home on the same day. Surgeons at the Keck Medical Center of the University of Southern California became the first doctors to use this procedure on a patient with the help of high intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, and new robotic technology. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in Five Countries

Hollywood stars Alicia Keys, Jennifer Garner and 30 others have voiced their support for a U.S.-backed initiative called "Let Girls Learn." The $231 million program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, is aimed at ensuring public and quality education for girls worldwide. As VOA's Mariama Diallo reports, this new program will focus on five countries in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Video

Video UN: Relocation of Bedouins in Israel Weakens Two-state Solution

Rural Bedouins living in disputed lands east of Jerusalem could soon find themselves forcibly relocated. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Jerusalem that while Israel defends the move as in the Bedouins’ best interests, the United Nations says the plan threatens the survival of the two-state solution with Palestinians.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Prolonged Drought Plagues SW Oklahoma Farmers

Parts of western Texas and southwestern Oklahoma have been in drought conditions for several years running and the deficit in rainfall has taken a heavy toll on cotton and grain production. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin says the state has suffered $2 billion in agricultural losses since 2011. There has been rain in recent weeks, but, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Altus, Oklahoma, for most farmers it has been too late.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid