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

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs