Clarification: I’m not a propagandist for President George Manneh Weah or his Government. In fact, I’m extremely disappointed in his exhibited leadership styles (amassment of personal wealth—private jet, acquisition million-dollar duplexes; etc. when the Country is falling off the political cliff on mass poverty—protection of incompetent and corrupt political hangers-on in his government, and retention of incompetent and corrupt officials of Mrs.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Government—look toward the Ministry of Education, for example) to do any “image laundering” work for Head of State George Weah or his administration for now. My stance would baffle many of those who know my being a “kinsman” (native of Grand Kru County) to the Head of State. But I can’t compromise “patriotism” or the “principle of objectivity” for “ethnicity”. Never!
On the other hand, I felt a patriotic duty of highlighting the ‘integrity issues’ of the main Ring Leaders of a body of Liberians now mobilizing their compatriots to join them (on June 7, 2019) in a “pro-good governance” protest against what the mobilizers have described as the “bad governance” by President George Manneh Weah—or his Government.
I chose Mr. Henry Costa (pictured above), popular Talk-Show host (political commentator) as the first person on my ‘integrity issues’ list for the lead mobilizers.
COSTA’S “ATTRACTIVE ATTRIBUTES”
On being candid, I have high regards for Mr. Costa—mostly based on his high intellectual capacity and output during his deliberations on national issues via his radio program (“The Costa Show)
Costa is loaded with information (from extensive reading) and speaks eloquently than majority of persons (Liberians) on the radio in Liberia. Listen keenly to his analyses (most time quoting researches from the Internet) and pronunciations on his Show, then and you will be on my side on this. Sometimes he teaches callers (his critics) on the right pronunciations of right English words wrongly pronounced by the caller. Costa is on record for pointing out dozens of spelling errors (of English words) in the Amara Konneh-led Ministry of Finance & Development Planning’s ‘financial document’ (of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Government) already sent to an International Financial Institution to “help” Liberia.
Most of his fellow Talk-Show colleagues don’t have such deep storage of information and they lack such linguistic potency. Listen to them reading news or deliberating on a topic, and you will hear them grappling with propounding on the subjects they have chosen, and often committing ‘pronunciational crimes’. Here are two of several examples: “Skreet” (route) as if it were spelled ‘s-k-r-e-e-t’ (‘k’ in the place for ‘t’). “Tank” (appreciation) as if it were spelled t-a-n-k (meaning another word for ‘storage’).
This guy, Henry Costa—who hasn’t entered a College—is a role model for “learned” Liberians (including professors at universities) who can’t or hate reading extensively and have an academic sick called ‘linguistic deficiency’.
Henry Costa’s rugged stance of fearlessly speaking out (with flawless English) has endeared him to some persons who have ‘sensitive information’ on a particular government official or the entire political leadership and want this information leaked out to the public (especially through a Talk-Show host who communicates in Standard English) Mr. Costa is not a member of Liberia’s mainstream media community (he often says to his critics, “I’m not a journalist; I’m only a political commentator”), but he has access (more than majority of “journalists”) to sources of ‘sensitive information’ about any Government of Liberia, often released to him by a popular male Liberian ‘investigative journalist’ (a Managing Editor of a newspaper), who is a member of a syndicate of global ‘investigative journalists’ working in collaboration with Western politicians who have ‘secret information’ on African leaders or their administrations.
COSTA’S ‘INTEGRITY ISSUES’
Beside his ‘attractive attributes’ (mentioned earlier), Mr. Henry Costa has a ‘repulsive character’—linked to his obsession for money (“get-rich-quick” syndrome)
One ‘integrity issue’ with Mr. Henry Costa is Swindling. This “June 7” (2019) nationwide protest lead mobilizer is on record for tricking people to get money from them. Example: In 2015, he took a lawyer to the grandparents of the late Shaki Kamara (the kid shot by government security in slum community, West, Point during the Ebola Time—2014) to sue the government (of Madam Ellen Sirleaf) to vomit money to Shaki’s family and to get his share. His ‘legal meeting’ with Shaki’s grandparents followed his refusal to release to them a contact telephone number from an American woman who wanted to help Shaki’s family and sent the number to the family through the Costa Show. Shaki’s grandparents revealed this to me with an American journalist on a collaborative post-Ebola interview with Shaki’s grandparents in the Township of West Point on the first anniversary of Shaki’s death. Recording of that interview is available for the public.
A week later, I thought of doing a news story on the “revelation” of the deceased kid’s grandparents, went to meet Henry Costa (at his VOICE FM’s office on Ashmun Street, Monrovia), and left a note (about my mission) for him after the station’s security and staff employees told me their boss (Henry Costa) was not in the office during the time I was there, but Mr. Costa never responded to the note. I made two follow-up visits to VOICE FM on the same matter and the station’s security and staff employees told me Mr. Costa was out of the building, left a note again, but the “accused person” (Henry Costa) never responded to each follow-up note—as he did to the first one.
Another “integrity issue” with Mr. Henry Costa is use of disrespectful words (sometime brazen insults) when addressing his subject—confirmed or perceived ‘corrupt official’—even a person whose age is two or three times his age. Example: He had referred to the Head of State (Ellen Sirleaf) as a “wicked old lady”, and the Vice President (Joseph Boakai) “sleepy old man”.
I can go on, and on, and on…with examples of “integrity issues” with this planned “June 7” nationwide protest brainchild, but had to stop here due to space limitation problem in the newspaper or magazine to publish this article.
The adage says: “A person who preaches probity (integrity) should come with clean hands”.
Mr. Henry Costa has a genuine reason to put President George Manneh Weah’s feet to the fire to re-align the “tilted” economic and political Ship of our Country, but his “integrity issues” (mentioned above—especially the murdered Shaki Kamara’s matter) has weakened his “moral grounds” of advocacy.
Watch out for my next article (part II) on another planned ‘June 7’ nationwide protest ringleader.\