Henry Costa: “Attractive” Attributes of Liberia’s Most “Repulsive” Talk-Show Host
Many people have asked me about my opinion on the persona of Mr. Henry Costa—Liberia’s current most popular Talk-Show Host—on his style of advocacy against bad governance by members of all three branches of the Liberian government.
The latest one came from a private security firm’s employee assigned at the United States Embassy near Monrovia on July 12, 2017. This person asked, “What do you make of the Henry Costa’s style of talking about corruption in government, most time insulting?”
This article is my response to each of these enquiries.
I will begin first with Henry’s repulsive (other meanings: disgusting, revolting, nauseating, hideous, vile, and foul) character.
My dislike for the character of Mr. Henry Costa—a political commentator (as he often says to interviewers who think he’s a journalist)—on his method of dissemination is eighty percent (80%). Below are factors of my abhorrence.
Profanities—Mr. Costa often uses disrespectful words when addressing his subject—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”.
Not providing solution to highlighted problem—Mr. Costa doesn’t tell us (members of his listening audience in radio land) how the problems he’s criticizing public officials on can be solved. All he says is the President should replace them (some successors have performed miserably than those they replaced) and we should vote them out (when it’s election time
Swindling—Mr. Costa tricks people to get money from them. Example: He took a lawyer to the grandparents of the late Shaki Kamara (the kid shot by government security in West Point during the Ebola Time) 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 of an American woman who wanted to help the 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.
The “Attractive” Attributes
My like—taking 20%—for Henry Costa is on his high intellectual capacity and output during his deliberations on the Costa Show.
Costa is loaded with information and speaks eloquently than majority of persons (Liberians) in the mainstream media of 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 pronunciation of a word used.
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’).
Henry has a certain aura—you can call it charisma—that does the following: Splits a group of his ideological opponents on a section’s defense of him (example: Mr. Abdullai Kamara-led Press Union of Liberia cracked one time on some members of the PUL leadership advocating for release of incarcerated Henry Costa for his comments against President Ellen Sirleaf’s son); makes people he insults tuned to only his show, regularly give business (advertisement) to his media entity, or call him for huge sum of money for himself.
He has a spell—probably from his intellectual brilliance—over most of top government officials (he often insults over radio) that prevents them from taking legal action against him as they to journalists who talked to them as Costa had done.
Even judges at Temple of Justice fear Costa, a judicial reporter explained to a group of fellow journalists discussing government officials’ response to Costa’s advocacy against their actions. The reporter told his colleagues:
“Somebody in a team of judicial reporters on a brief friendship meeting with a top judge at the Temple of Justice asked him why he and his colleagues often report Costa to journalists on insulting judges, instead of taking legal action against him.
The judge replied, ‘Whenever a top judge wants to take legal action against Costa for insulting him or her, President Sirleaf would say to the judge, don’t do that now, so that journalists won’t say you’re stepping on Costa’s rights to free speech.’”
This guy—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’.
Like me, you dislike popular Talk-Show host Henry Costa on other factors. But you should also say his good attributes, too.
Who is bad in entirety? Or who is wholly good?
About the Author:
Samuel G. Dweh, a journalist, fiction writer and author, is an indigene of the Wedabo tribe of Grand Kru County of Liberia, and a member of Liberia’s two writers’ groups—Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and the Liberia Association of Writers (LAW). He can be reached via: (+231) 886-618-906/776-583-266; [email protected])