Liberia: GoFundMe Drive Raises $20K As Popular Costa Show Returns On The Air

Popular and vocal talkshow host, Henry Pedro Costa, has now raised US$5000 more than the US$15,000 he had appealed for from Liberians

Monrovia – Talk Show host Henry Costa’s Roots FM 102.7 is back on the airwaves, just hours after armed men burglarized his station’s office and walked away with his transmitter and other broadcast equipment.

Mr. Costa wasted no time in launching a GoFundMe campaign that raised US$20,000 in less than 24 hours.

“Because there are no transmitters for sale in Liberia, we managed to borrow one from someone which we will be using to broadcast until our brand new transmitters arrive,”Mr. Costa told FrontPageAfrica Tuesday.

Costa: ‘We Will Never Be Silenced’

“My message to our detractors is that we will never be silenced by their spineless attacks. We shall keep pressing on for a better Liberia through our advocacy,” said Mr. Costa

Mr. Costa said Tuesday that the contributions has now enabled him to purchased two new transmitters which will expand the station’s outreached in rural Liberia.

The highly-rated Henry Costa Morning Show has been a thorn in the side of the George Weah-led government, unearthing and publishing a number of shady concession agreements that has rocked the administration.

Two weeks ago, the station was attacked by armed men who cut the transmitter cables.

On Monday, February 11, at about 3am, the armed men returned and successfully broke into the station’s office and made away with all the broadcast equipment.

Mr. Costa has expressed dismay at the government’s inability to take action. “The government did nothing the last time. In fact, they are the ones that sent these people to attack us. The first attack happened a day after we exposed the shady deal to bring in 300 fishing boats from Senegal to deplete our fish stocks as they did theirs.  We will not stop talking. They cannot win. So I am hereby requesting your generous contribution to help us come back on air to keep fighting for a better Liberia for us all!.”

Investigation Commissioned, Govt. Says

Both the government and the ruling CDC have rejected suggestions that they had a role to play in the attacks on Roots FM.

On Monday, the government’s chief spokesman, Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe, said in a statement that the government is aware and an investigation into the incident has been commissioned.

The minister is urging the public – particularly members of the press – to remain calm as every effort is brought to bear In order to bring the culprits to justice.  “The government reiterates its commitment to free speech and freedom of the press, which President George M. Weah again affirmed during his meeting in December with media managers. This disturbing act, which comes on the heels of the historic passage by the Liberian Senate of the K. Abdullai Kamara’s bill to decriminalize speech offenses, has no place in the new Liberia. The station’s license was only recently renewed by the authorities, after it was suspended by the previous administration, with a commitment to create a secured environment for it and all others to operate.  Hence, it’s disconcerting that some will opt to blemish the government’s democratic credentials by prematurely drawing attribution to it.”

Mr. Mulbah Morlu, chair of the ruling CDC has meanwhile frowned on allegations of ‘Vandalism against Roots FM 102.7’ and added his voice in condemning the act while urging the Ministry of Justice to properly investigate the incident. 

Nevertheless, he said, the CDC believes members of the opposition who may be pointing accusing fingers at government in the absence of a credible investigation, are sustaining the widely-held suspicion of Machiavellian tactics, allegedly deployed to dent the distinguished free-press credential of the CDC-led government.

“In view of the proliferated spew of vitriol, insults, lies and disinformation campaign against government and its people, we wouldn’t be surprised should it be established that these narratives may be an extension of our detractors continuous efforts to besmear the distinctive democratic reputation of the CDC-led government. Irrespective of the escalation of hate-speeches and violent rhetorics being unapologetically espoused by supporters and leaders of some opposition political parties, our commitment to upholding the fundamental doctrine of free speech and unrestrained tolerance, remains unconditional, unflinching and persistent.”

Supporters Glad to Chip In

On Tuesday, several of the show’s supporters expressed disgust at the attack on his station and delight in coming to the aid of the show during this difficult time. “We will donate our last cent to get Root FM back on the air. The child who says his mother will not sleep should also get prepared to stay awake,” Isaac Witherspone, a contributed noted on the GoFundMe page.

Samuel, another contributor said the fundraiser is an an eye opener that Liberians are fed up with this deliberate attempt to clamp down on voices that are exposing government’s corrupt deeds. “Your attack on critical voices signifies you’ve got skeleton in your closets meant to defraud the Liberian people.”

 Anthony Nebo said his decision to contribute was in recognition of Mr. Costa’s unearthing a lot of dirt on the government. “I am among the few good Liberians who mean well for mama Liberia and all Liberians. I support a media like Roots FM and host Henry Costa for exposing the ills in our country affecting the common citizens.”

Michael Slewion added: “I will support any cause that will lift Liberia out of darkness. We cannot revert to the bad past that has kept Liberia in poverty.”