Liberian Community Radio Station sandwiched between private company’s support and political strangulation

The Voice of Grand Kru (98.1 FM) is in the native home (Country) of Liberia’s current Head of State (George Manneh Weah), President of the Senate (Senator Albert Tugbe Chie), and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives (Representative Jonathan Fonati Koffa).

The Station was established in 2002.

Based in the Administrative enclave of the County’s capital, Barclayville, Voice of Grand Kru is a few meters from the tower of private telecommunication company, Orange, that supplies electric power for its transmission.

Supply of electric power to the station is part of the Corporate Social Responsibility of Orange—a French company.

Operations of the station are covered under the County Social Development Fund (CSDF), which is a part of Central Government’s annual budgetary allotment for development of the county.

However, the station hasn’t got its share of the CSDF for 2021’s fiscal year, which is pushing some members of the station’s staff to stay home.

“The Station is being supported by the County Development Fund. But the county hasn’t got its share from the Central Government, so the station’s staff are complaining about pay and threatening to abandon duties,” Grand Kru County’s Superintendent, Madam Doris N. Ylatun, responded to questions from this week.

There are also political issues with the station.

The county’s most powerful government officials—Senators and Representatives—sometime support the station with personal cash, dictate to ‘political programs’, and orchestrate suspension or dismissal of the Station Manager for giving permission to any program where the guest castigated the political benefactor.

During Liberia’s Presidential and House of Representatives Elections in 2017, the Manager of Voice of Grand Kru was mysteriously suspended by the County’s Superintendent a day after an out-going Representative of District #1, Hon. George Wesseh Blamoh, criticized the “divisive politics” of his Legislative colleagues—two Senators and one Representative—on a Talk Show over the Station.

Reports that circulated days later said the Superintendent acted on instruction from one of the Senators.

Majority of other Liberian Community Radio Stations are currently in the same position as Voice of Grand Kru: Electric power supplied by private telecommunication company and dictated to by top governmental politicians of the County.



Reporter: Samuel G. Dweh

[email protected]