Liberia: Dr. Joseph Korto, Presidential Candidate in ’05, Education Minister is Dead
Delaware – Dr. Joseph D.Z Korto, who defied the odds with a strong showing in the 2005 Presidential elections and went on to become the first Minister of Education in former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s government is dead.
Family sources confirmed to FrontPageAfrica that Dr. Korto died on Sunday, June 21st, 2020 in a Delaware Hospital.
Dr. Korto was a member of the Liberia Equal Rights Party(LERP).
Prior to the 2005 elections, Dr. Joseph Korto bolted the Liberian Action Party, citing in an open letter, “the unwillingness of the party’s (LAP) leadership to reason with me.”
Dr. Korto wrote: “My decision to withdraw from the race for Standard Bearer of the Liberia Action Party (LAP) certainly took most, if not all of you by surprise. I extend to you my heartfelt apology for the sense of disappointment this unfortunate but necessary withdrawal may have caused you. Please understand that the situation demanded a response in the manner in which I came through.”
He was born in Barpa, Nimba County and was Minister of Education in Liberia from 2006-2010. Dr. Korto was also the Executive Director of the Liberian Development Foundation, an organization founded in 1982, by the Catholic Society of African Mission to promote socio-economic and human development in Liberia.
The foundation had been dormant until Dr. Korto took over in 2001 and helped raise the organization’s profile.
He returned to Liberia in 2005, to make a run for the presidency in the first democratic elections of post-war Liberia.
In the 2005 presidential elections, he rand on the LERP, placing seventh out of 22 candidates, receiving 3.3% of the vote nationally and the highest vote total in Nimba County, his home base.
Dr. Korto went on to endorse Sirleaf in the second round of the elections against George Weah and was credited for Sirleaf’s strong second-round showing in Nimba as she went on to win the election.
Sirleaf rewarded Dr. Korto with the position of Education Minister in her Cabinet after taking office in 2006.
At a 2007 event hosted by UNICEF in New York, Dr. Korto, spoke to donors and partners about the mounting challenges facing Liberia’s children and asked for their help to rebuild the country’s education system. “No nation will make social, economic progress in the absence of a strong and productive education system,” said Ms. Korto. “As the country is recovering from many years of destructive war, there are clearly enormous challenges.”
He was also as strong advocate for a female education program in the Liberia National Police.
In 2014, Dr. Korto briefly flirted with the idea of contesting the Mid Term Senatorial elections for Nimba County on the ticket of the National Democratic Coalition.
At the time, Dr. Korto campaigned on a message of development, unity and the educational advancement of the county.
Dr. Korto has a background as a teacher and holds a doctorate in education from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.