Martin Falon Kerkula, former representative of Salala District in Lower Bong County, has died, according to news reaching the Daily Observer. He was 54.
Kerkula died on Christmas Eve, after a protracted illness since 2013. His remains were deposited at the Abraham Roberts Funeral Home in Monrovia.
According to family sources, he will be laid to rest in Salala, Bong County on Saturday, January 14.
Described by friends as “influential, friendly and a role model,” Kerkula was a journalist, politician and a dependable civil society actor. He was a founding member of the Salala, Sanoyea and Fuamah Districts Development Solidarity (SASAFU).
He was born on October 24, 1962, in Nayanforquelleh Chiefdom, Salala District, Lower Bong County. He started his primary and elementary education at the Tearsley Mission in the district from 1972 to 1977 when he left for further education in Monrovia.
He graduated from St. Augustine’s Episcopal Mission High School in Kakata, Margibi County in 1985.
He held a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree in Mass Communication from the University of Liberia. He additionally received several other certificates in disciplines such as media studies and the Extractive Industries.
Kerkula’s career as a journalist started in January 1986, shortly after high school. He worked for several media institutions including the Daily Observer newspaper as a reporter up to 1997.
He was elected to the National Transitional Legislative Assembly (NTLA) in 2003, representing Salala district. At the NTLA, he served on several committees among them, Co-chairman Maritime Affairs; Co-chairman Bong County Legislative Caucus; Chairman, Information and Broadcasting Committee; member, Committee on Planning and Economic Affairs.
Kerkula was vocal on critical national issues, despite the fact that he was a member of the then ousted National Patriotic Party. He introduced the “Intellectual Property Act,” an Act setting aside African Writers’ Day as a working holiday; an Act to establish the Liberia News Agency (LINA) as an autonomous agency (vetoed by the Head of State, overridden by the House, but the Senate did not concur) and many other national initiatives.
At the county level, Kerkula served as both chairman and co-chairman of the Bong Legislative Caucus, and was involved in several county initiatives including interventions in resolving problems and conflicts in the county.
In Salala District, he was seriously engaged in several developmental projects, including the construction of schools, clinics, a radio station, and the distribution of school supplies to all the schools.
In May 2008, he launched the Kwageh Community Development Program (KCDP) and Radio Kwageh 92.4 FM. KCDP is a local NGO that is involved in several developmental projects, the cultivation of 18 acres of cassava in Lomata.
Kerkula was a member of the Upper Room United Pentecostal Church in Sinkor, Monrovia.
He leaves to mourn his loss, his widow, Cecelia Damawah and three children.