Former Education Minister, Joseph Korto, Is Dead

Former Minister Korto: Over 200 comments on Facebook have expressed condolences

Dr. Joseph D.Z. Korto, former Minister of Education, is dead.  News about the demise of Dr. Korto began trending on social media on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.  He served as Minister of Education from 2006 to 2010 during the first term of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

A prominent Liberian hailing from Nimba County, Dr. Korto’s death on the social media page of Nimba Future Generation has sparked expressions of grief among his compatriots and kinsmen.

Although the cause of death of the former Minister has not been established, reliable sources in Nimba told the Daily Observer that Dr. Korto has been very ill for about two years now.  He died in the United States where he was taken for medication.

Brief background:

Dr. Joseph D.Z. Korto was born in Barpa, Sanniquellie District, Nimba County in 1949.  His education is traced much to the Catholic School System. He attended the St. Mary’s Catholic School in Sanniquellie where he completed his senior secondary education and then enrolled at the University of Liberia where he earned his first degree.

He traveled to the United States of America where he attended the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and earned his graduate and doctorate degrees.

Prior to leaving for the United States for graduate studies before the Liberian civil war, Korto served as County Education Officer for his county of origin, Nimba, where many people testify that he was one of the efficient persons to serve in that capacity.

Dr. Korto later became a politician and, in Liberia’s first post-war presidential election of 2005, he ran as standard bearer of the Liberia Equal Right Party (LERP) and earned 3.3% of the vote among 22 candidates.  Having lost the first round of the election, he immediately endorsed the candidacy of Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf against her opponent George Weah in the runoff election. Upon Madam Sirleaf’s victory, she reciprocated by naming him Minister of Education.

After four years of service under Madam Sirleaf, Dr. Korto was replaced by Dr. E. Othello Gongar.

Dr. Korto also contested the 2014 senatorial election in Nimba County, but he and the rest of the candidates lost to incumbent senator Prince Johnson. Since his last unsuccessful attempt at running for electoral office in 2014, Dr. Joseph D.Z. Korto has remained in private life up to his death.


  1. Life expectancy in Liberia is dangerously low because of the poor healthcare system. And by the time you go abroad for treatment, it’s too late. We’ve seen this movie many times over and nothing seems to change. Living in Liberia is like gambling with your life because you’re living on the hope you don’t get sick. In fact by the time you start seeing symptoms it may be too late. The dumb politicians and government officials only care about getting rich by stealing government funds. They could care less about healthcare to preserve their own lives. What a bunch of stupid people.

  2. James,

    I concur with you on almost every point you’ve made above.

    On the issue of healthcare, the politicians don’t give a hoot for themselves as well as for every living Liberian. For instance, when a Liberian politician gets sick, she or he prefers to travel to Ghana for treatment. In their empty head boxes, they think what they do is smart. Not so. By traveling to another developing country like Ghana for medical treatment, a Liberian politician exposes himself or herself as a bozo. And yes, Liberian politicians carry the burden of ignorance around their necks.

    Ghana vs Liberia:
    My argument is simple. I do believe that if the Ghanaians can do it, we the people of Liberia can do it as well. If a Ghanaian can study Medicine, Economics, Math, Physics or just about anything (less theft abroad), we Liberians can do it. But because of extreme arrogance, the egregious Liberian politicians will keep their mouths shut and pretend there’s nothing to worry about.

    Throughout her presidency, I didn’t hear whether her government (y’all know who I am talking about) awarded scholarships to Liberians to study abroad. It’s a travesty. The politicians earn $15-16,000 every month, but no one bothers to talk about scholarships for the most gifted among us.

    Just kill a cow, invite them and some young girls and boys to your house. They’ll come running like soccer stars without their spouses! Don’t be surprised when the cow bones are broken up in their mouths with their giant teeth. Furthermore, they will swim over those little girls and boys as a way of lowering their blood pressure. That to them is enjoyment.

    We’ve got ways to go!

  3. James et all,
    The good health system are the proper trained doctors who are almost zero in Liberia since 1822.
    Liberian in general do not want to study anything difficult?
    Ghanian, Nigerian and others should study for 25+ years and come to Liberia to serve us?
    1. Liberian want good roads but do not want to study engineering?
    2. Liberian want good hospitals but do not want to become doctors, etc?
    3. Liberian want clean drinking water but do not want to become chemist, etc?
    4. Where are all the Liberian student from Ricks, CWA, LTI, MCSS, the County high schools from the 1970s?
    5. Why should any Liberian, illiterate or literate ever opt for “Da book we le eat?”, after atleast 150 years of missionary work.
    It is true many will die from sicknesses like liver cancel, etc (drinking water). Many of the waters bottled are not clean for drinking. They are largely using sewage water to cook?
    My brother died from Liver cancel including all of the LU student I new in the 1980s. They are all dead; no joke. The drinking water is right in Jallahtown and the sewage is running down the hill from LU. The toilet holes are everywhere.
    They dig wells anywhere, everywhere.
    Again, some of us are waiting to serve.
    God bless him.

  4. The past leaders and the presents leaders are the very one that cause our poor struggling country Monrovia, Liberia,west Africa,
    continued go into the drain, they are only their to enrich themselves and bragged they are minister of that and minster of this receiving bribes from the so-called Lebanese businessman, look at Bassa communities in the heart of the city closed to the executive mansion is a slum you named it Liberians abroad and at home Logan town, New Kru town, West point these places should has had been a tourism area beautiful housing and beaches where visitor can go and have fun all years around this is the place where the residence of west point go to excrete as you entered west point the odor is so terrified.Liberia is hell for the poor,under develope nation nothing to bragged about when you are in foreign land like America.Wake so -called ministers and president Weah to build the broken infrastructure.

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