Former Education Minister, Joseph Korto, Is Dead

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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.

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