Stephen Allen Tolbert ll, the son of Stephen Tolbert, the late tycoon of the Mesurado Group of Companies and brother of the late President William R. Tolbert Jr., yesterday announced his intention to contest for the Montserrado District #10 seat in the House of Representatives.
Steve, whose mother is Ambassador Neh Dukuly Tolbert, told journalists at his residence in Sophie Community, Congo Town, that he is contesting for the district’s seat to make a difference in the lives of its residents.
To prove his point, he read from an affidavit (a legal document) to commit 30 percent of his salary and other benefits to a future District Development Council (DDC) to support development initiatives in District #10.
Mr. Tolbert declared in the affidavit: “I, Stephen A. Tolbert, declare under the penalty of perjury and prosecution, that the aforementioned is a complete representation of the facts…”
“In view of the excessive and extravagant compensations in salaries and benefits that members of the 52nd and 53rd legislatures allocated unto themselves,” he said, “I will return to District 10 through the DDC the equivalent value of 30 percent of my salary and benefits on a monthly basis when elected to the 54th House of Representatives.”
He promised that he would enhance basic service delivery in health, education and security for the people of the district in particular, and Liberia in general.
Mr. Tolbert said that for now he is running as an independent, which could change if ongoing discussions with several political parties are fruitful.
He decided to run, he told journalists, because of a number of reasons, including his ancestry – his father (the late Steve Tolbert, who died in a plane crash over the Atlantic Ocean in April 1975) was a prominent Liberian businessman who at one time employed more than 10,000 people and his uncle (President Tolbert), who, he said, was a benchmark for development.
“Hotel Africa, which my uncle constructed for the former OAU Summit in 1979 in Liberia, is now a skeleton and the Ducor International Hotel is now a skeleton,” he lamented, citing their conditions as part of his reasons to get involved in governing the country.
Mr. Tolbert noted that Liberians need improved sanitation to help them avoid preventable killer diseases, safe drinking water to avoid infectious diseases and quality education to provide every Liberian a chance to develop his or her capacity to build the country.
“Those are fundamental issues that when I am elected into the 54th Legislature, I will help to work to achieve for our people,” he said.
He said Liberians are the country’s most valuable resource, and that “the solutions to our problems are less in governance fixes with statistical benchmarks than they are in direct, rubber-meeting-the-road-investments in the people.”
Montserrado District 10 is home to Peace Island (540), whose 35,000 residents recently appealed to the government for safe drinking water and improved sanitation because the dry season has dried up all the wells in the island’s eleven departments or zones. The current representative is Julius Berrian.
Mr. Tolbert attended the Northbourne Park School and Dover College, both in the United Kingdom, and Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and Columbia University, New York City, N.Y., both in the US.
He has worked for Webb & Broker Realty in New York, and as Assistant to the Editor of Amsterdam News, also in New York.
He is the Chief Executive Officer of NESATMO Trading Incorporated, based in The Gambia, Kreation Outre, s.a.r.l, Branding & Printing Company in Guinea, and is Director for Corporate Relations at Villancy Realty Incorporated of Monrovia.
He described himself as “financially independent” and has no ties to the entrenched political alliances currently existing in Liberia. He is fluent in several languages, including French, Fula and Sousou. He is married to Djenabou Barry Tolbert.