Former student activist and Lofa County Electoral District #1 Representative Eugene Fallah Kparkar has died. At the age of 41, he met his untimely death yesterday morning in India while undergoing advanced treatment from a protracted illness.
This is the second death of a Lofa County Representative in less than a year.
The late Lofa County Lawmaker was elected in 2005, and reelected in 2011. He was an executive member of the opposition Liberty Party, and a ranking member of his county’s Legislative Caucus.
He chaired the House’s Committee on Public Utilities; was co-chairman on National Defense and member on the Public Accounts and Expenditure Committee.
He recently chaired the Committee on Investment and Concessions and was a member on the Committee on Peace, Religious and National Reconciliation.
Prior to his election in 2005, Kparkar gained fame when he participated in student politics in the early 2000s. He also served as instructor and counselor with refugee schools and trauma healing programs.
He first tasted national politics when he served as the administrative assistant to Fayiah S. Gbollie, who was then a member of the National Transitional Legislative Assembly, which was dissolved in 2006 following the inauguration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Kparkar earned a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree in Economics from the University of Liberia and two Master’s degrees in Public Administration and International Relations from Cuttington University and the University of Liberia, respectively.
He leaves to mourn his loss his recently wedded wife, Mahaja Kamara-Kparkar, and a host of relatives.
Meanwhile, members of the House of Representative yesterday suspended the session of the 2nd Extraordinary Sitting to visit the family of the deceased. The team was led by Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay.
Lofa County District #5 Representative and Chairman of the Lofa County Legislative Caucus, Moses Y. Kollie, described the death of Rep. Kparkar as a “great loss to the county.”
Sinoe County District #1 Representative Jefferson Kanmoh and Clarence Massaquoi of Lofa County District #2 also described the passing of their colleague as “irreplaceable loss, because the late Kparkar was smart, insightful, objective and a tolerant lawmaker.”
For his part, Speaker Nuquay called on fellow lawmakers to use the death of their colleague to reconcile their differences and unite under one umbrella.
Rep. Kparkar’s demise marked the fourth death in the House of Representatives and a death in the Senate of the 53rd Legislature dating back to 2011.
In 2011, Sinoe County Representative Nelson Wah Bah (Kru) died and was replaced by Rep. Matthew Zarzar (Sarpo); Montserrado County Rep. Moses S. Tandanpolie (Kissi) died in 2012, and was subsequently replaced by Rep. J. Gabriel Nyenkan (Grebo); Lofa County Representative Fofi S. Baimba (Kissi) died in 2015, and was replaced by Rep. Julia Weah, while Grand Bassa County Senator John Whitfield who died and was replaced by Nyongblee Kanga Lawrence in 2013.
In a related development, before the end of the extraordinary session, the House Speaker is expected to officially inform the National Elections Commission (NEC) about the vacancy at the Legislature.
Article 37 of the Liberia Constitution states: “In the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, and expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days notify the elections commission thereof. The Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter hold a by-election; provided that where such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the holding of general elections, the filling of the vacancy shall await the holding of such general elections.”