Dr. Joseph Korto is still running for President, leaving LAP to join Another Political Party

By Winsley S. Nanka, CPA

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
May 18, 2005


Dr. Joseph Korto plans to leave the Liberia Action Party (LAP) to join another political party to contest the presidency of Liberia in October 2005. According to the open letter dated May 16, 2005 issued by Dr. Korto to Liberians, his decision to abandon the Liberia Action Party is based on what he calls “the unwillingness of the party’s (LAP) leadership to reason with me.” Dr. Korto however, is not the first Liberian politician in recent time to leave his political party to seek the presidency of Liberia. Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine left the Liberia Unification Party and is forming the United Democratic Party to run for the presidency of Liberia.

The tendency of Liberian politicians to abandon their political parties because of internal differences does not help in the building of strong democratic institutions in Liberia. If a politician cannot resolve the internal crises in his own political party, how can he govern a chaotic state like Liberia with a multiplicity of problems and diametrically opposing political interests?

Below is the full text of Dr. Korto’s statement obtained by The Perspective.

Fellow countrymen:

My decision to withdraw from the race for Standard Bearer of the Liberia Action Party (LAP) certainly took most, if not all of you by surprise. I extend to you my heartfelt apology for the sense of disappointment this unfortunate but necessary withdrawal may have caused you. Please understand that the situation demanded a response in the manner in which I came through.

This decision could have come a little earlier had it not been for my patience in the high hope and strong desire to prevail upon the party, especially the leadership, to see reason for new and better political attitudes and practices in Liberia. My failure to make the desire impact speaks to the heart of our Liberian problem. It seems as though we Liberians think and believe that a society is different from its people, and that it is possible for a society to change for the better in isolation of its people.

I say this because there is hardly any Liberian who does not claim to want a new and better Liberia. Equally so there is hardly any Liberian, who is willing and ready to change in values, attitudes and common practices to become a new and better citizen of Liberia. It surely sounds like a man who is wishing to go to Heaven, but who is afraid and unwilling to die. No one goes to Heaven unless you die. Thus, unless we Liberians take true courage in changing those old values, attitudes and practices that ultimately explain our failed, shameful national past and adopt new and better ones, Liberia cannot change to become a new and better society that we claim to desire.

The unwillingness or refusal I may say, on the part of my fellow partisans of LAP, especially those in leadership of the party, to reason with me and together we can courageously face the challenge to give our nation a new and better sense of political direction is indeed a shame. As promised in the letter of intent to withdraw, I shall provide details of the reasons, and let you the Liberian Public be the judge. I however prefer to do this when present on ground in Liberia, and this will be very soon. I certainly want that verdict whether my action was a design to escape defeat as claimed by those in opposition, or the action makes me a true patriot in the cause of true democracy in Liberia.

Having said the above, the main purpose of this open communication is to assure all supporters, sympathizers, well-wishers and friends that I do intend to put this chapter of my political history behind and move forward in the dream to be a part of the forces for genuine political change and reforms in Liberia. Clearly, the challenge we Liberians face today is to give our struggling society a new beginning, a
fresh start towards becoming the democratic, progressive, civilized and respected nation dreamed more than a century and half ago; a nation we can be proud to call a home. We owe this to ourselves and to the generations of Liberians to come after us.

As we rise to the occasion to face this important national challenge of reshaping the destiny of our struggling society, let’s make no mistake about it; leadership failure is at the heart of the reasons and causes of Liberia’s failed and shameful national past. Thus, if the nation is to find a truly new beginning, it must come to also benefit from a truly new and better type of leadership orientation. In this respect and in the meanings of our current national challenges and aspirations, I do see myself as a true potential for the desired national leadership with the vision and the courage to deliver in the good cause of the Nation.

The LAP experience has only challenged me more and strengthened my ambition to seek national leadership for Liberia. Therefore, let it be known that my withdrawal from the race for LAP Standard Bearer in no way necessary means an end to my ambition to contest for the presidency of Liberia in the upcoming General and Presidential Elections. The desire is strong and the possibility is high that I shall attempt to seek other avenues for entry into the race for president in October. To abandon this ambition on account of the LAP experience is to give victory to the forces against the building and practice of true democracy in Liberia. The LAP experience has only tested my resolve and commitment to the cause of true democracy in Liberia, and I shall not fail this test. I therefore call on you; my dear supporters, sympathizers, well-wishers and friends to still have hope in me. And more importantly, please prepare to stand with me when I find the right avenue for contesting the presidency of Liberia in October.

In true national spirit,

Joseph D. Z. Korto