Versatile Liberian journalist, publisher and managing editor of
the New Democrat newspaper, Mr. Tom Kamara, 63, died Friday morning in Brussels following a brief illness.
Mrs. Rachel Kamara accompanied her ailing husband who died while undergoing treatment at St. Luc University Hospital in Brussels.
Mr. Kamara, who cherished journalism early at Tubman High in Monrovia in the late 60s, served as editor of the school’s newspaper. Tom later travelled to the University of Texas in the U.S. where he studied journalism.
Upon return home, he briefly served as editor of the New Liberian newspaper established following the 1980 military coup, but soon fell out with junta leader Samuel Doe who jailed the journalist at the post stockade for refusal to compromise his journalistic principles for no comparable cause.
He refused all temptations, even for a top government job, to continue his campaign for social justice leading him to organize an appropriate messenger for this cause—New Democrat.
The paper first hit the newsstand in 1993 during the heat of the civil war, but was forced to shut down after the so-called joint government forces burnt down its offices and equipment during the 6 April 1996 war against “general” Roosevelt Johnson.
However, its courageous staff continued to publish the paper up to 2000 but harassment, intimidation and constant threats forced them to flee into exile in Ghana.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kamara opened an online edition of the paper in Holland where he was exiled, and received articles from staff members exiled in Ghana.
Two years after the Accra Peace Agreement was sealed, Mr. Kamara and family returned home in 2005 and reopened New Democrat and it has remained on the newsstand since.