Official Report On The Mediation:
Conflict Within The Steering Committee Of The All Liberian National Conference For Peace, Reforms And Reconciliation
March 3, 2005
Although the mediation process has been a source of valuable lessons, it was not without its own challenges and difficulties, including spending sleepless nights, holding long meetings and experiencing vitriolic emotional outbursts from members of both parties to the conflict as well and some members the Liberian Community.† ††
The mediation effort has gone through several stages:
††† Stage 1
The mediation initiative began with rigorous and laborious behind-the-scenes discussions which led to an understanding and determination of the core issues and causes of the conflict. The mediating team was able to develop an informed framework upon which the mediation was carried out.† Upon the consent of the parties to participate in mediation, the mediation initiative entered the next stage.
The mediation initiative became formal as the parties to the conflict officially recognized the Peace, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, ALiMUSA to mediate the conflict. Official communications and press releases on issues of the conflict were sent out to the parties to the conflict and the Liberian Community respectively. Upon the consent of the parties to the conflict, a Reconciliation Summit was organized under the auspices of the Peace, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, ALiMUSA.† The summit physically brought together the representatives of the both parties to the conflict. The Steering Committee headed by Mrs. Mardea Karpeh was represented its chairperson, Mrs. Mardea Karpeh, Mr. Abraham Masssaley, Counselor Tiawon Gongolo, and Mr. Francis Dwanna. The Steering Committee headed by Dr. James Tarpeh was represented by Rev. Edwin Lylod and Mr. Bodioh Siapoe. The Summit was held in the edifice of the Bethel World Outreach Church in Silver Spring, Maryland on February 12, 2005.† After 7 hours of deliberations on issues surrounding the conflict, decision was reached that the resolution of the Summit would be binding on the parties to the conflict.
After the conference in which all parties agreed to the decision reached at the Summit, the binding power of the resolution was undermined when members of the Steering Committee headed by Dr. James Tarpeh, subsequently refused to accept the Reconciliation Summitís resolution on grounds that those who represented the Tarpeh-led Steering Committee at the Reconciliation Summit, were not given the mandate to commit that Steering Committee to resolutions that would be binding. Consequently, a new framework to further mediate the conflict was established: a full report of the Summit was sent to the parties for their review and official reactions.
The actions and responses of the parties to the conflict were carefully studied by members of the mediating team. After prayers and deliberations, we resolved the following:
1. That the mediation process has reached an impasse occasioned by the unwillingness of the Steering Committee headed by Dr. James Tarpeh† to negotiate in good faith:
o ††††During deliberations at the Summit, a resolution was evolved premised on the understanding that it would be binding on the parties to the conflict. The binding power of the resolution was later undermined by the Tarpeh-led Steering Committee on grounds that their representatives were not authorized to commit the Tarpeh-led Steering Committee to any resolution that would be binding. Additionally The Tarpeh-led Committee contended that the leadership role of its chairman, Dr. James Tarpeh was not clearly defined.
o In the process of the negotiation, the Tarpeh-led Steering Committee suggested that the report of the Reconciliation Summit be submitted and they will respond in 48 hours. The suggestion turned into a new framework to further mediate the conflict. Both sides to the conflict were required to respond to the Summitís report. On 15th February, 2005 the Reconciliation Summitís report was sent to both parties to the conflict for their review and official reactions. The Tarpeh-led Committeeís response was delayed for a period of one week.
o †The Tarpeh-led Committee, contrary to the advice of the mediating team, continues to hold town hall meetings and make pronouncements on the internet regarding activities of its All Liberian Conference.† In stark negation of the spirit and intent of the entire mediation effort, the Tarpeh-led committee has already published an itinerary regarding their All Liberian Conference.
†The mediating process also encounters problems from the Karpeh-led Steering Committee in the following ways:
a. Reactions to issues surrounding the conflict on the internet in ways that defied the advice of the mediating Team and may have provoked unhealthy exchanges.
b. Failure to appropriately channel complaints to the mediating Team.
Based on the impasse in the mediation process, the Mediating Team would like to make the following recommendations to the parties to the conflict:
a. That the entire process leading to the hosting of the All Liberian National Conference for Peace, Reforms and Reconciliation, be postponed for the period of two months beginning March 1, 2005, to allow for a peaceful resolution of the current leadership conflict between the two Steering Committees, and to facilitate adequate planning for a national conference befitting the aspirations of the people of Liberia.
b. That the parties to the conflict and their friends and supporters refrain from any negative publicity and profane exchanges on the internet or through other media outlets, as this will only undermine the unity, peace and progress of our people.
Accordingly, the Peace, Justice and Reconciliation Commission,
ALiMUSA remains willing and ready to continue the mediation process, so as to resolve this conflict in the best interest of our nation and people. Also, we earnestly appeal to all Liberians to consider the disgrace we have faced as a nation for nearly two decades. And accordingly, we call on all of our people to positively influence and impact both parties in such a manner that will facilitate the timely, peaceful, and permanent resolution of this conflict, which in fact, is simply a Liberian family feud.
We remain profoundly thankful to both parties to the conflict for the confidence manifested in us by consenting to have us mediate. We are particularly thankful to the voices of reason on both sides of the divide and to all Liberians and friends of Liberia who showed appreciation for the mediation effort, for their courage and inspirations. As Ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and as ambassadors of reconciliation, we stand willing and ready to encourage our people and to come and reason together in the best interest of our nation.
May God richly bless you all, prosper the works of our hands, and reconcile the people of Liberia.
Respectfully submitted this 26th day of February A.D. 2005,
Robert Mawlue Karloh
Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission (PJRC)
Association of Liberian Ministers in the United States of America
Bishop Gabriel Lardner††††††††††††††† Rev. J. Emmanuel Z. Bowier, M. Div.
Chairman, ALiMUSA††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Member, PJRC, ALiMUSA
Rev. Dr. Napoleon Divine††† †††††††††††††††Bishop Alfred Reeves
Member, PJRC, ALiMUSA†††††††††††††††††† Council Member, ALiMUSA