The Peace, Justice and Reconciliation Commission of the Association of the Liberian Ministers in the United States writes to express its desire and to avail itself to mediate the conflict situation existing within the Steering Committee of the All Liberian National Conference for Peace, Reforms and Reconciliation, (ALNC), which has manifested in the emergence of two conflicting parties claiming legitimacy to the leadership of the Steering Committee: Steering Committee, All Liberian National Conference for Peace, Reforms and Reconciliation, (ALNC) headed by Dr. James T. Tarpeh and the Steering Committee of the All Liberian National for Peace, Reforms and Reconciliation headed by Mrs. Mardea Karpeh.
We believe a peaceful resolution of the conflict within the Steering Committee is in the supreme interest of our country, Liberia, which is struggling to recover from its atrocious past. We, like all Liberians, would like to see Liberians attending one conference, with one Leadership, speaking with one voice, and acting in unity to salvage the nation from its decay.
We have undertaken a careful study of the issues
which are at the core of the conflict with a pleasant
discovery that the issues are reconcilable. The issues
on the one hand, provide an excellent opportunity
for Liberians to demonstrate to the international
community our unwavering commitment to the principles
of peace and our competence to manage the affairs
of a nation emerging from war. On the other hand,
the issues if not addressed properly, could portray
collective ineptitude and gross lack of will power
on the part of Liberians, to chart a new course toward
peace, growth and development in
Indeed, the end of the 14-year carnage in Liberia
has witnessed the emergence of a Plethora of views,
ideas, forums and activities by Liberians and Liberian
organizations aimed at bringing solution to the perennial
problems besetting Liberia. As such, the idea of an
“All Liberian Conference” has been a subject
of discussions in many quarters within the Liberian
communities. Particular attention was given the concept
of an “All Liberian Conference” at a political
discourse organized by the Liberian Embassy and the
Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA)
in Washington D.C. in July,
2004. Major discussion of the concept also took place at a symposium of prominent Liberians and Liberian organizations sponsored by the Liberian History, Education and Development Corporation (LIHEDE) in Greensboro, North Carolina, in October, 2004. As the concept of an “All Liberian Conference” gained prominence in the Liberian communities, ULAA organized a forum which brought together prominent Liberians and Liberian organizations with the objective to putting in place mechanisms to actualize the vision of an “All Liberian Conference.” Consequently, an independent Steering Committee headed by Dr. James T. Tarpeh was birthed.
In our definition of the conflict, we have made the observations which we believe constitute objective truths upon which to base our mediation effort:
(1). ULAA from an institutional standpoint, created the atmosphere which brought Liberian organizations and prominent Liberian individuals together to put in place the mechanisms to hold an All Liberians Conference.
(2) The strategy agreed on and subsequently employed
in pursuance of the objective to organize an All Liberian
Conference was to set up a steering committee which
would be independent of a leadership covering of any
particular organization. In the process Dr. James
Tarpeh was elected to serve as the chairman of the
steering committee to organize
an All Liberian Conference named “All Liberian Conference for Peace, Reforms and Reconciliation”
(3) In our categorization of the conflict, the most critical phase in the implementation of the vision of an All Liberian Conference was the issue surrounding the evolvement of an acceptable “Modus Operandi” in the conduct of the affairs of the Steering Committee. Problems arouse as questions and qualms were raised concerning methods and principles governing certain decisions made in the leadership of the committee.
The nature of the conflict has provided the context within which we have crafted a meaningful and responsive intervention methodology called “Let the baby live”. This method is inspired by the Biblical story in which two women conflictual claims to ownership of a baby was resolved when King Solomon decided to kill the baby. One of the women unknowingly exposed that she was not the mother of the baby when she enthusiastically agreed with King Solomon’s decision to kill the baby, while the biological mother of the baby took the route of the ultimate sacrifice to relinquish her claim to the baby that the baby might live. King Solomon returned the baby to the actual mother whose ownership to the baby was exposed by the sacrifice to deny herself of the baby to preserve its life. The baby in our intervention paradigm is “Liberia”.
This intervention model seeks:
(a) to bring the conflicted parties together physically in a setting that will facilitate a healthy exchange of views to determine the core causes of the conflict.
(b) to determine what went wrong and to acknowledge one’s share of what went wrong.
(c) to resolve the conflict by mutually acceptable methods for the achievement of the following:
(i). One leadership to hold one conference
(ii) Engendering clearly defined terms of reference.
(iii) Rekindle renewed commitment leading to the organization of the All Liberian National Conference.
FACTORS SUSTAINING THE CONFLICT
We have observed that certain factors tend to sustain
and exacerbate the conflict:
(1) warfare on the internet
(2) Vigorous character defamation campaigns
(3) Other vices
Accordingly, we would like to make a special appeal that the parties to the conflict refrain from acts and pronouncements that might further exacerbate the conflict. We call on all sides to at all time, uphold values which affirm basic human respect and dignity, and which are crucial to the building of democratic institutions in Liberia. In the process of this mediation, we shall remain vigilant watchmen against acts and practices that are inimical to the spirit and intent of reconciliation.
Indeed, the divide in the Steering Committee involves
some of the most brilliant minds and precious human
resources Liberia has. People upon whom the destiny
of Liberia rests. It follows that the conflict if
remains unchecked, will serve its usual purpose of
creating an environment in which such great human
resources will be expended toward destructive ends.
If the conflict remains unresolved and two conferences
are held, the unintended consequences are obvious:
(1) The purpose of the conference will be destroyed
(2) The hope of Liberians, especially the disenfranchised, the downtrodden, and the voiceless majority will be shattered.
(3) Exacerbate the existing chronic divisions in the country and invite new layers of divisions within Liberian communities and throughout the entire Diaspora.
(4) Reinforce the notion emanating from grassroots communities in Liberia that it is the intellectuals who are responsible for the nation’s problems.
(5) Diminish the essence of acquiring education on the part of our people.
(6) Send a clear message of gross unwillingness on the part of Liberians to help their nation recover from its horrible past.
(7) Expose the dignity of our nation and people to international ridicule in light of our Liberia’s historic role as peacemaker on the African Continent.
In lieu of the foregoing, we would like to invite the parties to the conflict to a one-day reconciliation Summit in Silver Spring Maryland on February 12, 2005 at the Bethel World Outreach Center, 8242 Georgia Avenue, MD 20910. Also, on Wednesday (February 9) a pre-summit teleconference of 4-5 persons representing each party to the conflict will be scheduled at 10 P.M. EST.
Invited as observers are: (1) The Liberian Embassy
(2) Friends of Liberia
(3) Representatives from Liberian Desk, US State Department
(4) United Nation Mission to Liberia
Robert Mawlue Karloh
Peace, Justice and Reconciliation Commission,
Association of Liberian Ministers in the United States of America (ALiMUSA)
Bishop Gabriel Lardner
8a.m -9a.m----arrival of parties/breakfast
2p.m—6p.m---Deliberations and resolution