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Farmington River Declaration document presented to the National Archives

The Peace and Mediation Committee has presented an original copy of the Farmington River Declaration to the Center for National Document and Record Agency (CENDRA).  Bishop Jonathan BB Hart made the presentation on Monday January 15, 2017 to CENDRA’s Director General Madam Bloh Sayeh in the presence of several members of his Committee, the media, Governance Commission at a ceremony held at the National Archives in Sinkor.

In remarks, Bishop Hart recounted the numerous consultations between the Committee and political parties and their leaders including the Preparatory meeting with Political Parties and stakeholders also known as the Inaugural meeting (held May 24, 2017 at the Lutheran Conference   Political Forum; the National Political Forum itself; and other events at which political parties recommitted to participating peacefully in the 2017 democratic elections and a process free of violence. The Committee also on numerous occasions reminded political actors to use mediation or the legal process if in doubt of election results.  

The Farmington River Declaration is said to be recognized by regional leaders as an instrument that could be adopted to address global electoral processes particularly in regions prone to conflicts during and after national elections.

Bishop Hart commended the political parties for living up to their commitments, and the Liberian people for assuring violence free elections in 2017. Bishop Hart highly commended the Governance Commission from whence the idea of the National Political Forum originated, and the Commission’s numerous consultative efforts toward bringing stakeholders together and assuring an inclusive and participatory governance and electoral process.

Bishop Hart briefly recalled the setting up of the Peace and Mediation Committee with the Inter-Religious Council serving as its bedrock, and their role in assuring that peace prevails in Liberia particularly before, during and immediately after the elections.

Receiving the Declaration CENDRA Director General Madam Bloh Sayeh commended the Mediation Committee, the Governance Commission, the Liberian people and all others that worked toward assuring a peaceful electoral process and elections in Liberia. She observed the patience exhibited by all stakeholders during the announcing of the October 10 and December 26, 2017 election results, and the Supreme Court’s timely adjudication and decisions rendered in election related disputes brought before it.

“Liberians have indeed received that divine peace from God. This indeed shows that we are a blessed nation. This is a new day for Liberia and such document must be archived for future reference. Archives are a memory of nations and societies. They provide a foundation for our identities and serve as a key element for information gathering and a basis for new policy formulation and historical movements for our nation”.

Madam Sayeh assured that the Farmington River Declaration (FRD)   will be preserved for future references and be at the disposal of interested individuals and researchers. She also thanked the Governance Commission for formulating policies and carrying out activities that have put Liberia back on the path of good governance, peace and development.

In her remarks Governance Commission Vice Chair Madam Elizabeth Mulbah noted that the GC was very grateful to have been a part of efforts to ensure peaceful electoral process and elections in Liberia. Madam Mulbah mentioned the critical role the political party “Hotline” played in assuring that the elections are peaceful. She expressed the Commission’s gratitude for being given the opportunity to witness the historic presentation of the Farmington River Declaration to the CENDRA for future generations. Madam Mulbah observed that the FRD is internationally recognized and was well played out by all actors. She hoped that future governments and political actors will also utilize the document to prevent Liberia returning to its ugly past.

The Farmington River Declaration was a product of the 2-day National Political Forum held May 31 – June 1, 2017 at the Monrovia City Hall. Liberia’s 22 political parties at the time attended the Forum. The goal of the Forum was to help political leaders reach common understandings and commitments to work diligently to strengthen the conditions for peaceful, credible and transparent elections and to preserve national peace and unity during the electoral and post electoral periods, always putting LIBERIA FIRST!

That Forum also officially recognized the Inter-Religious Council and a few others as the Peace and Mediation Committee with the mandate to mediate elections relation conflicts before, during and immediately after the 2017 elections. (Their mandate ends on January 31, 2018). The Forum also agreed on the establishment of the “Political Parties Hotline” for use by stakeholders to monitor and report situations that had the propensity to derail the peace during and after the elections.

On June 4, 2017 twenty of Liberia’s twenty two political parties signed “the Farmington River Declaration” at the ECOWAS Summit, committing themselves to the holding of peaceful 2017 presidential and legislative elections within the confines of the law and other international standards pertaining to free, fair, transparent democratic elections. The Summit was held in Margibi County at the Farmington River Hotel.

The thirteen count resolution commits signatories to resolving election disputes through mediation and/or the Courts; preventing election violence; peaceful political campaign activities; and to closely work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that they effectively perform their duties before, during and after the 2017 elections.

A second group (completing the rest of Liberia’s 26 political parties) signed the accession of the Farmington River Declaration on December 1, 2017 at the Lutheran Conference Hall on 13th Street in Sinkor in the presence of other political leaders, civil society and an ECOWAS representative.

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