Vigilante groups have been successful in providing local security. But subcontracting security functions to vigilante groups for counter-insurgency purposes is a dangerous option for fragile African states. African leaders should set clear objectives and mandates when enlisting vigilantes and invest in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programs.
Presidential run-off vote took place 31 March; results yet to be announced end-month. In first round 7 March, opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) candidate Julius Maada Bio took 43.3% of vote, while ruling party All People’s Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara took 42.7%. Electoral process largely peaceful but low-level violence and inflammatory tribal rhetoric increased ahead of second round. Skirmishes erupted in capital Freetown 7 March after SLPP spokesman said police had come to search party’s offices without warrant, at least one wounded. Joint military and police patrols deployed 13 March in Koquima town, Kono district in east after APC and SLPP supporters clashed 12 March, several reportedly wounded and eighteen arrested. APC and SLPP supporters reportedly also clashed 15 March in Bo town in south east, SLPP stronghold. Following legal request by APC member and allegations of electoral fraud, electoral commission postponed second round, initially planned for 27 March, by four days.
Sierra Leone has made much progress since the civil war ended in 2002, but a number of social and economic time bombs must still be defused if an enduring peace is to be built. The 2007 elections, in which Ernest Bai Koroma won the presidency and his All People’s Congress (APC) wrested the parliament from the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), restored legitimacy to the electoral process.
Sierra Leone holds presidential and legislative elections in August 2007. President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, who won a landslide victory in 2002 at the end of the civil war, split the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) by anointing a successor, Vice-President Solomon Berewa.
The interventions in Liberia and Sierra Leone are failing to produce states that will be stable and capable of exercising the full range of sovereign responsibilities on behalf of their long-suffering populations.
There was euphoria in Sierra Leone in 2002 as the country finally emerged from eleven years of war and entered a period of democratic transition and better governance. Since the successful elections on 14 May of that year, however, the donor community and the people of Sierra Leone have grown increasingly frustrated with stagnating reform and recovery.
The landmark guilty verdict today against former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor is a warning to those most responsible for atrocity crimes that they can be held accountable.
Originally published in International Herald Tribune
Originally published in allAfrica
Originally published in International New York Times