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.
Tensions continued following electoral violence. Court 8 Aug handed down prison sentences to 23 members of opposition party All People’s Congress (APC) for vandalism during 30 July clashes between APC supporters and those of ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), clashes triggered after electoral commission called off parliamentary by-election in Hamilton, about 20km from capital Freetown, citing irregularities. Authorities 15 Aug arrested APC politician Kashor Cole; 20 Aug arrested former mayor of capital Freetown Herbert Williams, for suspected involvement in Hamilton clashes. Electoral commission 25 Aug cancelled results of 24 Aug rerun in Hamilton after unidentified assailants ransacked polling station on election day. Amid reports of opposition victory, APC 26 Aug called cancellation “highest degree of provocation and injustice” and accused SLPP of orchestrating attack, pointing to complicity of police, who reportedly stood by during ransack and illegally arrested head of opposition’s polling staff.
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