Civil War and Democracy in West Africa: Conflict Resolution, Elections and Justice in Sierra Leone and Liberia 9780755619054, 9781848856875

In the aftermath of explosive civil wars in Africa during the 1990s and 2000s, the establishment of multi-party election

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LIST OF TABLES

1 (Sierra Leone) TRC estimates of atrocities committed by belligerents (%) 85 2 (Sierra Leone) 1996 first-round presidential election results of the top six polling candidates by region (%) 98 3 (Sierra Leone) 1996 second-round presidential election results by region (%) 98 4 (Sierra Leone) 1996 distribution of party seats 98 5 (Sierra Leone) 2002 distribution of party seats by sub-region 116 6 (Sierra Leone) 2002 presidential election results by sub-region (%) 118 7 (Sierra Leone) 2007 presidential election results by sub-region (%) 123 8 (Sierra Leone) 2007 distribution of party seats by sub-region 124 9 (Liberia) 1997 election results by county (% voting for political parties), with distribution of party seats in the Senate and House of Representatives 156 10 (Liberia) Parties and candidates in order of appearance on the ballot papers 157 11 (Liberia) Results of the 2005 first-round presidential election (11 October) 168–69 12 (Liberia) 2005 first-round presidential election results of the top nine polling candidates by county (%, winner in bold) 170 13 (Liberia) 2005 distribution of party seats in the Senate and House 173 14 (Liberia) 2005 Party seats in the Senate by county 174 15 (Liberia) 2005 Party seats in the House by county 174 16 (Liberia) 2005 presidential election (8 November) run-off results by county (%, winner in bold) 176 17 (Sierra Leone) Indicted by the SLSC for crimes against humanity 198

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LIST OF ABBR EVIATIONS

Sierra Leone All People’s Congress (APC) Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) Civil Defence Force (CDF) Democratic Centre Party (DCP) Interim National Election Commission (INEC) Internal Security Unit (ISU) Movement for Progress (MOP) National Consultative Council (NCC) National Election Watch (NEW) National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) National Unity Party (NUP) Peace and Liberation Party (PLP) People’s Democratic Party (PDP) People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) Revolutionary United Front (RUF) Revolutionary United Front Party (RUFP) Sierra Leone Army (SLA) Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP)

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LIST

OF

A BBREVIATIONS

ix

Sierra Leone Special Court (SLSC) United Democratic Party (UDP) United National People’s Party (UNPP) United Nations Mission for Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL)

Liberia Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD) American Colonization Society (ACS) Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia (COTOL) Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Governance and Economic Management Assistance Programme (GEMAP) Interim National Assembly (INA) Liberian National Transitional Government (LNTG) Liberian Action Party (LAP) Liberian Peace Council (LPC) Liberian People’s Party (LPP) Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) Liberty Party (LP) Lofa Defence Force (LDF) Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) National Committee for Elections Monitoring (NACEM) National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) NPFL-Central Revolutionary Council (NPFL-CRC) Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) National Patriotic Party (NPP) National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) People’s Redemption Council (PRC) Reformation Party (RP) Special Election Commission (SECOM) True Whig Party (TWP) United Liberation Movement of Liberia (ULIMO)

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ULIMO-K (Kromah) ULIMO-J (Johnson) United People’s Party (UPP) Unity Party (UP)

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Alliance de la Majorité Présidentielle (AMP) Mouvement pour la Libération du Congo (MLC) Parti du Peuple pour la Reconstruction et la Démocratie (PPRD) Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie (RCD) Regroupement des Nationalistes Congolais (RENACO)

Angola Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA)

Mozambique Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (Frelimo) Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (Renamo)

South Africa African National Congress (ANC) Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) National Party (NP)

Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda Conseil National pour la Défense de la Démocratie et Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie (CNDD-FDD) International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)

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LIST

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A BBREVIATIONS

xi

Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)

Côte d’Ivoire Mouvement Patriotique du Grand Ouest (MPIGO) Mouvement pour la Justice et la Paix (MJP)

International and general terminology ECOMOG (Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group) International Criminal Court (ICC) International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) National Electoral Commission (NEC) Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)

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M APS

15º W

15º N Dakar

10º W

5º W

SENEGAL GAMBIA MALI

Banjul

Bamako

GUINÉ Bissau GUINEA 10º N Conakry Freetown

SIERRA LEONE IVORY COAST

Atlantic Ocean

LIBERIA Monrovia

5º N

0 0 15º W

100

200 miles

Abidjan

100 200 300 km 10º W

5º W

Map 1 West Africa: Mano River countries and environs

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xiii

M APS

13º 30’

13º 00’

12º 30’

12º 00’

11º 30’

11º 00’

10º 30’

Mamou

GUI NEA

Kindia 10º 00’

SIERRA LEONE

Médina Dula

10º 00’

Tabili

Dubréka Coyah

Kabala

Banian

Fandié

9º 30’

Koinadugu

Forécariah Bambaya

NORTHERN Kambia

Yombiro

Pendembu

Rokupr

9º 00’

9º 00’

Makeni Magburaka

Port Loko

Lungi

Lunsar

Masingbi Matotoka

Int’l Airport

FREETOWN

Masiaka

Koidu-Sefadu

Koundou

Mile 91

8º 30’ Koindu

EASTERN

WESTERN York AREA

Kailahun

Bomi Moyamba Dambara

Yawri Bay 8º 00’

SOUTHERN

8º 00

Daru

Bo

Kenema Gbangbatok

Sh erbr o River Sherbro I. Bonthe

Matru 7º 30’

rb ro S

tra it

7º 30’

Pujehun

S

Kongo

Zimmi

he

ATLANTIC OCEAN

Lake Mabesi

SIERRA LEONE

LIBERIA

Bendaja

Lake Mape National capital 7º 00’

7º 00’

Provincial capital Sulima

Town, village International boundary Provincial boundary

Robertsport

Major road Secondary road Railroad 6º 30’

Bomi-Hills

0

13º 00’

Kle

20

40

60

80 km 6º 30’

Airport 0

13º 30’

Bong

Lake Piso

12º 30’

12º 00’

11º 30’

10

20 11º 00’

30

40

50 mi 10º 30’

Map 2 Sierra Leone with provincial boundaries

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N

Kissi Gbandi Mende Loma Mandingo

SIERRA LEONE

0

50 km

GUINEA

Gola Belle

Mende

Kpelle

Mende

Kpelle Gola

Vai

Mano Mandingo

Kpelle

Vai

Gio

Bassa

Dei Kru

CÔTE D’IVOIRE

Krahn Bassa

Sapo

Grebo Kru A t l a n t i c

Grebo

O c e a n Kru

Map 3 Liberia with ethnic groups

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xv

M APS

N Banjul Ouagadougou Kankan

P

Conakry 50

0

Freetown

Abuja

km

LIBERIA

Kissidougou

Lagos

Accra

Calabar

Koindu

SIERRA LEONE

Voinjama Kolahun

GUINEA

Bakedu Kenema Zorzor

LOFA

Mount Nimba Danane

Yekepa

GRAND CAPE MOUNT

Butuo Belle Yella Bopolu Bong mines

Tubmanburg Robertsport

Sanniquellie Gbamga

Ganta

NIMBA

Totota

BONG

BOMI

MARGIBI

Tappita

Arthington

MONROVIA

Kakata Harbel Roberts air field

MONTSERRADO

GRAND BASSA Buchanan

CÔTE D'IVOIRE Gulglo

Zwedru Tuzon

RIVER CESS

Tal

Juarzon

SINOE

GRAND GEDEH

Greenville

A t l a n t i c

O c e a n

D AN YL

GRAND MAR KRU

San Pedro

Harper

Map 4 Liberia with county borders as of 1997

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Lofa

Gbarpolu Cape Mount Bong

err ad

o

Nimba Margibi

Mo

nts

Bomi

Grand Bassa Grand Gedeh

River Cess

Sinoe

River Gee

Grand Kru

Ma

ryla

nd

Map 5 Liberia with county borders as of 2005. (River Gee and Gbarpolu Counties have been carved out of the southern parts of Grand Gedeh and Lofa Counties)

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ACK NOWLEDGEMENTS

First and foremost, I must thank Lynda Waterhouse, who, during the writing of the thesis that developed into the book, became my wife and who encouraged, cajoled and tolerated me in my efforts. The invaluable guidance of Tom Young also comes high in my acknowledgements. I need to thank Richard Jeffries, Richard Alqaq and Simona Vittorini for their good advice on several occasions and Ibrahim Madina Bah for endless discussions and debates. There were many who were of great help in providing information and formulating ideas on my visits to West Africa, and there are several others who were extremely helpful in the arrangements of my trips. In the facilitation of my first visit to Sierra Leone in 2002, Michael Wundah was of great assistance in London, and in Freetown, Boubacar Dieng, the late Victor FasholeLuke and Olu Gordon, Malcolm Jones, my landlord Paramount Chief Thomas Koroma and family, and the staff at the Campaign for Good Governance were all very helpful. For Liberia in 2005, I have to thank the Carter Center, in particular Tom Crick, Almami Cyllah, Pewee Flomoku (who also supplied the front cover for the book), Nick Jahr, Rufus Moiseemah, Maud Nyamhunga and especially my housemates, Richard Lappin and Derek MacLeod. Equally, I thank the National Democratic Institute for the opportunity to observe the 2007 Sierra Leonean elections and Charly Cox for all her help on subsequent visits. There were many others along the way who offered advice, encouragement or humour, of which I am most grateful. Thank you.

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION

Attempts at conflict resolution employing elections as the final arbiter have become increasingly common in post-Cold War Africa, as in the rest of the world. It would not be outlandish to assert that a peace process is now not considered cemented in place until elections have been conducted. Equally, the most crucial phase of the peace process is usually considered finished once the ballots have been counted. In contrast, the central endeavour of this book is to begin an explanation for the vastly differing outcomes of four post-conflict elections held in Sierra Leone or Liberia in the decade between 1996 and 2005. There were indeed considerable differences in candidates, particularly whether civilian or former military, and the capacity with which they were able to operate. There were then remarkable divergences in the results, the backgrounds of the winners and the margins of victory. However, the most important of the outcomes for this study, and for the people of Sierra Leone and Liberia, is a return to or the prevention of conflict. Again, these outcomes differ significantly. Further, the prevention of a return to conflict cannot simply be viewed in the form of short-term stability: it must also be seen in a progression from the political environment that led to the war, and hence in the probability of long-term peace. In other words, there is a marked difference between an election that leads to a hiatus in the conflict and one that delivers a dispensation less likely to return to civil war.

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In order to begin an explanation of the divergences between these elections, it is clearly necessary to explore the context and pertinent theoretical standpoints. First, changing international views and actions concerning conflict resolution can be revealed by an analysis of the responses to a sequence of crises in Africa and beyond. Second, an exploration of the area of political terrain relating to conflict in Africa can lead to an understanding of the dynamics and causes of civil war, and the imperatives which drive combatants who will often be involved in the elections subsequent to the conflict, or at least in the crucial peace-building stages prior to elections. Finally, an examination of theories of electoral democracy on the African continent, both in largely conflict-free and in post-conflict circumstances, exposes the obstacles in the path of elections which follow conflict.

Recent trends in international conflict resolution After the end of the Cold War, international emphasis was broadly redirected towards the mediation of conflicts, rather than the provision of military and diplomatic backing to one side or the other in the conflict. Although this can no longer be stated with the same conviction, cases akin to Angola – where the Soviet Union and Cuba provided arms and troops to prop up the MPLA regime’s heavy and prolonged conflict with the UNITA rebels, the latter supported primarily by the USA and South Africa – were less likely to reoccur in the post-Cold War political climate. Mediation and elections were indeed a major feature of 1990s Angola, South Africa, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Further afield, Nicaragua, Cambodia and Bosnia were other high-profile examples of this strategy. With the removal of Cold War tensions and the promotion of peace-seeking inclusive agendas, there may also have been a realisation that barely any African rebellions had been militarily put down since the 1950s Mau Mau uprising in colonial Kenya. However, a growing proliferation of civil wars in Africa coincided with the post-9/11 ‘War on Terror’, and severely tested this international agenda. While mediation and negotiation are, officially at least, still given prominence and seen as the aim of any international effort,

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INTRODUCTION

3

there are other acts being played out. International powers, such as the USA, Britain and France, have not discontinued their vested interests and political agendas in Africa. The recent finds of large quantities of oil off the west coast have undoubtedly influenced Western thinking on that region in the last few years. At the same time, regionally important actors, such as Zimbabwe, Uganda, Rwanda, Angola, Nigeria, Liberia and Burkina Faso, have had considerable political and economic interest in conflicts in other states, or have intervened on a large scale on behalf of one set of combatants. However, and of most importance here, international approaches to conflict in the new millennium appear to have once more been re-aligned. The stated post-Cold War aims of international bodies and Western states have always been liberal, including the promotion of multi-party elections, civil society, free-market economics, privatisation and deregulation, good governance and by extension good relations with the West, and now the humanitarian responsibility to protect.1 However, at this point, two observations must be made concerning this statement. First, if the stated aims have been largely constant, we can then move on to examine the changes in the ideological tools, relevant to this study, used to achieve those objectives. Setting aside the many other aspects of the liberal agenda, and looking at the broad approaches to post-Cold War conflict resolution in Africa and Asia, one can begin to map the changes from the predominantly realist inclusive or arbitrational early thinking – in terms of power-brokers in a predominantly internal conflict, as opposed to states in the international arena – to the more liberalminded methods, associated with human rights and individual justice, employed in more recent times. This is not a clear linear relationship over time, from the early international attempts in Angola, Cambodia, Mozambique and Somalia through to the later efforts in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Côte d’Ivoire, but there has nonetheless been a detectable shift, albeit sometimes significantly deflected by pragmatic considerations, by the immediacy of other events or by the leading international actors involved. Second, it must be questioned to what degree stated aims match real intentions, and whether these aims and intentions have actually changed over time. In all this, a distinction must be made between aggressive

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international incursions into states, such as in Iraq in 1991 and 2003 and Afghanistan in 2002, and interventions into states that are already suffering conflict to which the intervening body is not directly party. However, some broad comparisons of intent are inevitable. During most of the 1990s, stress was placed on negotiation, a realist notion that survived the end of the Cold War. Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola, Sierra Leone and Liberia, until the late 1990s or the turn of the millennium, were all approached from the point of view of persuading all groups to the table: to include rather than to exclude. This method even survived the endless rounds of talks during the first Liberian war, despite denouncements from critics who noted that the inclusive nature of this approach served merely to increase the number of combatants clamouring for a seat at the table, and hence for a share of the spoils. As late as the 1999 Lomé Accord, many complained that the Sierra Leonean government was coerced into negotiating and signing by the US and UK. The intervention in Somalia in 1992 can be seen as one event that bucked this trend, but that case can be viewed as an anomaly in 1990s discourse. Treating the turn of the millennium as a fulcrum, one can detect the balance beginning to change. In Africa, the abject failure of the 1999 Lomé Accord and the hostage-taking of UN soldiers the following year inside Sierra Leone, led the British prime minister, Tony Blair, to send what was first announced as a force to protect expatriates. After skirmishes with the West Side Boys and Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels, the intervention developed into an extension of the Labour government’s flagging ‘ethical foreign policy’ and more importantly, a deliberate attempt to remove the RUF from contention. In Angola, the UNITA rebels came under wide-ranging sanctions from 1998, their political offices were closed down and their leader, Jonas Savimbi, was branded a war criminal. Outside Africa, and in the aftermath of 9/11, US and UK military intervention reached new heights. The rediscovered and radical notion of regime change imposed from outside has been introduced, and put into effect in both Afghanistan and Iraq.2 The International Criminal Court (ICC) was constituted in 1998, ratified by a 60th state in 2002 and undertook its first case in 2006.

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INTRODUCTION

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The Yugoslav and Rwandan tribunals began earlier, in the mid-1990s, but gained momentum through the first decade of the twenty-first century with several high-profile cases and a greater number of so far lower-profile convictions. Between 2002 and 2009, the hybrid international/national Sierra Leone Special Court (SLSC) tried and convicted eight former combatant leaders, and in 2003 indicted Liberia’s incumbent president, Charles Taylor. Once Taylor was in exile, with a Nigerian assurance of safety, the US Congress effectively placed a bounty of US$2 million on his head, and the USA exerted considerable and eventually successful diplomatic pressure first on Nigeria, then on both Liberia and Nigeria, for his extradition to the SLSC and ultimately The Hague, where he is now on trial. David Crane, former SLSC Chief Prosecutor, declared that ‘this is the next generation of war-crimes tribunals’.3 Hybrid courts are now underway in many locations, most recently concerning Cambodia and Lebanon. Pointedly, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stated, in August 2004, that we should ‘reject any amnesty for genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity . . . and ensure that no such amnesty previously granted is a bar to prosecution before any UN-created or assisted court’.4 Impunity, then, became the number-one enemy. From entirely different perspectives, Geoffrey Robertson asserted ‘a millennial shift from appeasement to justice’, while Adam Branch claimed an ‘international law fundamentalism’ to be now at work.5 In tandem with this change, a new tendency emerging from the liberal focus on human rights and humanitarian intervention has been identified: the effective and routine criminalisation of all involved in violent change. Writing about the new international focus on linkages between development and security, Mark Duffield asserts that ‘the condemnation of all violent conduct by liberal peace means that the leaders of violent conflicts are automatically problematised’. This, he says, ‘is regardless of whether they are guilty of war crimes, which many are, or defending themselves from dispossession or exploitation, which some may be’.6 Meanwhile, members of the elite who led countries in a downward spiral to war and who queue up to join new administrations are not vilified or sent to court, but seen as part of the solution. Those who were involved in the root causes of the war may

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often be favoured over those who precipitated the conflict, ostensibly at least, to right some of the wrongs. In addition, imposing guilt on one or a few people risks avoiding many other causal factors for war crimes.7 Further still, there has been the added problem, for interlocutors with the rebels, of guilt by association. As a result of the ‘terrorist organisation’ lists drawn up by governments and the UN, mediators face being labelled as terrorist sympathisers or even prosecution.8 Despite the championing of violent insurgency, in places as diverse as South Africa, Uganda and Nicaragua, from various quarters during the Cold War, ‘liberal peace has questioned violent conflict as a legitimate vehicle for social change’.9 Earlier and exceptional examples of criminalisation can be found in the US hunt for General Aideed in Somalia and the steadily increased pressure on Savimbi, but a pattern has only asserted itself in the new millennium. Virtually all post-Cold War rebel movements have been internationally vilified by the time of the peace-leading-to-elections deal, but the manner in which they were individually treated has changed enormously. Earlier deals between international bodies and rebels led to such events as the UN Trust Fund for the otherwise pilloried Renamo in Mozambique, the ubiquity of amnesties, and the absence anywhere of any ideas of post-conflict justice. South Africa in the mid-1990s was largely left to its own devices and set up the nonpunitive Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). By the time of the 2002 Sierra Leonean elections, however, such ideas had been supplanted, on the part of often self-appointed arbiters, by a desire to isolate, judge or eliminate those considered to be responsible. The ‘terrorist organisation’ lists have included such significant movements as the Maoist rebels in Nepal and the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. Interestingly, the sidelining of the UN, from the British unilateral intervention in Sierra Leone and the subsequent SLSC through to the USA-UK invasion of Iraq, has accompanied the liberalisation of international approaches to conflict. Another important product of the liberal-justice approach has been the internalising of all responsibility for the causes of the war. Those who could be referred to as the secondary stakeholders to the violence, i.e. ‘the suppliers, facilitators and cultural sustainers of inhumanity’,

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INTRODUCTION

7

and those responsible for the impoverishing world-trade order and neo-colonial structures, are largely absolved.10 The theoretical discourse of conflict and the practical general criminalisation of combatants, for example, have placed all the blame for African civil wars on faults in African society and politics, and have marginalised arguments which would give some weight to international conditions and stresses. More directly, there is no suggestion that anyone from, for instance, the French administration that supported Rwanda’s regime before the genocide will ever be arraigned in front of that tribunal, or that American officials involved with the Saddam Hussein government in the 1980s might be brought before an Iraqi war-crimes court. All ICC arrest warrants have so far been for Africans. Some of the recent developments might suggest that we are seeing a return to realpolitik. Coalition governments, including most combatant entities, were installed in Liberia and the DRC, and in Burundi rebels took power through the ballot box. Another viewpoint could be that the liberal agenda continues unabated, particularly when looking at the cases of Taylor, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda, where unprecedented talks stalled over the issue of ICC indictments, and Sudan. The shortcomings of the liberal agenda are, however, becoming clearer. UNITA has shuttled between outlaw status and indispensability over the past 20 years. Tellingly, this agenda has not been allowed much rein in Liberia, the DRC, Burundi and Côte d’Ivoire in the 2000s, due to the necessary presence of rebel groups and former governments in the political settlement, although the Liberian TRC has recommended prosecution for crimes against humanity, and the ICC is now active. Trials have not been set up in Israel/Palestine or Northern Ireland, and treaties protecting US citizens from prosecution have been forced on many smaller nations. It can still be said, however, that externally provoked negotiation has been to some extent supplanted by externally imposed justice. Where this has happened, the associated risks inherent in what is effectively an attempt to depoliticise conflict have sometimes undermined the credibility of political negotiations or of the peace itself. After examining the changes in international ideological tools used to attain liberal aims, a second briefer issue concerns whether the

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stated aims match the real ones. It may be questioned as to whether liberal aims have indeed superseded the realist state-interest model of Cold War relations.11 In intervention terms, the overriding aims of the USA in Iraq in 1991 may not have been the liberation of Kuwait but instead related to the political and economic importance of oil, and the US desire, in the face of a threatening alternative regional hegemon, to demonstrate its military and political capability to the Middle East and the wider world.12 In an early African example, an examination of the UN Congo operation in 1960 concluded that the peacekeeping force intervened in Congolese domestic politics, and was partial towards US interests.13 More recently, similar deductions have been made for the Somali intervention in 1992, and motives other than those stated, such as the reaffirmation of influence in francophone Africa, were noted for the French intervention in Rwanda in 1994. However, although there are many covert reasons for international intervention, this book concentrates on the overt rationale and methodology, which it is argued have the broader and more lasting effect on conflict in Africa. Despite the shift in international thinking, a large part of the perceived solution to conflict, and a feature that is intended to put a cap on the conflict-resolution process, continues to be the multi-party election, organised in order to determine who will occupy the central seat of power in a resurrected state. This is despite the problems and expense encountered. Outside Africa, the difficulties in Cambodia and the de facto separation of Serb-led and Croat/Muslim-led Bosnia can be ranked against the relative stability of post-war Nicaragua and El Salvador. In Africa, conflicts requiring resolution unhappily continue to emerge. Alongside the four cases in this study, there have been relatively recent post-conflict elections in Guinea-Bissau, DRC and Burundi, which have at least provided temporary respite. The Ivorian conflict finally came to its electoral watershed, after six postponements of the polls following the 2005 peace deal, in late 2010. At the time of writing, it is unclear what outcome will emerge, but a close election has already delivered a contested outcome with two candidates claiming victory and the exertion of considerable outside pressure for the incumbent to step down.

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INTRODUCTION

9

However, even with today’s tighter budgets and the mixed results, there is never any hesitation in looking for enough funds to stage the election. The involvement in internal peace processes of Western and other African governments has, indeed, remained high. The sheer scale of international interventions in conflict zones has been staggering. In the early post-Cold War era, Mozambique enjoyed large quantities of funding for its first post-conflict elections, and the whole process was effectively run by the UN. At the same time, the approach of international bodies and foreign governments was, ostensibly at least, to provide their ‘good offices’ in order that the country might solve its own problems. Even where the UN provided the infrastructure and resources, the political decisions remained with the national participants, and often with ex-combatants. Now, however, international interventions are increasingly conducted at the micro-level, where political decisions, such as the imposition of trials, are effectively made outside the country. Importantly, although post-Cold War modifications have had considerable ramifications on the candidates, results and outcomes of elections, and the Iraq war has in turn reinvigorated questions about intervention and sovereignty, the value of post-conflict elections per se has not been and is still not widely questioned.

Imperatives and trajectories in African conflict The two parts of the domestic terrain with which this book is concerned are conflict and elections. To begin to explain the consequences of post-conflict elections, there is a need for some understanding of the causes of African civil conflicts and the characteristics of African combatants. The debate concerning civil wars in Africa is particularly splintered. Much has been made of the recent purported transition from an old to a new style of warfare. During the 1980s, but particularly during the 1990s and into the new century, the emergence of wars and warriors with new rationales and methods has been frequently elaborated. In this apparently new style of war, gone are the conflicts primarily waged between states with a monopoly on the means of violence, or between states and organised groups with overtly political motives.14 The state

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is now, in many wars, just one of the actors, and not necessarily the strongest. In what have been called ‘new wars’, low-intensity conflicts and privatised, informal, predatory or post-modern wars, other actors have included splintering rebel groups, factionalised national armies, ethnically based militias, ‘sobels’ (soldiers by day, rebels by night), private armies, security firms and foreign-mercenary outfits.15 Attributed reasons for conflict now extend far beyond the political, although, at the very least, a thin political rationale is still touted by the vast majority of combatants. Instead, motivations – particularly as with the passing of the Cold war era there is no longer support from the USA or Soviet Union – are now more often found in ethnic cleansing, looting, mining or trade, or a mixture of two or more of these imperatives. War is seen as returning to a pre-Westphalian format and even as an end in itself.16 The results of recent civil conflicts in Africa have certainly been catastrophic in terms of the misery of the civilian population, many of who have become targets for the combatants. In this section, the changes in the way conflict has been viewed are tracked, and a framework within which to view recent African civil wars, which separates the causes from the precipitants of such conflicts, is proposed. The idea that these wars are actually new, however, is highly contentious. The notion that old wars were mostly dominated by geopolitical, ideological and collective goals, and that a substantial shift can be seen at the end of the Cold War, is open to question. Stathis Kalyvas argues that ‘the end of the Cold War seems to have caused the demise of the conceptual categories used to interpret civil wars rather than a decline in the ideological motivations of civil wars at the mass level’.17 In motivational terms, large-scale looting, criminal activities and coercion have been recurring elements of most civil wars. In less recent conflicts typically viewed as ideological, looting was evident in the Russian and Chinese Revolutions and the Indonesian anticolonial rebellion; and coercion widespread by leftist rebels in Latin America and the Vietcong in Vietnam. There was extreme violence in the Russian and Spanish civil wars and the consistent use of child soldiers in ‘old ideological’ conflicts such as in Afghanistan and Peru and in the form of young Red Guards during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.18

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At the same time, in both new and old scenarios, voluntary motivations for joining movements have always been heavily influenced by local considerations. Although there are cases, such as the anti-colonial war against the occupying Portuguese in Guinea-Bissau in the 1960s and 1970s – which has been held up as an impressive example of controlled nationalist rebellion, under the astute leadership of Amilcar Cabral – and some victorious leaderships such as those in Russia and China, who went on systematically to implement their ideologies once in power, the distinction between new and old civil conflicts does not emerge with any clarity.19 Even Cabral noted that people do not fight purely for ideas, but for material benefits for themselves and their children, and struggled with commanders turning into ‘petty despots’.20 The demise of the notion of ‘peasant wars’, which was in common use in the Cold War era and suggested a popular struggle against oppression, is equally interesting. If the reason for the current unpopularity of the term is that the level of violence towards the peasantry has increased, then this may only be a reflection of the ever more desperate struggles of peasants to obtain a viable livelihood.21 Probably the greatest change in conflict after the end of the Cold War has merely concerned sources of funding for states and insurgents.22 Avenues other than Cold War support, such as diamonds or oil or looting, must now be found. One version of the ‘new war’ argument emphasises the importance of identity politics, in contrast to the geopolitical or ideological goals of earlier wars.23 In tandem with the primacy given to identity in new wars, the strategic goal of these wars is often put forward as ‘population expulsion through various means’.24 From an African-conflict perspective, selective population expulsion does not seem to be very important. It is certainly true that many African civilians are relegated to numbers on refugee and displaced registers, but their journey to this destination has rarely been caused by deliberate acts of ethnic cleansing. Rwanda and Burundi may be exceptions, although the huge pressure on land is clearly another crucial factor, and the question as to why conflict occurs now after centuries of peaceful coexistence is not addressed by a purely ethnic explanation to the conflict.25 Liberia certainly had an ethnic rationale in both civil wars, but this logic was one

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of many, and arguably became less important as the war continued. In many African conflicts, although ethnicity plays a part, the notion of emptying an area of a certain ethnic group does not often apply; it is more the case that an area would be emptied of everyone. If ethnicity is such a ready tool for mobilisation, then some African rebels have proved remarkably poor in using their ‘ethnic capital’.26 Another element of this analysis involves the distinction between civic and ethnic nationalism. Mary Kaldor argues that ‘though the new wars appear to be between different linguistic, religious or tribal groups, they can also be presented as wars in which those who represent particularistic identity politics cooperate in suppressing the values of civility and multiculturalism’.27 This distinction does not sit easily in African affairs. Many African conflicts are not primarily based on ethnicity or religion, and conversely, civic nationalism of some sort has often existed in states with rich and open ethnic divergence. Kaldor’s conclusions concerning the identity-politics basis for recent wars sit alongside her comments on the economic bases of violence. In Bosnia, she notes that ‘the motivation of the paramilitary groups’, who committed the worst atrocities, ‘seems to have been largely economic, although there were clearly nationalist fanatics amongst them’. She quotes an estimate that ‘around 80% of the paramilitaries were common criminals and 20% were fanatical nationalists’, and states that ‘the latter did not last long (fanaticism is bad for business)’.28 This state of affairs would align more neatly with those who have concluded that it is greed which has driven recent conflicts. A second version of the new-war thesis does indeed conceptualise recent civil conflicts in terms of the distinction between greed and grievance as driving factors. Here again, the change from grievancebased to greed-based wars is often, but not always, observed around the end of the Cold War.29 These economic models of war are based on the theory of rational choice, where individuals face a calculation of risk versus material pay-off, or even between producing and appropriating – in other words a choice defined by profitability.30 Conversely, any rebellion based on collective action against injustice is destined to suffer and founder on the problems of free riders and time-consistency or non-instant gratification.31

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The conclusion here is that the main rationale for war does not centre on the discourse of ‘group grievances beneath which intergroup hatred lurks’. Instead, economic agendas are seen to be ‘central to understanding why civil wars start’.32 The demarcation of greed and grievance, however, has particular difficulties. Specifically in Paul Collier’s statistical models, for instance, he proxies both a low ‘amount of education in society’ and the presence of ‘lootable’ resources with greed.33 First, for example in Sierra Leone, the collapse of the previously lauded education system had much to do with the outbreak of violence. However, then to assume that those who chose or were persuaded, as opposed to those who were forced, to take up arms did not have a grievance against the incumbent government or local administration may be an assumption too far. Equally, the presence of resources does not necessarily indicate a reason to start fighting. The statistics may well highlight a prolongation of wars due to lootable resources, but this hardly explains the causes.34 Why, indeed, are underlying economic conditions associated with a greed-based rather than grievance-based approach to conflict?35 However, more importantly and on a more general level, one can take a number of these proxies and note that they could be credited to either camp; some actually are. Moreover, the motivations of looting and grievance are surely inextricably intertwined, and the search for ‘universal law-like causalities’ of conflict becomes more misleading than informative.36 This is certainly not to say that there are no glaring economic motives driving rebel movements, particularly in Africa. The predatory nature of some rebel and government armed forces is well documented. It is plausible that recent and current African civil wars appear to be on the whole more economically motivated than in the past, because the African state and its military arm have become significantly weaker. The need then to create organised, disciplined and durable rebel forces becomes less necessary in order to propagate the war.37 Equally, some of the less disciplined African rebels have emerged in areas, such as rural Liberia, where traditions of statehood are not well established.38 It is, though, the assumption that the wars usually start primarily from the motives of greed that is questionable. If this were the case, we would surely have witnessed at least one rebel leader retiring with

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the loot after a year or so, instead of risking all in a push to the capital, notwithstanding the appropriative actions of the leaders of several rebel groups once ensconced in government. Crucially, placing greed as the main causal factor relegates grievance or resistance to local or national oppression in all its forms to a minor role in conflicts, a hazardous supposition if one is considering how to resolve or prevent conflict and, in particular, to address its underlying causes. Caution, though, must be observed when endeavouring to credit new warriors with an ideological approach similar to that purported by leaders in old conflicts. Paul Richards was not entirely convincing in his assertions of an egalitarian ideological agenda for the RUF in Sierra Leone.39 He later clarified his point in his description of the RUF as a kind of accidental sect underpinned by practical egalitarianism, as opposed to the nepotism and birth order of Sierra Leonean society, and by messianic authority.40 Importantly, although the political left and right may have virtually disappeared from conflict rhetoric, the prominence of other rallying calls – such as religious idioms, local cultural practices and marginalisation to mobilise people, tools that have always been used alongside more recognisable universalistic appeals – does not necessarily indicate a lack of ideology, but instead reflects perhaps a shift in global political terms.41 For example, amongst other perceptions, Renamo was sometimes seen as fighting for Mozambique’s traditional and religious rural society, and UNITA in Angola as the champion of ‘African’ as opposed to Creole values.42 The idea, though, of ‘social bandits’, who redistribute and avenge, but refrain from predation of their own people is only partially applicable in such cases.43 The brutality of recent conflicts has also been presented as something new, and has been put forward to support all the above arguments. In terms of its newness, however, it hardly needs to be said that civil wars have always been particularly cruel. However, recent violence against civilians has been explained as the result of deep-seated ethnic hatred, unchecked mercenary activity, anger generated by the gap between haves and have-nots, or the actions and leadership of a type of deranged rebel despot peculiar to Africa. There have indeed been a disproportionate number of traumatic conflicts in Africa. Rejecting

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entirely any references to African ‘culture’ or, indeed, to rational selfinterest as explanatory factors of the extreme forms of African violence, Thandika Mkandawire looks instead at the players, often urban dwellers seeking power in the urban centres forced to fight in an alien countryside where the state has receded. These rebels, he says, ‘can rarely swim among the peasantry like Mao’s fishes in the sea’ and so resort to violence to control their environment.44 Persuasive up to a point, his argument suffers from the fact that many African postcolonial rebel movements were partially or even mostly rural.45 The argument may still, however, have some explanatory power when applied to some rebels, such as those in the original RUF invasion force, although a large rural element was soon incorporated.46 In contrast, there is the possibility that targeting of civilians can be a deliberate strategy employed not just to sow terror but to show strength and to attract greater levels of international aid to the area and to eventually demobilised fighters.47 In northern Uganda, the gross human-rights violations on both sides might be attributed to the need to control the population rather than territory, to the existence of a ‘lumpen militariat’ class and to the millenarian tendencies of the leadership.48 Inevitably, extreme forms of violence have local explanations, which are often linked to, on the one hand, extreme conditions, and on the other inadequate or extreme leadership. Related to violence against civilians, coercion has played a lead role in explanations of rebel success in recruiting fighters. Although this is clearly a factor, and a tragedy in the case of the many forcibly recruited child soldiers, it is not clear how rebel groups are able to function for prolonged and relatively successful periods, albeit often against poorly organised opponents in typically low-tech wars, if few of the foot soldiers are voluntary. One must wonder whether there are more volunteers than is sometimes estimated, and that the delineation between volunteer and forced recruit is not either well-defined or consistent over time.49 In contrast to arguments focusing on the rebels, emphasis has sometimes instead been placed on historical and structural conditions for the creation of an environment conducive to conflict.50 The weak state, emerging from the collision of under-resourced colonial ‘modern’

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states with entrenched patrimonial African political hierarchies, does not allow for subsequent state consolidation, and indeed opens up the body politic to contestation and conflict.51 Governments are then dominated by the logic of survival, are over-reliant on neo-patrimonial political practices, may resort to favouritism, and are liable to create domestic unrest.52 The state may thus be less and less able to control its internal territorial space and becomes more vulnerable to outside penetration. This enfeebled yet still dominant state becomes in developmental terms largely ineffective. Although this is rather a catchall theory, the importance of long-standing structural factors, absent or downplayed in the theories considered so far, is nevertheless highlighted and developed in this book, alongside analysis of the rebels. Largely missing from the conflict literature, and a common historical factor shared by the two states in this study, is the long-term and continued presence of an influential Creole community in colonial, pseudo-colonial or post-colonial settings. The sociological and political composition of the Sierra Leonean Krios and the Americo-Liberians does differ, but whether holding positions of political power, as the Liberian Creoles did almost exclusively for 150 years, or dominating commerce or the bureaucracy – which both groups did, and to some extent continue to do so – their huge influence is undeniable. Sierra Leone then underwent its version of under-resourced indirect British colonialism, enhanced by divided urban/rural rule. Both colonial Sierra Leone and the independent Liberian state under Americo-Liberian rule experienced rural vs urban and elite vs non-elite bifurcations of the state, beyond even those experienced by most other colonies.53 Each Creole community played an important supporting role in the creation of the elitist, often patronising, centralised and urban-biased political and economic development of the post-colonial state, and, for the most part unwittingly, influenced the build-up of grievances that contributed to the war. Finally, similar to suggestions above, emphases on the state or the rebels all serve to bind the causal factors and ensuing forms of civil wars within a domestic framework. Clearly, there are crucial internal logics to the conflicts, but there are also international forces at play.54 Although alternative theories concerning the legacy of colonialism,

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declining terms of trade and an inequitable international trading system were in their heyday equally as unbalanced as theories that focus on internal problems are now, there were at least countervailing factors. This contestation of history has disappeared from view.55 Some action has been taken to control the international trade in raw materials, particularly diamonds and timber, out of conflict zones, and that in small arms in the other direction. However, the linkage between neo-colonialism and conflict has been drowned out by the focus on the internal logics of new wars, and with it any emphasis on the international effects on the well-being of African citizens and nations. At the same time, the sub-regional dimensions of recent, supposedly civil wars cannot be overlooked. Although the vast majority of the protagonists may be nationals, there are in most cases significant international linkages, either through rebel support from neighbouring countries, governmental assistance or peacekeepers from sub-regional or global allies and groupings, the arms trade, mercenary activity or the trade in resources. West Africa and the Great Lakes region are particularly good examples. While much of this intervention can be seen in important supporting roles, there are clearly outside forces, or even events, that can influence or even dictate the timing of rebellions. Grievance, by itself, cannot offer a complete domestic explanation; otherwise much of the world would be in a state of constant rebellion. One must then identify in each case several interlocking factors, on the one hand, and triggers on the other, which are crucial in a build-up to war. Included in a list of common factors would be an extreme form of exclusion from the benefits of development, usually permitted or even engendered by the state, such exclusion often manifested in terms of identity difference; and rapid and severe economic decline.56 Put differently, insurgency derives from ‘blocked political aspirations’ and even ‘reactive desperation’.57 In Christopher Cramer’s description of the Mozambican war, he identifies severe economic decline, felt particularly hard in the countryside, as a main causal factor. However, he notes that ‘the rebel force, Renamo, whatever else its failings, managed quite successfully to attract support on the basis of being the opposite of Frelimo: that is, not rejecting so-called traditional customs and authorities, not dismissing religion, and not being Southerners’.58

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Where these intertwining and conjunctural factors would sit in an analysis based on just one of the notions discussed above is not immediately discernible. The immediate triggers or precipitants of the conflict often include interference from neighbouring states, regional destabilisation and the sudden availability of arms, or the emergence of specific actors able and willing to create rebellion. Equally, one might see a cascade of causal factors and triggers.59 Extreme cases of greed within governments will cause grievances in excluded parts of society, which in turn may create rebellion and unleash actors who may follow a path more marked for its greed. David Keen remarks that ‘peace may institutionalise all manner of exploitation and violence that can feed into war’ and that ‘a lasting solution to civil war depends not simply on creating incentives for the acceptance of peace, irrespective of how exploitative it may be, but’ – and this is very important – ‘on the creation of a peace that takes account of the desires and the grievances that drove people to war in the first place’.60 The debate over the causes of current civil wars in Africa is extremely important, as the conclusions impact directly on the strategy used to halt the conflict and even more on the methods employed to prevent a return to war. If rebels are seen as key factors rather than triggers, or purely as bandits, and grievances caused by political or economic failure are not viewed as an important causal factor, then military victory, however unlikely, over the rebels and then criminal tribunals would appear to be the best solution. In contrast, evidence may point us towards a different conclusion, where a history of political and economic failure is in dire need of addressing. If this is the case, the solutions would more likely lie in negotiation, amnesties, reconciliation, a broadening of political power and strategies to promote the articulation of grievance; in other words, the use of long-term and challenging political solutions as opposed to more mechanical military or legal means.

Democracy and representation in post-Cold War Africa The other side of the domestic terrain explored by this book concerns democratisation. It is crucial to consider at least briefly the plausibility

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of democracy in Africa. A second related consideration must then be the obstacles facing the consolidation of democracy. Before looking at this issue, however, it is useful to note that although the terms ‘democracy’, ‘democratisation’ and ‘elections’ are often conflated, there is no intention of doing so here. There are clearly many more aspects to democratisation than elections, such as the crucial processes of developing democratic institutions etc. However, since this book concerns itself with elections, whenever democracy is mentioned it is primarily with reference to that aspect of democratisation or democratic consolidation. Many observers have applied themselves to the study of elections in Africa, particularly since the end of the Cold War signalled the beginning of the end for Africa’s one-party systems. Sometimes referred to optimistically as the continent’s second liberation, the introduction of multi-party elections across much of Africa was driven externally by international pressure and internally by those seeking a change from often economically inept and sometimes repressive regimes. After some initial euphoria over this wave of ‘democratisation’ and the replacement of a number of the most crisis-ridden governments, second, third and fourth multi-party elections have sometimes been accompanied by a deep scepticism about the possibilities of democracy, and at other times by still more optimistic predictions for the future achievements of democratic consolidation. These conflicting conclusions are often derived from analyses of similar dynamics, namely those concerning transitional stages, the conflict between interest and identity politics, and the threats to democratic entities from both within (e.g. patronclientelism) and without (e.g. loss of national sovereignty). This part of the chapter considers the possibilities of democracy in the face of these areas of concern and, of particular interest to this book, that of winnertake-all elections and representation. Recent African transitions to democracy are situated within a similar global trend, which has particularly affected states in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In the extreme cases, such as ex-Yugoslavia and ex-Soviet states, it is considered that there are three or even four transitions occurring simultaneously, i.e. democratisation, marketisation, state formation and nation-building. More successful

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transitions in former socialist states appear to have occurred where there have been fewer problems in the latter two arenas.61 In Africa, almost all states face all these transitional difficulties. Democratic transitions, however, have not just been a post-Cold War issue; a similar debate, between the requirement for certain preconditions to democratic success and the immediate imposition and crafting of democratic practice to fit the circumstances, is long-standing. First, there is the contention that for cultural or structural socioeconomic reasons, there is currently little hope of electoral democracy being consolidated on the continent in the near future. Preconditions for democracy have included, variously: a productive bourgeoisie; a certain level of economic development; a tradition of conflict resolution through dialogue and consensus; an urban working class; and a conducive international environment – conditions which are often absent or in short supply in Africa.62 Social-science work of this type certainly fed into Western policy-making in the 1960s and 1970s and helps to explain some laissez-faire Western attitudes to African oneparty states at the time.63 Although much of this work is based on considered analysis of the development of democracy in many states, it is the development of one strand of democracy that has proliferated in the Western world under scrutiny in such texts. Critics have continued to question the notion of democracy before development or the idea that democracy can lay foundations for stability and prosperity.64 Citing the examples of the Newly Industrialised Countries (NIC) in Southeast Asia, some argue that strong undemocratic governments, isolated from societal demands and committed to development, have successfully led these states into relative prosperity. Political openings then followed. Ghana and Uganda are cited as African examples, although levels of development are not comparable to the NICs. Others have considerable reservations about the capacity of democratic dispensations to promote government accountability or facilitate economic growth, even if there are some pay-offs in terms of the opening of political space. Countering these arguments, it may be suggested that Mauritius and Botswana have achieved a degree of development under democratic conditions, and that many authoritarian states have achieved little at all. It is also worth questioning whether

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authoritarian governments along the lines of the NICs would have sufficient longevity to complete their development projects today, given the international climate and more importantly the raised awareness of political rights now understood by domestic populations. Equally, democratic legitimacy can provide governments with a degree of latitude in their actions, and worst-case governments can be removed. In more recent decades we have seen a reversal of the 1960s and 1970s thinking on preconditions, whereby some analysts, particularly those associated with international donor organisations, now argue that economic development is more likely to be achieved after democratic institutions and procedures have been established.65 At Western policy-making level, these analyses have served to delegitimise much of the earlier work. Current policy still often lays the blame for economic failure at the feet of the state, which is portrayed as in dire need of democratic restructuring and accountability. Having restructured, the state is then in better shape to deliver market-led economic development and the institution-building and social reconfiguration that was required by the earlier analysis in advance of democratisation. This has had a major effect on the continent, with levels of loans, aid and investment riding on the holding of national elections and the appearance of other indicators of the development of democracy. On a global level, democracy has become a major export of the West.66 However, events in the 1990s have been viewed as ‘Africa’s nontransition to democracy’. Some form of political liberalisation has indeed taken place in the continent, perhaps a breath of fresh air, but there has not been a drastic or radical restructuring of the context and content of politics.67 The breath of fresh air must certainly include the electoral unseating of long-time presidents such as Kenneth Kaunda in Zambia, Kamuzu Banda in Malawi, Matthieu Kérékou in Benin (even though he promptly returned to power in the subsequent elections), Abdou Diouf in Senegal and Daniel arap Moi in Kenya; the constitutional stepping-down of Jerry Rawlings in Ghana, of Sam Nujoma in Namibia and of Olesegun Obasanjo in Nigeria; the simultaneous unnerving of autocrats left in power; the emergence of new opposition and issues; and probably most importantly the opening up of political space.

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Few of the replacements for these leaders or the new groupings of opposition and other users of this opened political space, however, have so far displayed great democratic credentials or distinguished themselves by distancing their policies and strategies from those of their predecessors.68 Even on the most obvious indicator of democratic health, there are many subtle and not so subtle ways to manipulate a ballot, devices to which old and new incumbents have felt the need to resort on a regular basis.69 The difference in the 1990s and 2000s, however, is the need to at least present a reasonably clean front to the election. No longer can African incumbents rely on Cold War solidarity for Western nations to look the other way when ballot boxes are disappearing into rivers. Rightly or wrongly, today’s aid and investment comes tied with political conditionalities, including at the minimum a relatively clean bill of electoral health verified by independent observers. Not so difficult to procure, but the procedure has reduced the flagrant and blatant ballot-rigging of elections such as that in Uganda in 1980 and Liberia in 1985, although Zimbabwe, approaching the status of pariah state since 2000, would be one recent exception. Incumbents have even been electorally unseated, an almost unprecedented occurrence before 1990. With some notable exceptions, and despite the now almost ubiquitous and vocal opposition calls for annulment which take advantage of the known inadequacies of African electoral infrastructures, discrepancies often would not have affected the overall results.70 Other areas of the democratic infrastructure, although still weak, can be said to be undergoing similar incremental improvements, at a minimum because of their relative longevity and the normalisation of democracy and the establishment of some democratic rituals. The debate over the nation and the politics of its sub-identities is also long-standing. For some, including many one-party African leaders in the 1970s and 1980s and, in more recent times the current Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, the notion of allowing political parties and electoral campaigns to follow lines of cleavage encourages identity politics, patron-clientelism and ultimately conflict.71 In Samora Machel’s straightforward words in post-independence Mozambique: ‘For the nation to live, the tribe must die.’ Machel was not, though, particularly prophetic, as the nation in some senses has lived and the tribe has

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certainly not died. Voting patterns are, of course, notoriously complex in any country, but the evidence in many cases that voting still runs on rough ethno-regional lines, even allowing for a degree of cross-cutting influences, is hard to avoid. The constitutional modelling of Museveni in the late 1980s and of Ibrahim Babangida in early 1990s Nigeria, acknowledged, notwithstanding some less benevolent reasons for their actions, the powerful influence of ethnicity on electoral choice. There are indeed cross-cutting appeals to the electorate that affect patterns of voting based on identity politics. Nationalism, class, urbanrural divisions and age may all play major supporting roles. The ultimately catastrophic nationalist appeal to Ivoirité by Henri Konan Bédié in the 1990s was identity politics on a new and larger scale.72 In the same period, Jerry Rawlings’ successful appeals to the Ghanaian rural population emphasised his government’s claimed record on and commitment to the rural economy.73 Robert Mugabe has positioned himself as a protector of ‘African values’ against homosexuality and the arrogant attitudes of white Zimbabweans and the West. By many accounts, Abdoulaye Wade’s victory from opposition in the 2000 elections in Senegal was delivered by the youth vote, and Ernest Koroma’s similar triumph in Sierra Leone in 2007 was boosted by this constituency. In all these cases, however, there is an overarching ethno-regional logic. Equally, there is often an implicit assumption that the democratisation process in Africa (and elsewhere) will develop organically along the lines of a purported Western model: a multi-party democracy in which voters choose between parties organised around interests rather than identity politics.74 Indeed, the form of democracy currently being exported to Africa from the West via conditionalities on aid appears to resemble exactly Western-developed democracy. It is contended that the current aim of the Western democratisation agenda is to recreate democracy in its own image, and in so doing establish the minimal ‘neutral’ state, the liberal public sphere or ‘civil society’, and the liberal ‘self’.75 As a case in point, the emphasis on the broader reforming role of civil society seems to be a leap of faith, when by far the strongest societal organisations are ethnic and religious associations, which are often excluded, financially and intellectually, from civil society and the reform process, as they are uncivic and particularistic.76 This then is a

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project fundamentally to alter African societies, and a task of monumental proportions. Considering that early independence leaders, such as Sekou Touré and Samora Machel, had little success in their radical attempts to adjust Guinean and Mozambican societies to the cause of national unity and socialism, it is thought that the ‘liberal project’ will most likely encounter similar obstacles.77 However, it has also been argued that the democratic project ‘is everywhere emergent and incomplete’, and the West can only claim a ‘historical priority’, not a ‘monopoly of its current or future forms or definitions’.78 Constitutional representative government is only a recent phenomenon in the West, that had far from materialised in its present form by the start of the African colonial period.79 Other forms of democracy that may develop could conceivably be based on entirely different foundations. As Claude Ake has suggested, there is no alternative to recreating democracy in every historical instance, which is what all the ‘established democracies’ had to do.80 It has so far been relatively easy for those tied to Western liberal thinking to dismiss ideas of indigenous consensual political practices as fronts for repressive one-party or no-party polities. However, the use of such ideas to cloak regimes hanging on to power does not necessarily negate the ideas themselves. Despite the appropriation of consensual ‘African’ political forms as a legitimation of one-party rule in 1970s Sierra Leone, Mariane Ferme argues that the Mende practice of ‘hanging heads’, with its ‘open-ended and provisional form is often better suited to hold conflict at bay, than the finality of vote counts in competitive elections’.81 The experience of Uganda under Museveni over the last three decades has tested one theory of no-party consensual politics all the way up to state level, a rare response to calls for more participatory forms of democracy.82 Although considerably more successful, open and durable than Ghanaian and Burkinabe attempts at political participation in the 1980s, Museveni’s Movement came under attack, up to the restoration of multi-partyism in 2005, not only for its ban on political party activity and for its bureaucratic control of the various levels of local participatory government, but also for acting like a party itself, dominating power to the exclusion of others and allowing or provoking the atrophy of the participatory system.83

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For some, ethnicity and religion are positive societal factors if properly harnessed.84 Besides, trying to persuade Inkatha not to appeal to Zulu nationalism or the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) to abandon its Mende base would be largely futile. Many African political parties are forced to appeal to voters outside their ethnic, religious or regional base as the base alone is not enough to deliver an election victory. Equally, coalitions can encourage political negotiation. Crawford Young suggests that there can be no conclusion as yet that identity politics offers an insuperable obstacle to political liberalisation. He goes on to say that cultural pluralism needs to be acknowledged rather than ignored, and arrangements that encourage inclusionary politics and intercommunal cooperation promoted.85 Indeed, he also suggests the possibility of some form of truce between ethnicity and nationalism, where ethnic groups struggle for the resources of the state but do not rip it apart.86 Probably most importantly, and notwithstanding the acknowledged fluidity and often recent invention of identities, it seems highly improbable that Africa’s ethnic identities will decline in significance over the coming years. Beyond the struggle for tangible benefits, we should not underestimate the primordial strength of ethnicity and the intense passions of group comparison, worth and legitimacy that work to fuel ethnic competition.87 A threat to any form of democratisation on the continent comes also from another post-Cold War trend, the tendency towards what has been referred to succinctly as ‘choiceless democracies’.88 In an era when international institutions make loans and aid conditional on adherence to laissez-faire economics and to liberal forms of democracy, the hands of political parties are firmly tied. There is the danger that disillusionment will develop to a level that questions the democratic political system as well as the parties, perhaps through lack of choice, but more likely from economic failure and by association the failure of democracy to deliver significant increases in prosperity.89 There are signs of such disillusionment, for instance the global phenomenon of decreasing voter turnout and the occasional military coup or coup attempt – as in Mauritania in 2005, Guinea in 2008 and Niger in 2010 – but the feared trend has yet to become embedded.

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However, an equally damaging result of ‘choiceless democracies’ may well be the deepening of the reliance in some African political systems on patron-clientelism, often arranged along lines of identity. The colonial state bequeathed a political system heavily reliant on neopatrimonialism, a large part of which – whether under democratic or authoritarian rule – is the relations between patrons and clients. Some have already observed an increase in the trade of state resources for political support emerging from the vote-catching requirements of multi-party politics.90 At the same time, others would insist that governments answerable to the populace once in a while will institute a check on widespread or more flagrant abuses. However, once any forms of ideological difference or controls over economic policy are removed, there remains, despite some indications as outlined above, much less at issue beyond the resource allocation of a still-dominant state sector to a largely impoverished electorate. The marginalisation and lack of purpose of opposition parties outside election times, the attraction for MPs of crossing the floor in parliament, and some almost de facto oneparty states – all reasons for concern in many African countries – are reinforced by the patron-client political logic. Unfettered patron-client systems have led to severe economic decline and even meltdown, as seen in states as far apart as Liberia and Zaïre/Congo. There are equally some instances, such as in Uganda, Senegal or Ghana, of patronclientelism existing side-by-side with conventional public-sector investment in a relatively successful economy. Liberal economists insist that current policies will ultimately reduce the dominance of the state and decentralise resources out to the private and non-government sector. If this is the case, then there is a long way to go and there are considerable forces at work pulling in the opposite direction. This is not to suggest that illiteracy and low levels of education lead to ill-informed or irrational public decisions at the ballot box; there is certainly no proven link between education and political awareness. Even the purported impact of, for instance, biased state media on rural voters could be seen as quite patronising and highly questionable.91 In a mainly urban environment, oral distribution of political information, or radio trottoir, thrives in conditions of government censorship of the media and in the context of Africa’s inherited oral traditions. In

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a striking comparison, Stephen Ellis suggests that ‘an African audience gives far more weight to the spoken word than a European one, which generally believes little, and certainly little concerning national politics, that is not written or broadcast on radio or television’.92 Most likely, Africans glean their political information through channels that are ‘generally diffuse, highly idiosyncratic and not tied to specific types of contacts or single information sources’.93 Notable is the tacit acceptance of cliental resource distribution as a legitimate practice, among not just African leaders but also a sizable proportion of African electorates. A striking example is the Wolof term demokaraasi, which has been described as a Senegalese interpretation of democracy, meaning a set of practices involving ‘participation in solidarity networks as well as solidaristic and clientelist forms of voting’.94 Political legitimacy and electoral victories in Africa are often built on the perceived ability of the president or local politician to act as a father figure and provider, while remaining within the bounds of acceptable personal consumption of goods.95 Cliental re-distribution is acceptable, as long as it does not become wholesale corruption, where the channels narrow and the benefits accruing to the president and his immediate entourage become vastly inflated. There is, however, no fixed point where political illegitimacy begins. Rather, there is a gradually diminishing legitimacy, in which the speed of decline is determined by the immoderation of the corruption and, particularly since the post-Cold War fall in government funding, the decreasing availability of resources for distribution. This understanding of political legitimacy could be read as an African indigenisation of democracy which contains within it the crucial problems of uneven resource distribution and the monopolisation of power. If, however, a stable state were to be maintained under these conditions for the long term, it would appear that the provider’s net has necessarily to be cast wide, and central power to be open to challenges and a degree of accountability. Probably the most significant problem ensuing from African elections is that of the unity and indivisibility of power.96 Here, the issue of representation looms large. The winners of elections claim the whole prize. There is little room for oppositional politics, as the opposition is starved of influence and resources. Even where the parties from the

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era of single-party rule have not succeeded in hanging on to power, there are few cases in Africa where the replacement has not substituted itself in a system of dominant party rule.97 Although an alternation of power, after the first wave of multi-party elections in the early 1990s, has occurred in Senegal (2000) and Kenya (2002), the number of countries experiencing a double alternation since the end of the Cold War – for instance Ghana (2000 and 2008) – is minimal. Crossing the floor to the party in power is a regular tactic, and an expedient method of providing goods for yourself and your constituents. When veteran Sierra Leonean politician S.B. Marah explained his reasoning for taking up a ministerial position in a nine-year-old government that had imprisoned him and violently harassed his own party, he noted that ‘in Africa to be in opposition is alright, but if you really want to help your people you have to come to the government side of parliament’.98 So, representation in central government is required, if only in order to provide your constituents with patron-cliental resources. The winnertakes-all problem is then compounded by huge majorities, delivered by voters who would rather be on the side of the winning coalition than disenfranchised along with the losers.99 It has equally been observed that ‘the weaker the largest party, the more likely the democratic gains from the transition are to be preserved’.100 Importantly, it is the arrogance of power often accompanying huge majorities and winner-takesall elections that is most destructive, leading, as it often does, to the marginalisation of sectors of society and the redundancy of the political opposition. Despite, or because of, the obstacles of underdevelopment, electoral fraud, the weakness of the state and of civil society, political ethnicity and patron-clientelism, theoretical models have been proposed. The more tested models regard plurality single-member district electoral structures (SMD) or proportional representation systems (PR).101 The advantages of the former are seen as a tendency towards broadly-based and effective government and opposition, mobilised around socioeconomic rather than cultural or territorial divides, and the preservation of the linkage between constituent and representative. On the other hand, PR is more likely to create coalition governments more reflective of the realities of African states, allows greater access to

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minority parties, reduces the chances of the appearance of regional fiefdoms and results in a distribution of seats that more accurately reflects the number of votes won. However, the violence ensuing from Lesotho’s SMD electoral system in 2002, which allowed the ruling party to take 79 out of 80 seats with just 54 per cent of the vote, can be contrasted with Malawi’s relatively peaceful SMD story. Further, in Africa, plurality systems do not seem to produce institutionalised oppositions and PR does not appear to lead to fragmentation, as is supposed to happen. The way forward for multi-partyism may then be to devise electoral rules in order to engineer more representative government in divided societies. Arend Lijphart’s comparative explorations have led him to recommend a consociational model of democracy for plural societies that focuses on the cooperative attitudes and behaviour of the leaders of the different segments of the population.102 In a later study, Lijphart concluded that the consensus model outperforms the majoritarian model on all counts including economic management, control of violence and the kindness of public-policy orientation. Although the majoritarian model is straightforward and produces government by the majority, the consensus model seeks to maximise the size of that majority. The majoritarian model, he argues, is exclusive, competitive and adversarial, whereas the consensus model is characterised by inclusiveness, bargaining and compromise.103 Radical extensions of Lijphart’s model have also been proposed encompassing predetermined seat allocations for winning and opposition parties.104 One must note, however, that consociationalism based on ethnic parties will not be applicable in all contexts, and may lead, on the one hand, to problems in demarcating ethnic groups and on the other to the reification of political ethnicity. The application of democracy in Africa is, then, laden with many questions, from the suitability for African society of various democratic forms, to the capacity of democracy to deliver development, and the apparent transformation of democracy from a Western concept to an African actuality. What can be said is that democracy remains an ongoing project, and its capacity to mediate political conflict in Africa has a rather uneven record. Applying democracy and, specifically, elections

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in a post-conflict environment is even more fraught. Conditions and choices are starker, and other forces, such as security, an international presence and transforming rebel organisations, may be at play. The next section looks at these further complications.

Democratisation after conflict It must of course be stressed that there are significant differences between peacetime and post-conflict elections. For instance, security issues tend to dominate, and the overriding concern of an electorate to attain peace, after enduring years of conflict, may comprehensively alter voting patterns.105 Equally, in a post-conflict environment the issue of grievances gains extra weight. If only for a better chance of reconciliation, there is the need for a political dispensation with greater representation than before. Certain crucial criteria that need to be in place for there to be hope of a successful electoral conclusion to a conflict-resolution process have been identified.106 Adequate time and flexibility is an important factor. Studies tend to indicate that early elections do not often contribute to the consolidation of peace and democracy in war-torn societies – Liberia in 1997, Angola and Cambodia being examples. With adequate time allowed, more people may return home and be registered, institutions can be built up, and security may be more assured. A lengthened time for the bargaining process before any elections also potentially allows the former combatants time to practise negotiation and compromise, tools very useful in an electoral democracy, and to consider a wider range of issues than those debated in the peace negotiations. South Africa took four years to reach its elections phase, during which consensus over the rules of the game and a culture of bargaining were arguably developed. Time spans, however, are inevitably bounded by international funding of security and the general instability. There may, equally, be those in the system, for example the temporary office-holders in an interim government, who would benefit considerably from a delay in the timetable and would work towards that end. Preconditions for post-conflict elections have been put forward as the existence of a state capable of performing

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essential functions; a working consensus among the former warring parties about national boundaries, the structure and functioning of government and relations between national and sub-national units; a demonstrable political commitment among the same bodies to carry out the agreed-upon peace accord or pact; significant progress towards the demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants; and the participation of refugees. It would be churlish to argue with any of these features, but even in the best cases most of these factors have been only partially implemented. Further, interim national-unity governments are sometimes seen as a useful medium-term stepping-stone to national elections.107 Such interim administrations may also lay the foundations of an urgently needed new political order, with participation from all walks of society. Equally, they can cement a peace deal, with the participation of former combatants who may take the opportunity to transform themselves for the political arena. While conflict-resolution processes in countries such as Liberia have indeed established several interim governments, some relatively successful and others not, these administrations have been short-term constructions and mostly in states where the central authority has all but collapsed. The effects of the Rwandan powersharing experiment in a functioning state were catastrophic. The fear here is that, in the absence of a military victory, the inherent instability of such governments – effectively coalitions of combatants, or minimalist elite pacts riddled with suspicions – gives them, one way or the other, a short lifespan.108 There could be interim governments run by technocrats or under the auspices of regional or international bodies, but the issue of legitimacy and stability over an extended period is worrisome. On occasions when there is a central authority that can still operate in a state-like fashion, the likelihood that the incumbent government would share power before the election is slim, unless considerable outside force can be brought to bear. National conferences as a part of political transitions, events that have so far been largely confined to francophone African states in relatively peaceful environments, are another possible post-conflict avenue. The record so far, however, has been patchy: a reasonable success in Benin and failures in Togo and, in a very protracted manner, in

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Zaïre. One suggestion is that a shift of focus from the development of systems to determine who exercises power to discussions about what should be done with this power might bode well for a version in a post-conflict scenario, i.e. a long-term civil society-driven national conference before competitive elections.109 A reliance on civil society, a theme that emerged in national conferences and generally in the 1990s, is, however, fraught. The idea that civil society is grounded in consensual conflict management and that it takes into consideration the interests of all social groups is problematic.110 There are certainly very important societal processes, notably the contribution to conflict resolution of elders’ councils in Somaliland and local cathartic processes in many post-war settings. However, to place the peace-making onus on civil society is asking too much of non-combatant, embryonic and often marginal organisations. Decentralisation has featured in some thinking111 – the unhealthy concentration of power and aspirations at the core may be addressed in this way. Often these processes are instigated after the initial post-conflict election, although rarely with much proliferation of power. The possibility of conducting local elections before any national polls leaves power at the centre in the hands of the interim government, with all its inherent problems. The particular importance of international electoral assistance and of strategies to mitigate the divisive effects of elections has also been suggested.112 Electoral assistance already comes in some forms, such as international support for the election commission and for civil society groups. Some resources do make their way to political parties, but it is in this area that there are considerable shortfalls. Probably the largest of these issues is the engineering of the elections in order to best prevent a return to conflict. Some favour the post-election national-unity government, which proved successful in South Africa. Here, the electoral competition decides the proportions of such a government, avoiding a winner-takes-all outcome. Such arrangements, however, undermine a major attribute of democracy, that of competitive accountability. Further, monopolistic fragmentation of the political elite and a grand coalition could lead to de facto single-party rule and to governments that cannot be voted out of office.113 The advantages, however – namely a stake in government for electoral losers, and the expectation that the

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latter can remain alive in the aftermath, would most likely outweigh the disadvantages.114 Power-sharing may also amount to a continuing negotiating forum. Equally, there are various formulae for translating votes into seats, as discussed in the section above. Finally, and crucially, largely unaddressed in the post-conflict election literature and of particular interest in this book is the application of international war-crimes trials and the political capacity of the rebel forces.115 Justice, trials and the consequent criminalisation of former combatants crucially affect whether a peace deal holds, whether an election takes place, and subsequently the outcomes of the elections in terms of candidates, results and the contribution of the elections to stability. On the one hand, it has been argued that allowing rebel groups into government, whether interim or not, devalues the institution, legitimises the warring parties and allows impunity. On the other hand, rebel forces have sometimes been seen as part of the solution. If there is no peace, then there will certainly be no further consolidation of democracy or government. This then raises the issue of the transformation of predominantly military rebel forces into political parties. The range of electoral candidates and hence in many circumstances the results and the possibility of stability are at stake. There have been relative successes, where a rebel force has been transformed into a political machine that has, in electoral terms, mobilised a constituency, and there have been outright failures where the political wing has collapsed. At issue here is the involvement, in the short term, of rebel forces in a political rather than a military process, and in the longer term the plausibility of representation, whether through clientelist, ethnic, populist or programmatic methodologies, for those historically marginalised. The task of representing aggrieved sectors of society in the political process and maximising the possibility of reconciliation, either undertaken by an ex-combatant or a civilian political party, remains of great significance.

Grounds for comparison The outcomes of the four elections are superficially in two camps. The 1996 Sierra Leonean and 1997 Liberian elections both preceded a swift

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return to conflict. In the case of Sierra Leone, there was no peace deal at the time of the 1996 elections, although a lull in the fighting enabled polling to take place in the towns and parts of the countryside. A peace deal was signed shortly afterwards but fell apart. In Liberia after 1997, civil war broke out once again within three years. Contrasted with these two outcomes are the so far entirely different environments that have emerged from the 2002 Sierra Leonean and 2005 Liberian elections. In both, a fragile peace has been maintained, even allowing further national elections in Sierra Leone in 2007. The important considerations here, though, are in the candidates, the results and in the likelihood or otherwise that stability will continue. A landslide for the SLPP in 2002 can be contrasted with the closely contested Liberian polls of 2005. A poorly performing former-rebel and civilian opposition in Sierra Leone compares to an almost entirely civilian election in Liberia. The question as to whether either of these elections has delivered a political dispensation that is more or less likely to bring about reconciliation is a key one. It is argued here that a comparison of the chosen two African cases is plausible given the colonial and pseudo-colonial legacies, the weakness and further weakening of the states and governments, the similarities of their civil wars in terms of the levels of destruction, the modes of combat, international interference and the reasons for the outbreak of conflict, and the elections that were hastily organised to cap the fragile peace processes in wars with no outright victors. Liberia and Sierra Leone are often described as two analytically inseparable states, and have consequently often been politically considered together. As Christopher Clapham notes, the two states ‘have already so much in common that it is plausible to suppose that the experiences of each may help to illuminate the other’. Indeed, shared indigenous religious practices and crossborder cultures, similar extraction industries, political authoritarianism and comparable economic decline, mutual interference and, finally, disastrous civil conflicts, have highlighted the difficult path for both political entities.116 In addition, Liberia and Sierra Leone also have a shared history in terms of influential and long-standing Creole communities. However, there are divergences in the four cases of particular interest here, which highlight particular key issues. There are certainly important differences, such as the timing of the elections, the size

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of the international intervention force and the extent of the provision of security, which affect the outcomes of elections and impact on the prospects of stability. However, considered of at least equal importance in this book is the evolving approach of international bodies to local actors and the multiple ways in which old and new political parties have responded to the electoral processes. In each case, the post-election outcomes have been significantly affected by these divergences. There are other cases in sub-Saharan Africa that are comparable, even if not as immediately as Sierra Leone and Liberia, and could have been taken into account. Namibia in 1990 and South Africa in 1994 have not been considered in this study. The special nature of elections there, where patterns of voting were and are fundamentally different to the rest of the continent, where the state and economy remained largely intact, and where the security forces did not surrender control over any significant areas, renders these cases less appropriate for comparison. Arguably, two of the most significant African cases from the end of the Cold War to 2005 are covered in depth here. In addition, important aspects of the case of Mozambique in the early 1990s and more recent processes in the DRC and Burundi are contrasted in the concluding chapter. The events in Angola in 1992 and Guinea-Bissau in 1999–2000 could also have been included, but given the limits on time and space, only occasional references to them are made. The processes of conflict and democratisation have collided at the interface between civil war and peace on an increasingly frequent basis in troubled post-Cold War African countries. Moreover, the latter, mainly in the form of national elections, is now almost always seen as the solution to the former. Given the variety of outcomes and the array of international forms of intervention, how do we explain these various, albeit not conclusive, outcomes? All through this enquiry and certainly before explanations can be arrived at, it must be kept in mind that a successful solution to a conflict is not only an elusive desire but also an elusive concept to define. On the one hand, there are clearly, in each case, deep and difficult political, societal and international problems to which solutions have to be found. On the other hand, it is not abundantly clear if and when these problems have been adequately resolved. If one were to observe what are considered two stable and relatively well-governed

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African states, Uganda and Senegal, one would note that each of these countries has harboured an internal civil war over several decades. One would also be aware that they have held relatively free and open nationwide elections (albeit mostly no-party elections in Uganda) for the presidency and legislature during this period. Equally, countries have emerged from conflict only to return to a state of war, with strikingly similar combatants and unresolved issues, at a later date. Sudan maintained its window of peace for over a decade in the 1970s and early 1980s before lapsing into an even longer period of civil war. In Liberia, more recently, the 1997 election was followed by further conflict within three years. While bearing in mind that an outcome is always too early to tell, as Chou En Lai reminded us on the French revolution, questions certainly arise as to the criteria by which a resolution of conflict is judged a success and, equally, at what point this judgement can be made. Looking at Bosnia, Sierra Leone and even Mozambique, one is forced to wonder how far the relative peace is sustainable over the long term.

Key questions Using country-specific historical work, Chapter Two explores the comparable ramifications on stability of the long-term dominance of small urban elites, with partial outside origins and only limited connections to the rest of the populace. A model of state-society relations, built on top of the distortions of colonial or black-settler rule, was thus established with inbuilt flaws and imbalances. The focus can then be brought forward in time to consider the waning of Creole dominance and the anatomy of subsequent Sierra Leonean and Liberian regimes, which built further on this state-society model. In Chapters Three (Sierra Leone) and Five (Liberia), the outbreak and the prolongation of wars are explored, noting that there may be shifting explanations as the wars have progressed. The underlying root causes of the war will be separated as far as is possible from the precipitants and situational factors of the conflict in order that the political and societal problems are not confused with the actions of rebels and governments or the immediate regional or international triggers to the conflict. Chapters Four (Sierra Leone) and Six (Liberia) are given over to examinations of

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the electoral processes. Chapter Seven then compares and examines the factors that affected the outcomes of the Sierra Leonean and Liberian post-conflict elections, and postulates that two factors, which are not often given due credence in the literature, are of particular importance: first, the international presence and discourse; and second, the political capacity of the various former military and civilian actors. Both factors, however, are built around the assumption developed through the book that the wars began as a result of the historical accumulation of grievances, which, if not properly articulated and addressed, will most likely lead back to war. Finally, and on a wider basis, Chapter Eight considers, first, the actual and theoretical impact of political party resources and capacity enhancement, constitutional engineering and justice on the outcomes of post-conflict elections, while at the same time making comparisons with other post-conflict electoral scenarios; and second, the relevance of this book to the general study of democracy in Africa. Of prime interest in this study is the exploration of the divergences in the candidates, the results, the winners, the margins of victory and the contribution of post-conflict elections to stability, or indeed instability, in Sierra Leone and Liberia. In undertaking this exploration, the book will necessarily look at the timing of the elections, the nature of the international intervention force and the extent of the provision of security. However, it is the varying approach of international bodies to local actors and the concurrent capacity of these same local actors, particularly rebel groups, to operate in a political setting, which is least developed in the literature but is equally if not more crucial in explaining the divergent outcomes. Important work has been written in describing African rebel groups and the reasons they fight. Equally, the changing international environment as it impinges on Africa has been dissected. There are essential works on African democracy, and sometimes on where it comes face to face with conflict. However, it is the intersection of local actors, international bodies and post-conflict elections which is important here. This conjunction brings together the works mentioned above, but at the same time refocuses the question on the areas where this literature is light, namely those concerning rebel groups and international bodies, in this case during the recent Sierra Leonean and Liberian elections.

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CHAPTER 2 THE LONG ROAD TO CONFLICT IN SIER R A LEONE AND LIBER IA

Colonialism, settlements and early politics The creation and development of small, originally diverse, but ultimately cohesive and influential migrant communities, most often but not always dominated by European diasporas, was a notable feature of the nineteenth century. Probably because of the apparent submerging of these communities under the economic and cultural dominance of the colonists, their languages and ideas have been little studied.1 Almost certainly as a cause of their political subjugation or international marginalisation, their politics have also been only occasionally scrutinised. Most importantly, in the case of once influential and often still important Creole communities, the study of their political legacy has particularly suffered, especially when considered alongside the volume of literature on the colonial legacy from the same period.2 The colonial period also left its mark on Sierra Leone as it did on the wider set of African states. Indeed, it is the interplay of colonial (or in the case of Liberia pseudo-colonial) structures, pre-colonial continuities and the Creole presence which is of significant interest here. It is the intention in this chapter to make a direct comparison of these

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historical processes in the two states, and to highlight the ensuing effects on the political fabric in each country. Sierra Leone: an uneasy world of settlers, European colonists and Africans For over a century, the British Colony of Sierra Leone consisted of little more than the settlement of Freetown, subsequently the capital of the independent state, and its immediate environs. It owed its existence to colonisation societies established to repatriate emancipated slaves and ‘free persons of colour’ from Britain and the Americas to Africa. The initial settlement of Londoners on the Freetown peninsula in 1787 failed, but the subsequent settlements – including former soldiers who had fought for the British in America and Maroons from Jamaica, both of which groups had initially been taken to the British colony of Nova Scotia – eventually established the Creoles, or Krios, in Africa. The numbers were swollen through the nineteenth century by ‘recaptives’: Africans, particularly Yoruba from Nigeria, who had been liberated from slave ships by the British navy, and up-country people who became assimilated through residence in Freetown or within Krio families. Krio identity developed from its Western influences of church, education, trade and dress, its African influences from recaptives and traditions passed down from the original settlers, its own language derived from English, and its differentiation from the British colonialists on one side and the Africans on the other. By the end of the nineteenth century, differences between settlers, recaptives and some of the local Africans who had moved to the Colony had become blurred, and all were considered Krio, although this was not a uniform identity, given the class divisions and the sub-groups such as the Muslim Krios, or Akus.3 Their differentiation from indigenous Sierra Leoneans, however, earned the Krios a reputation for paternalism or assumed superiority, traits that some are still accused of today.4 For a long time holding the status of British subjects, which was not afforded to Sierra Leoneans outside the small Colony area, Krios often referred to the UK as ‘home’. The Sierra Leonean nationalist, H.C. Bankole-Bright, was seen as a troublemaker by the British, but still spoke of his ‘organic connection with the British crown’.5 Remarkably,

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this connection persists amongst some.6 As Patrick Caulker observes, the Krios were ‘taught by their mentors, the British, that they were superior to the autochthones’ and ‘were, as they saw themselves, the interpreters of Western culture to other Africans’.7 During colonial times, they were able to benefit from the economic opportunities, particularly the import-export trade, and could also be found all along the British West African coast and even in the Belgian Congo, working as government officials, doctors, magistrates, teachers and missionaries. Schools flourished in the Colony, and Fourah Bay College, with its roots extending back to 1827, was affiliated to Durham University in 1876. John Thorpe became the first Sierra Leonean, as early as 1850, to be called to the English Bar. Sierra Leoneans were seen and saw themselves as ‘the intellectual leaders, the vanguard of political and social advance in West Africa’.8 It was not until after the Berlin Conference of 1884–85, with its emphasis on ‘effective occupation’ of territory to indicate sovereignty, that British authorities attempted to impose their dominion over, rather than simply trade or allow Krios to trade with, the peoples inland. In 1896, the hinterland of Freetown was annexed as the Sierra Leone Protectorate and, despite the Hut Tax War two years later, the area was largely subjugated and an administrative structure established by the early years of the new century. In the Protectorate, ethnic identities included, and still include, the Mende in the south, who today constitute around 30 per cent of the population and have linguistic and cultural connections, in particular the important Poro, Sande and Bundu ‘secret societies’, with Liberia’s northern ethnic groups; the Temne and Limba, who make up around 30 per cent and 8.5 per cent of the population respectively, occupy the northern savannah areas, and have greater connections with Islam and the peoples of Guinea; and other smaller groups such as the Kono in the east of the country. The increased British interest in Sierra Leone had dramatic consequences for the Krios. British colonial officials took up places in the administration and in secluded residences in the European Reserve, in the cooler hills above Freetown. Krios were simultaneously deprived of quality jobs and rental income from their houses in the centre of the city. Some were to find that opportunities were better outside Sierra

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Leone in other West African colonies. Further, early in the twentieth century trading rapidly became the sphere of British firms and the newly arrived Lebanese. First arriving in the 1890s, by the end of the first quarter of the twentieth century, the Lebanese had supplanted the Krio mandarins, often aided by the British authorities and firms.9 However, up to independence and beyond, jobs in the professions, academia, the civil service and the judiciary were still taken mostly by Krios, when not filled by Europeans. In 1950, Krios comprised 67 of the 70 qualified Sierra Leonean doctors. The Krio class displayed both universalistic and particularistic tendencies, in that they promoted education and attempted to maintain the independence of the judiciary, while preserving their dominance in precisely these sectors.10 They held on to extensive property portfolios in Freetown, and also occupied most political positions open to Sierra Leoneans in the Colony. The beginnings of nationalist agitation, which gained momentum in the 1940s and 1950s, were stirred by Krios, such as I.T.A. WallaceJohnson, Lamina Sankoh (formerly Reverend E.N. Jones), E.S. BeokuBetts and H.C. Bankole-Bright, although most maintained their allegiance to Britain. Krio dominance in political circles, though, began to erode in favour of Africans long before its hegemony in the civil service and the professions. The British decision to integrate the Colony and Protectorate initiated a process that lasted from 1922 to 1951, and politically undermined the Krios. The SLPP, formed in April 1951 with a predominantly Protectorate base, won both of the national elections in the 1950s against the Krio-led parties (chiefly the National Council of Sierra Leone, established in 1950, and the United People’s Party, formed in 1954). The idea that the Krios should and would lead an independent Sierra Leone endured well into the 1950s, despite these setbacks. The longevity of this belief can be attributed to the illusion of power that the Krios had developed, based on the commanding position they seemed still to hold in the colonial setting.11 It was soon clear, though, that any party would need to garner Protectorate support, with its vastly superior numbers of voters, to emerge victorious in the future. In the Protectorate, meanwhile, colonial governance impacted entirely differently. Education, state infrastructure and political

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representation lagged far behind the Colony. Indeed, there is evidence that the British administration, in its bid for a quiet life, deliberately fostered divisions between Colony and Protectorate and between ethnic groups.12 Bo School, established by the government in 1906 to educate chiefs’ sons, expressly disqualified Krio teachers, and Krios were almost entirely excluded from administrative positions in the Protectorate. Unsurprisingly, there were still complaints during the years of the civil war that Krios had no connection with the interior, rarely ventured up-country and were insufficiently concerned with the conflict.13 Despite the creation of new educational facilities and state infrastructure in the twentieth century, the Protectorate remained grossly underdeveloped compared to the Colony. In 1921, for example, there were 103 schools in the Colony but still only 70 in the Protectorate, in spite of its vastly more numerous population.14 Colonial laws, particularly those pertaining to land tenure and ownership, and administration differed greatly in the two regions. Jurisdiction in the Protectorate was delivered through a remote and centralised colonial authority, and then, given the paucity of colonial state resources, through existing or sometimes imposed local African chiefly structures.15 A patchwork of small chiefdoms was created for tax-raising purposes, often at the expense of larger pre-colonial polities.16 The effect was to co-opt the chiefs into the colonial system, where obedience was rewarded and resistance punished by removal from office. This patron-client methodology was not to be lost on postcolonial leaders, but at the same time gave the chiefs considerable leverage over state authorities. Further, the first Sierra Leonean Legislative Council with an African majority, in 1951, was indirectly elected in the Protectorate, with representation through the chiefs. While the suffrage, although limited to the small number of literate property-owners, had already been established in the Colony in 1924, it was not extended to the male tax-paying population of the Protectorate until 1957. Indirect elections in the Protectorate, promoted by the British, coupled with the relative weakness of the intelligentsia there, put chiefs in a strong position to continue protecting their own interests.17 At the same time, abuse of their considerable local power grew.18 Tax riots in 1955–56 were aimed

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at chiefs who had enriched themselves with houses and cars through local tax corruption, tribute including free labour, and market protection.19 Their style of life had much in common with that of the urban elite.20 However, 84 per cent of successful candidates in the 1957 direct elections still had chiefly kinship ties.21 In addition, legislative seats were reserved from independence for 12 elected Paramount Chiefs. The new non-Krio nationalist leaders, inextricably linked to the chiefs, developed into a new elite, which rivalled and in some ways imitated the Krios. Until the political battles of the 1950s, the non-Krio elite was incorporated into Krio society, even ‘Creolised’.22 Akintola Wyse notes that the Krios’ ‘status as a social reference group to be emulated belongs to the past’, but in so saying, acknowledges their influence and how at crucial times they were indeed emulated.23 The first prime minister of Sierra Leone, Dr Milton Margai, was the first Protectorate African to graduate from the Krio educational bastion, Fourah Bay College. The first up-country lawyer was Albert Margai, Sierra Leone’s second prime minister. At the same time, Milton was the grandson of a Paramount Chief and believed that a ruler’s legitimacy derived from his status.24 He was reluctant either to speak to the general populace or to build the party at a grassroots level.25 Indeed, the SLPP was always far from a mass-based party, instead almost entirely working through the chiefs. Although Albert Margai and Siaka Stevens, the third prime minister, came to office with more radical agendas, the position of the chiefs in Sierra Leone did not diminish. The legacy of the British governing and commercial structures, of the separation of Colony and Protectorate and of the influence of the Freetown-based Krios is still visible, and a source of contention, even today. This was to some extent a rural-urban bifurcation of the state.26 The heavy political involvement of the chiefs might suggest that the bifurcation lies in a broader elite vs non-elite sense, but it is more pronounced than even most other social and economic gaps in British colonial and post-colonial systems, although now involving an expanded African elite. The Krios may have given way in most fields to their indigenous compatriots – with the notable exceptions of academia and the law – but the system, whether Krio-inspired or more likely an amalgam of Krio and chiefly political logic, had been

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fashioned for those that followed.27 The damage, in short, had been done. Peculiarly, given the Krios’ mission to bring the benefits of Western civilisation to Africa, and the wealth of education and the assimilationist structure of Krio society, their unintended legacy was a distended social, political and economic gap between the elite and the rest of the Sierra Leonean population. Paradoxically, the gap was connected by a continually reinforced patron-client political structure. A developmentally unbalanced state thus emerged, presided over by a politically and economically over-centralised, institutionally weak, somewhat patronising and numerically restricted regime, in which the SLPP leaders had been steeped and which they gladly embraced. Political independence brought little structural change, and Sierra Leone remained fragmented.28 The conservatism and chiefly persuasion of the SLPP grandees, followed by the political pragmatism of the All People’s Congress (APC) and by centrally inspired corruption, served to preserve or even accentuate this environment.29 Indeed, one might tentatively conclude that Krio and chiefly elitism combined and reinforced one another to produce this more extreme social and political environment. Liberia: imbalances in the Americo-Liberian settler state The first settlers arrived at the site that was to become Monrovia in 1822, 35 years after the Sierra Leonean landing of settlers further up the coast. Given the relative disinterest of American governments in the settlements, in contrast to the British colonists, Liberia was able to declare independence in 1847, more than a century before any other black African state. The Americo-Liberians, as the settlers became known, consisted of freed slaves from the USA and Barbados, and Congos – those Africans recaptured from slave ships. As to a large extent with European colonisers, the Liberian settlers found themselves for a long time inhabiting only the coastline, with little influence over the indigenous majority in the hinterland. Indeed, for the first 80 years the relationship might be described as competitive and conflictual rather than colonial.30 Only with the Berlin Conference did the Europeans and, out of necessity, the Americo-Liberians, endeavour

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to subjugate the Africans. In fact, it was not until the presidency of Arthur Barclay, between 1907 and 1912, that citizenship was conferred on all potential Liberians and central control was seriously extended, both measures part of the effort to demonstrate ‘effective occupation’ of the hinterland in the face of British and particularly French claims over and occupation of Liberian territory. Relations between the Americo-Liberians and the Africans indigenous to this area show some similarities with patterns in Sierra Leone. If anything, the superior attitude of the Americo-Liberians towards their indigenous compatriots, although altering over time, surpassed that of the Krios and resembled that of the British colonisers. In 1847, the mind-set of Americo-Liberian superiority was placed in the statute book. Until as late as 1975, the preamble to the Liberian Constitution referred to the ‘enlightenment of the benighted continent’ and the state crest even now announces that ‘the love of liberty brought us here’. In the Unity Conference Centre built for the OAU Conference in Virginia, just north of Monrovia, a huge mural dating from as recently as 1979 depicts the benefits of mostly Americo-Liberian history. There was, however, a clear gap between vision and reality here. Even travelling through Liberia today, one can still see the contradictions. There are many plaques, monuments and statues in the coastal towns commemorating the friendship between the new arrivals and indigenous people. These include a large bronze relief under first president Joseph J. Roberts’ statue at the highpoint of Monrovia and statues of Roberts anachronistically meeting a later president, William Tubman, above the adoring gaze of indigenous and Americo-Liberian women at the capital’s Centennial Pavilion. In contrast, metres from the latter statues, a bronze plaque depicts Matilda Newport with a cannon fighting off the massed ranks of indigenes, portrayed as just a third of her height.31 Until the 1970s, 1 December was Matilda Newport Day, commemorating how, as the story goes, she fought off Bassa warriors single-handedly and saved the settlement in the early 1820s. The Americo-Liberians were clearly caught somewhere between paternalism and coercion. With the Liberian government facing threats from all sides – from France, Britain and the coastal indigenous communities – a tutelage

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and civilising agenda was gradually replaced with a coercive and administrative state under the direct control of the president.32 Under both systems, the Americo-Liberians made it very difficult over the first 100 years of independence for indigenes to attain positions of wealth or power, at least within the relatively affluent settler society. The Americo-Liberians were ‘not nascent democrats’; their experiences in the antebellum southern states of America were of a highly stratified society.33 Citizenship, with all its rights and advantages, was restricted to those who could prove that they were ‘civilised’, which involved ownership of land, the relinquishing of traditional religious beliefs in favour of Christianity, and the adoption of an Americo-Liberian way of life. This status was possible to achieve. Henry Too Wesley, a Grebo, became vice-president in 1924. Equally a ‘Vai aristocratic coalition’ was formed with the settler elite.34 However, ascension into AmericoLiberian circles was confined to a minority. Legal distinctions over issues of marriage and divorce, courts and land ownership lingered until relatively recently, and some remain problematic even today. Despite the Americo-Liberian claims to cultural superiority over indigenous Liberians, there was clearly a qualitative difference between the settlers in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The American Colonization Society (ACS), which had organised the settlements, was dominated by slave owners, eager to rid the southern US states of what they saw as troublesome slaves. The settlements did not seem attractive to those of free status, and immigration dried up almost completely after 1865, when a measure of civil rights was granted in the USA. As a consequence, the settlers lacked significant numbers of educated and enterprising people, and produced a bureaucracy which made even the Portuguese colonial model look strong. For a long time agriculture remained undeveloped, and the government was forced in 1871 into a crippling £100,000 loan to keep itself afloat. There was a high demand for government posts, and levels of corruption rose. The Charles King administration during the 1920s oversaw unprecedented levels of corruption, a massive increase in often-forced labour recruitment for work overseas by government officials, and a subsequent League of Nations enquiry in 1930, which brought down the King government and ignited a revolt along the whole Kru coast.35

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Importantly, the methods of indirect rule employed in the Liberian hinterland at the start of the twentieth century, using chiefs as intermediaries, were copied from the British system in neighbouring Sierra Leone; and both were adopted from a position of administrative weakness.36 A slightly more direct form of colonial rule was imposed in the mid-1920s. The appointment of chiefs required the approval of central authority, and the resultant incumbent was provided with a salary and new powers. For groups such as the Kissi, where chiefs were extremely localised, the settler authorities imposed their own choices. The system allowed the Liberian settlers, not European colonists, nominal political control over the territory, and at the same time opened economic and political avenues for settler exploitation. Crucially, it also boosted the position of chiefs aligned with the central government, although not to the same level as in Sierra Leone. Notably, both the chiefs and the government officials working with them benefited, from the requisitioning of livestock to the recruitment of paid and unpaid labour for work on private projects. No ethnic group dominates the make-up of indigenous Liberians in numerical terms, the largest being the Kpelle and the Bassa (20 and 14 per cent respectively). More politically prominent groups, such as the Krahn, Mandingo, Gio and Mano, are smaller (5, 4, 9 and 7 per cent respectively). The Americo-Liberians, while also only constituting a percentage of the population in single figures, dominated the state. The basis had been laid for a very weak patronclient state, run centrally by a small elite. A colonial pattern of rule continued in Liberia until after World War II, when national liberation movements began to assert themselves elsewhere on the continent. Tubman’s presidency, from 1944 until his death in 1971, managed to oversee huge changes to Liberia without fundamentally transforming it. Short of political support in the settler community, and sensing that the ‘winds of change’ were beginning to blow elsewhere, Tubman’s Unification Policy was supposed to bridge the gaps in society. Universal franchise was introduced in 1946, but was limited to those who paid tax on a property. Limited African involvement in the government was allowed and even encouraged, provided it took place within the framework of the ruling True Whig Party (TWP). Education and infrastructure investment were

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stepped up in the hinterland. Impressive increases in government outlay and school roles hid, however, the poor quality of the education, reflected in a literacy rate of less than 10 per cent by 1960, and the still huge discrepancy in educational investment between coast and hinterland.37 At the same time, Tubman’s ‘Open Door’ policy allowed considerable foreign investment on a concessionary basis. The handing over in 1926 to an American company, Firestone, of one million acres of land to grow rubber had given the government access to valuable foreign exchange, but led to a heavy dependence on rubber. In an attempt to diversify exports, Tubman subsequently applied this system of concessions to attract foreign investment across the board. By 1960, iron ore mined by American, German and Swedish firms, among others, had overtaken rubber as a percentage of commodity exports. Timber exports also became significant. As a result, the economy expanded. Only Japan exceeded Liberia’s growth rate between 1954 and 1960; government receipts increased eightfold and imports fourfold during that decade.38 The economic repercussions, however, did not end there and the social implications soon began to emerge. The concession-based economy had three important effects. First, it maintained the TWP’s hegemony by giving the party hierarchy control of foreign companies’ access to Liberia. TWP officials wrote the contracts, set the tariffs and subsidies and were given positions on the boards and shares in the companies. The TWP elite even owned and rented out the buildings that foreign companies and government ministries used. Second, the economy was almost entirely dependent on the export of raw commodities, and government revenues heavily dependent on concession returns and customs duties. Wherever foreign companies were not involved, the plantations and enterprises were owned by the government elite. To show the extent of this practice, J. Gus Liebenow states that during the Tubman and Tolbert administrations, nominal purchase and outright theft of land constituted ‘one of the major “land grabs” in African history, similar to white seizures in Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa’.39 Where new roads were built, most adjoining land was simultaneously transferred to Americo-Liberian ownership.40 Importantly, large-scale economic

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ventures were largely in the hands of non-Liberians. A Ministry of Commerce survey in 1972 concluded that 72 per cent of the companies questioned were foreign-owned, including most of the major concession and import companies.41 Merchants also came predominantly from outside Liberia, particularly the Levant, with the exception of the Mandingo traders. As non-Blacks were constitutionally disbarred from holding citizenship and all foreigners could be expelled, these expatriate managers and traders could never threaten the political foundations of the TWP. It appears then that there is substance to the claims of Americo-Liberian disdain for commerce and respect for the political and legal realms.42 Third, Liberians outside the TWP benefited little. While the administration was packed with what has been referred to as the ‘false bourgeoisie’ – those officials that produced nothing but derived many benefits from their positions – other Liberians were shut out.43 People at the bottom of the scale could only look on at the huge disparities between the inside and outside of concession areas. Those who might have benefited in acquiring skills and a better standard of living from positions in the companies or from their own entrepreneurship were kept out of the firms by predominantly American and European expatriate workers, and actively discouraged from business by a government fearful of other nodes of economic and political power. Those in paid employment often suffered from wage deductions, forced contributions and late or erratic pay. An economic report based on extensive fieldwork in 1961–62 identified key inadequacies in skills, capital, transport and communication, concluding, most importantly, that ‘the rapid growth in production between 1950 and 1960 has had little developmental impact on Liberia and Liberians’, and that none was likely given the absence of structural or social changes or any governmental development planning.44 Despite universal suffrage, the TWP maintained a stranglehold on Liberian politics certainly until Tubman’s death in 1971, and largely until the 1980 coup under his successor, William Tolbert. As Liebenow points out, ‘Liberia achieved the dubious distinction of producing the African continent’s first single-party state’ as, from 1884 to 1980, despite regular elections, ‘the TWP had no effective challenger to its

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monopoly over the Liberian state’.45 Even within the TWP and the politically important Masonic Lodges, real power rested firmly with a small, changing faction of a dozen or so families, and to a greater and greater extent, with the president. Tubman oversaw the extension of presidential terms of office, the growth of the civil service, the establishment of surveillance techniques and a hands-on approach to government, and the fostering of a personality cult or ‘presidential chieftaincy’.46 Any opposition to the party was quickly exiled, marginalised, banned or sidelined by the networks of commerce and patronage. Didwo Twe, a Kru, was forced into exile on the day before the 1951 polls, and his Reformation Party (RP) banned by the electoral commission for its efforts in challenging Tubman’s bid for re-election. A splinter group of the TWP, the Independent True Whig Party, was banned alongside the RP by the Legislature in 1955 for ‘dangerous, unpatriotic, unconstitutional, illegal and conscienceless acts’.47 Henry Fahnbulleh, father of the 1997 presidential candidate of the same name, and of Vai origin, was imprisoned in 1968 for endeavouring to mobilise against Tubman, allegedly with Communist backing. As a consequence, opposition was nominal and Tubman ran unopposed in 1967, as did Tolbert in 1975. The TWP maintained a tight grip on channels of communication, imprisoning editors where necessary – several elections passed without the opposition candidate being mentioned in the press.48 The trades unionists were either part of the TWP hierarchy or imprisoned during strikes, which were violently suppressed, and the churches, sometimes a key element of opposition movements in Africa, were part and parcel of the system.49 Many of those incarcerated were subsequently released with the forgiveness of the president and rehabilitated into the system. Certainly, Tubman recognised the need to expand his political base outside the Americo-Liberian sphere, and Africans were brought into government, though only under the wing of the TWP. A striking feature of Liberian foreign policy even up to today has been the ‘special relationship’ with the USA, a condition that Sierra Leone has not shared to the same extent with any power. Personal, familial, educational and religious connections have endured from the first settlements to the present day. It has also been expected that there

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would always be close political and economic ties with the USA. In the decades at the end of the nineteenth and start of the twentieth century, the relationship with the USA helped the expanding Liberian state to hang on to some of its claims, in the face of belligerent French and British attempts to eat into its hinterland. Even so, Liberia lost a third of the territory it claimed. Despite American support for the League of Nations inquiry into Liberian export of slaves to Fernando Po at the end of the 1920s, it was probably the relationship with America that most helped the Liberian government resist French and British attempts to have Liberia made into a mandated territory. Ad hoc US military assistance before WWII was made into a permanent arrangement after the war, and a mutual defence pact was signed in 1959. Loans, technical assistance and the construction of schools and hospitals emerged from the ‘special relationship’. In the 1960s a Voice of America transmitter, powerful enough to cover the whole of the continent, was erected just outside Monrovia for the dissemination of US Cold War propaganda. However, in some quarters, the Americans were just not doing enough in return for unswerving Liberian diplomatic support at crucial times, such as World War II, Vietnam, and during the whole Cold War period. Worse, the actions of foreigners in circumventing the state and dealing directly with top officials have had a detrimental effect.50 Benign neglect has been used to describe US governmental inaction, and it is noticeable that the first US president officially to visit Liberia was Jimmy Carter, as late as 1978. In response, both Tubman and Tolbert endeavoured to diversify foreign relations. As a result, companies from many other states took up concessions; bilateral relations were developed with European, Asian, African and even communist states; and in the last years of the Tolbert government, West Germany overtook America as the top destination for Liberian exports. Although this all suggests a considerable broadening of Liberian international relations, the ‘special relationship’ did survive the later TWP years, and continued in all its facets, including its largely one-sided nature, into the troubled decades that followed.51 Tolbert, the last TWP president, continued many of Tubman’s policies and introduced his own reforms, but faced a difficult tenure.

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The oil crisis and the downturn in primary commodity prices soon exposed the export-dependent economy and government reliance on patronage, in a country where 4 per cent of the population, mainly Americo-Liberian, still owned more than 60 per cent of the wealth.52 Tolbert resorted to more pork-barrel politics, increasing the number of ministers from 13 to 18, and assistant ministers at least fourfold.53 Education, migration, the presence of the comparatively affluent concession areas and promotions in the administration had raised African expectations, while hinterlanders dominated the army rank and file. At the same time, TWP conservatives resisted change. Riots, precipitated by a 50 per cent increase in the subsidised price of rice, were violently put down on 14 April 1979, and Guinean troops were drafted in for six weeks. The leaders of opposition groups were detained or arrested, and charged with treason. Tolbert showed few leadership qualities, apparently vacillating between repression and compromise. Rumours circulated of a potential coup by the TWP’s old guard, correct in its fear that it was losing grip on power and privilege. Two days short of a year after the rice riots, an exposed TWP government fell to a coup, not of Americo-Liberians, but of junior military officers, led by Master-Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe. The Americo-Liberians were caught between their purported desire to bring the benefits of their culture and knowledge to the indigenous population, and the prerequisite that they hold on to their power and privileges. In the Americo-Liberian case, as opposed to their Krio neighbours, they held considerably more advantages. There were no British colonials to obstruct the pathways to dominance of the Americo-Liberians, who indeed held on to their position for 150 years, in the process creating a disconcerting model of elite-society interaction for any that followed. Given the lesser role of chiefs in comparison to Sierra Leone, and the ‘central source of allocation provided by the president’, the bifurcation of the state was probably greater and more clearly on a rural-urban basis.54 There have been comments stressing the unwarranted exaggeration in some descriptions of the Americo-Liberians’ strategies of power, and the malevolence of their actions, which have called into question the notion of the ‘Americo-Liberian ruling class’.55 More cogently, John

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Yoder argues that although settlers emphasised the difference between themselves and others for purposes of solidarity, in fact there was ‘a high degree of congruence between the values and practices’ of the two communities.56 In spite of their disparate roots, order and stability were and are the cornerstones of all Liberian societies. This shared conservatism was manifest in a desire for conformity, a strong leadership and a stratified society, and power preserved by ‘elders who consulted in secret and enforced their decisions with supernatural sanctions’, be it in the Masonic Temple or the Poro bush.57 It is argued here that 150 years of predominantly Americo-Liberian rule had created, partly inadvertently and partly as a result of the blend of settler and indigene logic, a political model into which the post-1980 governments easily fell and within which some of the old TWP elite could gradually realign. Some responsibility for the Doe government’s downfall and its resort to increasingly violent methods can be placed on the lack of knowledge of the TWP’s and indigenous traditions of control on the part of Doe and his fellow junior officers, many of whom came from the urban shanties, and the subsequent failure in ‘attempts to replicate settler patrimonial order’.58 If anything, the combination of values and leadership styles forged a patron-client elitism and a gulf between haves and have-nots in Liberia, in both political and economic terms, that is even greater than in Sierra Leone. Creoles in Sierra Leone and Liberia It is striking that the histories of Sierra Leone and Liberia are so remarkably similar. The most obvious differences, however, can be observed in the histories of the two settler communities. The Sierra Leone Krios cannot be described as hegemonic, in the way that, up to 1980, the Americo-Liberians can. Despite systems of representation dating back to the first settlement, the Krios have lived politically under the sway of first the settlement companies, then the British colonisers, and finally, when independence looked likely, the greater numbers of the Protectorate population. Krios would have to be described as highly influential rather than hegemonic. Hinterland Africans in Sierra Leone can be seen taking over the political reins of power in the 1950s, as opposed to 1980 in Liberia. That said, in neither case have

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the non-indigenes vacated their positions in administration or business for very long. Krios or Americo-Liberians, from wherever they came, displayed cultural traits which distinguished them from their indigenous compatriots, although these traits also developed over time. Some observers see class formation in the histories of these groups, and the manner in which Krios or Americo-Liberians are even now over-represented in politics, commerce and the professions lends credence to the idea that they form a kind of bourgeoisie, or middle class. However, the cultural traits and the manner in which particularly the Americo-Liberians have combined politics and commerce does not suggest a bourgeoisie, but more a ruling class similar to that in many other African states. The difference from elsewhere in Africa is the longevity and depth of the social, political and economic gap between the elites – though these have constantly changed – and the rest of society. Despite some clear differences, the forms of governance that existed in British Sierra Leone and African-American Liberia appear surprisingly analogous. Violence and weak centralised patron-client authoritarianism are traits that can be observed in both the British colonial administration in Sierra Leone and the long Americo-Liberian rule. Crucially, the two settler communities worked to a similar pattern of paternal, to some extent assimilationist, yet ultimately exclusive and privileged relations with their indigenous compatriots. A model of elite-society relations, with huge disparities founded on particularly uneven patron-client networks, was created in both cases by the splicing of settler and indigene political logics. Hierarchical indigenous societies in either country were not in a position to provide a countervailing, more egalitarian and less elitist style of governance when the settler hegemonies were eclipsed. The argument for the mostly inadvertent amplification of a grossly unbalanced and detrimental elite-society model by the presence of a Creole community appears to be supported by analogous historical processes in a small number of other, mainly Lusophone, African states. There are, of course, indigenous elites in other African countries who were favoured by the colonial power, and even now are dominated by one or a small number of ethnic groups. These are,

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though, most often elites with connections to the hinterland, rather than limited to the urban milieu and the outside world. The Creoles behaved to a certain degree like colonisers, with a similar paternalistic and civilising mission, but again were not in any way resourced to accomplish these tasks. Then, crucially, it is as if the ‘colonisers’ never went away, but became nationals. It is the contention here that subsequent governments of the independence era melded Creole and pre-colonial African political and social values on to a poorly resourced and penetrated colonial state, creating conditions even less favourable for development than in other African countries. The post-independence and post-Creole regimes were politically adept at holding on to power, but were certainly not inclined or able to close the gaps or to grapple with the historical legacy. It is to these regimes that we now turn.

Violence in a shrinking state: Sierra Leone’s postcolonial pre-conflict years If the 1950s in Sierra Leone can be portrayed as a transition period that ushered in indigene rule, the aftermath has certainly not been as simple as that. The Krios became another, albeit influential, elite group, vying for positions of power within hinterland parties, in a regionally aligned political arena. The SLPP and the APC had clear regional bases, but vied for central power in the 1960s until the beginning of the APC’s 24-year reign in 1968. Independence was declared in 1961, and the SLPP won a majority in the parliament in 1962, with Dr Milton Margai as the first prime minister of the state of Sierra Leone. The election, however, signalled a rupture in Protectorate politics. The main opposition party – the APC, led by Siaka Stevens – gained most of its seats in the Northern Province and the former Colony, now renamed the Western Area. Although the SLPP could still claim to be a nation-wide party, its power-base was clearly focused in the south, in particular amongst the Mende, and in the chiefs. Milton Margai died in office in 1964, and was succeeded by his brother, Albert, rather than by his rival within the party, the northerner Dr John Karefa-Smart, thereby increasing the southern dominance within the SLPP.

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Stevens and the APC, with their brand of populism and anti-elitism, secured the 1967 elections, only for Stevens to be arrested and exiled in a military coup two days later. The reasons for the coup, stated as the desire to correct the controversial declaration of an APC victory before the results of the Paramount Chief elections were announced – on the assumption that chiefs are politically neutral – were not convincing, but at the same time not wholly without substance. It is, however, generally understood that elements of the SLPP supported the coup. In turn, it was mostly northern NCOs that restored Stevens, and locked up their superiors just over a year later. If Stevens assumed the leadership under difficult circumstances, his 17-year rule belied the odds stacked against him. Under him, the APC was to win elections in 1973 and 1977 – though both were marred by violence and irregularities – and in 1978 to become the only party in a one-party state. Sierra Leone was declared a republic in 1971, with Stevens as president. At the same time, Stevens oversaw the almost total decay of the formal state in Sierra Leone. His highly personalised rule and systems of patronage were a style inherited from Albert Margai. Stevens’ development of these themes and his steadily more violent methods propped up the regime, but reduced state institutions and developmental agencies to impoverished shadows. His activities involved the deliberate paring down of formal governmental institutions in favour of the construction of a ‘shadow state’, an arena of illicit transactions where formerly the state would have had jurisdiction. How much choice Stevens had in taking this course of action when he inherited such a compromised state, facing competition from chiefs and ‘bigmen’, remains contentious.59 Diamonds, which had long been the backbone of Sierra Leone’s exports, became the cornerstone of Stevens’ fiscal strategy. His attempts to control both the diminishing formal sector and the flourishing informal channels led to a collapse in the recorded diamond exports from two million carats in 1970, to 595 thousand ten years later, and to a paltry 48 thousand carats by 1988. Distribution of dealer licences was made on political grounds, and the politically less threatening Lebanese and Afro-Lebanese dealers became the dominant players in both legal and illegal trades, at the same time giving Stevens access to

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useful Middle Eastern funds. Jamil Said Mohammed became Stevens’ placeman in the gold and diamond parastatals and in other important parts of the economy. The allocation of import-export licences and access to foreign currency and loan guarantees became similarly politicised and privatised. Rice was imported in large quantities, sold at subsidised levels to potentially difficult urban populations and, at the same time, grown and smuggled abroad from the countryside. The OAU summit hosted at great expense in Freetown in 1980 almost bankrupted the country. The system was guided by Stevens’ personal attention. The build-up of patron-client networks, with Stevens as ultimate arbiter and dispenser of largesse, began immediately. Stevens saw himself as the people’s representative, their patron, and, for a considerable time made himself available to anyone. Audiences were almost always obtained, in which Stevens could demonstrate his generosity and reinforce his personal links to the detriment of any intermediaries.60 Distribution of the spoils of the dominant state, as it was in 1968, was increasingly centralised in the hands of the leader. He endeavoured to ensure that those in positions of authority or with access to potential power bases owed their position in the network to him, and were not loyal to the nation, the region or the party, but personally to him. Central animosity towards chiefs soon abated. District councils, a competing node of local power, were abolished in 1972. Chiefs remained hugely influential at a local level, still retaining considerable legitimacy, judicial authority and the power to distinguish ‘natives’ of a chiefdom who would have accompanying land rights, and at a national level as power brokers.61 For his part, Stevens endeavoured, by intrusion into local politics, to co-opt or replace those who would stand in his way. Any opposition was substantially weakened by the inclusion or exclusion of unions, professional organisations, agricultural associations and universities into the system. Heads of major institutions, such as the leader of the Labour Congress and the teachers’ union president, were appointed to parliament, in these cases after threatening strikes during the 1970s. The army and police were kept comfortable by quotas of low-priced rice and access to the spoils of elaborate pre-financed contracts. Their heads were appointed to parliament and

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cabinet after attempted coups early in the Stevens regime, while the rank and file was left impotent by their lack of arms. Stevens adopted a strategy of attacking rivals by Commissions of Enquiry. Vouchergate, Squandergate and the Kilowatt Scandal were unearthed and used to remove rivals from office or to ensure loyalty by arranging a verdict of innocence at the enquiry. Resentment ran particularly high in the south and east of the country. The APC regime had always maintained a considerable northern bias. Particularly cynical and representative of this tendency was the closure of the railways, which, except for a branch line to the Makeni area, served the south and east. Even though the IMF had recommended the closure as the lines were losing money, it was plain to see that the APC government was very keen to implement the policy. The railway was progressively closed down in the early 1970s and the promised upgrading of the road, particularly to the east, never occurred. Indicative of southern sentiments was the Ndorbgowusui defiance campaign in the district of Pujehun in 1983. The campaign was provoked by an APC attempt to impose a parliamentary representative, although there are suggestions that the APC’s Francis Minah instigated the trouble with a number of ritual murders. The rebellion was put down in brutal fashion, leading to the displacement and exile in Liberia of many rural people, some of whom joined the RUF eight years later.62 Equally, attempts by the Stevens regime to impose compliant chiefs, much as the colonial administration had done, met with opposition. Occasionally, the protests were successful, as in Kenema and Kono, both in the east of the country. Alongside the patron-client network was placed a steadily growing apparatus of coercion. There were several coups and revolts against the APC regime emerging from various quarters after the party took office in 1968; the 1971 military coup, led by John Bangura, came close to seizing control. Probably more pivotal was the alleged attempted coup in 1974, which there is evidence to suggest was entirely stage-managed by Stevens and his ministers, Sorie Ibrahim Koroma and Christian Kamara-Taylor, in order to implicate perceived enemies of the regime.63 More certain is the stage-management of the trial of the former finance minister under Stevens (1968–70), Mohamed Sorie Forna, and another

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former minister and newspaper editor, Ibrahim Taqi. Although their new party, the United Democratic Party (UDP), established in 1970 with Karefa-Smart, had been swiftly banned and harassed out of existence, Stevens clearly saw the reformist figures of Forna and Taqi, with their popular support particularly amongst the Temnes, as still dangerous. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, both were convicted of treason and hanged in July 1975. Stevens had showed his mastery of the police and courts. However, it was not until 1977 that the regime faced considerable civilian pressure and reacted with force. Initially, it was the students of Fourah Bay College in Freetown who stood up to the APC militias and Stevens’ politically oriented Internal Security Unit (ISU) and its hired thugs. After considerable violence against students, unrest spread outside Freetown, forcing Stevens into early elections. Again in 1985, unrest broke out in Fourah Bay, and retaliatory violence and arrests ensued. The increasingly violent methods employed by the APC to deliver electoral victories are described below. Stevens retired in 1985, in favour of his chosen successor, MajorGeneral Joseph Momoh. Initially a relatively popular choice, Momoh was to make little headway in reforming the state, even with the IMF’s heavy hand of structural adjustment urging him on. His increasing reliance on the ‘Binkolo mafia’, a support base centred on his Limbaspeaking home town, which had provided many of the recruits into the Sierra Leone Army (SLA) during the APC years, was not an adequate long-term policy for maintaining power. Equally, the SLA and the infrastructure of the state were ill-equipped for the task of holding off the 1991 Charles Taylor-backed RUF invasion from Liberia. Momoh and the APC were removed from office in a military coup in 1992, involving fewer than 100 men led by a young officer, Valentine Strasser. The establishment of the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) was again initially very popular, but Strasser was, in turn, removed in another military coup in January 1996, after little headway had been made either against the RUF or in remedying the dismal economic condition of the country. Internationally, Sierra Leone, unlike Liberia, was certainly not seen as a particularly important asset in the Cold War arena. The colony’s importance as a shipping post during World War II did not continue

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into the post-war superpower environment. When Stevens was threatened by his own army in the early years of his rule, it was to Guinea, not one of the superpowers, that he turned for military assistance. However, if Sierra Leone’s leaders could not turn to major powers for major levels of support, the country was certainly not immune to global economic currents that undermined most Southern postcolonial states. The two oil shocks hit the country hard, even if the first was cushioned by a rise in diamond prices. The decline in the price of coffee and cocoa in the 1980s compounded the balance-of-payments problems. If Stevens’ APC had little intention of facing up to all the problems in a state-like fashion, then Momoh’s regime proved incapable of doing so. Perhaps Stevens had very little room for manoeuvre. His state was weak and formal state solutions to Sierra Leone’s problems risked building up rivals, particularly in the diamond sector.64 Informal accommodations, however, were controllable at a personal level and hence a rational political response. Despite Steven’s initial anti-elitism and populism, his accommodations proved entirely elitist. At the same time, the popular standard of life spiralled downwards. The similarities with colonial methods of indirect rule are abundantly clear. No doubt Stevens inherited considerable difficulties, but his solutions were extreme. Other African countries have not collapsed under similar harsh conditions, including strong internal rivals, oil-price shocks and downturns in the balance of trade. Paradoxically, and importantly, the paring down of the state did not lead to a decentralisation of economic or political power. The informalisation of former government activity led instead to a further centralisation, almost into the hands on one man.65 Stevens endured and retired, but he had sown the seeds for his successor’s downfall.

The problems of multi-party and one-party elections in Sierra Leone The multi-party 1960s Whether within multi-party, one-party or de facto one-party systems, elections since the 1950s have more often than not been mired in

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controversy. Sierra Leone’s cleanest, fairest and most straightforward elections occurred in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Electoral competition during this period was open and competitive. Political debate, public discussions, democratically organised non-governmental organisations and an active, critical and combative press enlivened the environment.66 In the 1962 elections, the SLPP won 32 seats, 15 went to independents and four to a Kono-based party. At the same time, the APC’s populist appeal helped it to win 16 of the 32 seats it contested, and with two more seats gained unopposed, the party became the official opposition. Although Milton Margai made great efforts to achieve an ethno-regional balance, while the APC delivered overt appeals to the ‘common man’s class interest, regardless of tribe’, and Stevens’ trades-union credentials contrasted starkly with the SLPP’s pro-chief conservatism, the regional pattern had been initiated.67 The APC successes came in 12 of the 18 northern seats, alongside four in the Western Area. To emphasise the relative openness of this period, power changed hands when Stevens and the APC opposition overturned the incumbent SLPP party and president in the 1967 elections. There were efforts by the SLPP government, particularly after Milton Margai’s death in 1964, to create advantages for itself in the electoral system; it enacted laws that required public meetings to have chiefly assent, and pressure was put on chiefs to act on behalf of the SLPP. In 1965, the leader, Albert Margai, failed in the first attempt in Sierra Leone to legislate for a one-party state. Six SLPP candidates, including the prime minister, were returned unopposed in 1967, in seats where opposition or independent nominations had been disallowed for frivolous reasons, such as misspellings or omitted initials.68 Much of this, however, played into the hands of the opposition. In accordance with the public mood, the APC’s stance, at this point, was firmly for multi-party electoral competition and its policies and campaigns did not involve chiefs. Although Albert Margai was not as close to the chiefs as his half-brother, he could not move the SLPP away from its reliance on patron-clientelism through the chiefs, who by this time were creating a proportion of the discontent in the countryside. Further to this, other sources of electoral influence, such as the growing band of business

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entrepreneurs, were displacing the sway of the chiefs. The SLPP also suffered from its record in office, particularly regarding corruption and elitism, and Albert Margai himself was an unpopular leader. The APC’s base of support in the north was bolstered by Margai’s appointment as SLPP leader instead of Karefa-Smart and by the purging of most northerners from his very first Cabinet, and in 1966 from the officer corps. The APC proceeded to win 32 of the 66 seats, the SLPP taking 28, although the announcement of these figures as the final APC victory before the results of the Paramount Chief elections handed the coup plotters a justification for their actions. APC non-chiefly victories included all the seats in four out of five of the electoral districts in the Northern Province and all the seats in the Western Area. The SLPP won 11 out of 14 contested seats in the Southern Province, and ten out of 16 in the Eastern Province. 24 years of APC rule It could be suggested that Stevens’ year in exile after the ensuing military coup revealed to him the inherent dangers of his position, and curtailed his commitment to political competition. Open and free elections were not to return until nearly 30 years had passed. Although a state of emergency had been declared in Kono in 1967, it was in the by-elections of 1968 that violence, intimidation and malpractice started to become an influential factor in the electoral process. A new political party, the UDP, consisting of a variety of opposition figures and, importantly, several former APC ministers and MPs, was banned shortly after its formation in 1970. More by-elections were held in 1972, in which the SLPP was prevented from nominating candidates in what were its strongholds. In 1973, the SLPP withdrew altogether from the nation-wide polls after the harassment and beating of party candidates and the attempted assassination of its leader, Salia JusuSheriff, allowing the APC virtually to sweep the board. Four years later, after violent confrontations between APC militants and students forced early elections, the SLPP felt able to compete. Despite widespread violence and intimidation and 12 out of 21 southern seats declared unopposed for the APC, the SLPP re-emerged as a viable opposition party, with 15 seats. Nine of these came from the Eastern

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Province, five from the Southern Province and one from the Western Area. 29 of the 32 northern seats were declared unopposed for the APC, and the final three were won in contested elections. The incumbents took four of the southern seats and 11 of the eastern seats in contested elections, but the contest was far from fair. Probably concerned by the SLPP’s electoral performance and a number of outstanding electoral petitions against leading APC members, Stevens called for a referendum on the establishment of a oneparty state, which was duly reported as having returned a 95 per cent vote in favour. One-party elections were subsequently held in 1982, in which there was considerable competition between candidates, but which also showed that violence, intimidation and irregularities had not diminished, and in some areas had actually become worse. Ethnic violence in Koinadugu stirred by political interference on a national level was a disturbing development. A much-improved ballot in 1986 marked the first one-party elections under Stevens’ chosen successor, Momoh, who appeared eager to remove some of the previous inequities, even allowing the disqualification of a cabinet minister and two ministers of state. Despite the absence of political parties, it has been recognised that the more effective one-party states, such as Tanzania and Côte d’Ivoire, administered competitive elections in the sense that the government or the electorate could use these occasions to shuffle those in the top seats at central and/or local level. This could be argued for Sierra Leone, as one-party elections held some consequences for candidates and government. In 1982, 52 per cent of MPs and 17 per cent of ministers were ousted from parliament. Four years later, in the first elections under Momoh, 30 per cent of MPs and 33 per cent of ministers lost their seats; only 49 of 105 MPs in the new parliament were incumbents. If the man at the top could not be displaced, then many of his supporters could.69 These shuffles of the pack, however, could not be described as oppositional politics, and made little difference to the general trend of government actions or for the increasing numbers of people distanced from any protection or benefit of the state. In any case, the 1986 polls were to be the last for ten years. Momoh’s grip on power was not that of his predecessor, and ushered in a period of civil violence and coups d’état.

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Most Sierra Leonean electoral discourse focuses on the ethnoregional divide. Although it would be an exaggeration to say that SLPP rule in the 1960s, 1990s and 2000s has equated to Mende domination, there is certainly an influential Mende bloc in the party, and the south of the country mainly turns out to support the SLPP in the polls. Equally, the APC, in power from 1968 to 1992, and again in 2007, can be seen to have derived its backbone of support from the north. An obviously prominent and often problematic divide cannot, however, wholly explain the descent of the country into virtual economic and political collapse. Despite Stevens’ anti-elitist rhetoric that had proved so successful in 1967, his regime was another elitist project, which only served to exacerbate the elite-society gap. Electoral manipulation and violence were added to the roster of power strategies. Although there was room for reversals of electoral fortune, there was certainly little place for an opposition or for politics, whether developmental or neopatrimonial, that might benefit the growing legions of increasingly marginalised people.

A decade of decline and violence: Liberia’s post-1980 pre-conflict years The initially very popular military takeover in 1980 was viewed in some quarters as the real Liberian independence, where indigenous Liberians were finally taking control of their own affairs. The coup plotters were uniformly African-Liberian, and early indications suggested that the People’s Redemption Council (PRC), led by Master Sergeant Samuel Doe, might adopt radical policies. Indeed, there were attempts to break with the past, such as the relocation of ministries from privately owned and rented properties to newly built (but due to the war never finished) government-owned buildings. The first administration, desperately short of qualified individuals, embraced opposition politicians and boasted several civilian government ministers. The coalition, however, was not to last. The PRC quickly lost former opposition elements and replaced them with former TWP stalwarts, despite the fact that Doe had started his regime with the murder of President William Tolbert and the public execution on the beach of 13

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members of his government. The composition of the PRC had always been weighted towards Doe’s ethnic Krahns, but with the execution of five original plotters in August 1981, ostensibly for planning a further coup, the imbalance worsened. Others, such as Charles Taylor – who was accused of embezzling L$900,000 – fled into exile. At the same time, Mandingos continued to benefit from trade connections to the government.70 Still regarded as outsiders or economic exploiters in many parts due largely to their Islamic religion, their connections abroad and their social position as traders, Mandingos came to dominate commerce during the 1980s, including owning or operating as much as 90 per cent of the transportation network.71 Despite the USA providing one-third of the country’s national budget in the first five years of the Doe regime, by the mid-1980s the battered exportdependent economy was reeling from corruption and mismanagement, and the regime had revealed its predatory side. Internationally, although the USA showed displeasure at the beach execution of the TWP ministers and the early violence of the soldiers, its reaction did not match that of the European states or the West African countries, who isolated the regime, and it was soon ‘special relationship’ as normal. Estimates suggest that there were around $1 billion in US trade, banking and investment interests and 6,000 US expatriates in Liberia in 1980.72 During the whole period, full diplomatic relations were maintained. The USA gave early financial assistance to the Doe government, and US aid increased from US$20 million in 1979 to US$90 million in 1985–86, amounting to US$500 million over the first five years of the PRC.73 The US administration appeared more than pleased that Doe broke relations with the USSR in 1985. However, under pressure from an increasingly embarrassed USA, and from within, Doe was forced to initiate a constitutional committee, and elections were set for October 1985 (detailed below). Doe and the newly formed National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) emerged victorious from the 1985 elections, after making sure that major opponents had been eliminated from contention and the count ‘flagrantly rigged’.74 All four presidential candidates were from different parts of the hinterland, but this disguised the gradual return of

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Americo-Liberians to governmental positions and the growing divisions between certain ethnic groups. In the immediate aftermath of the election, a thwarted coup attempt resulted in the death of the main perpetrator, Thomas Quiwonkpa. Importantly, he was a Gio, the same ethnic group as the presumed real winner of the election. Doe’s subsequent purge of the army and attacks on Gio civilians, and also on the related Mano, were swift and brutal, fostering the charged ethnic atmosphere that set the scene for the war.75 A journalist on a factfinding mission in 1986 concluded that ‘President Doe has sanctioned an undercurrent of lawlessness and random brutality’.76 In 1989, Taylor and the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) invaded. Doe’s government was, at one and the same time, an administration constituted from experienced but often discredited former TWP ministers and officials, and a regime unable, given its marginal background in the lower ranks of the military, to maintain the patronclient networks and centralised control established by its predecessor. It is little wonder that Doe moved quickly to eliminate his rivals, and resorted to greater and greater violence.

Votes from violence and fraud in Liberia Three elections have taken place in post-1980 Liberia. The first two were flawed, but were critical in determining the path of Liberian history. The fraudulent results of the first, in 1985, led directly to an attempted coup in the immediate aftermath, and to the civil war that erupted four years later. The second, in 1997, was intended to cap the peace initiatives to end the civil war, but was again fraught with problems, this time logistical, administrative and particularly securityrelated. The 2005 polls followed the cessation of resumed hostilities, but on this occasion were of a dramatically different quality. The 1997 and 2005 elections are analysed in detail in Chapter 4. The 1985 elections Martial law followed the 1980 Doe coup and continued until the election period, which began in 1984. Although Doe came to power promising the establishment of popular government, it was considerable

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pressure from the US government, embarrassed by Doe’s methods of ruling, which forced his hand. Even then, the lifting of the ban on political activity was not enacted until July 1984. Almost immediately, Doe assumed the title of civilian president and announced his candidature, despite previous promises to step down. Following the dissolution of the PRC, the Interim National Assembly (INA) was established to govern in the run-up to the elections. Far from being an independent body, the INA consisted mainly of military figures, including the remnants of the PRC, political survivors from various regimes, and civilian supporters of Doe. The Assembly proved to be a rubber stamp for Doe and his new party, the NDPL. The INA held sway over the election process and appointed the important Special Election Commission (SECOM) and its chair, Emmett Harmon, a stalwart of the TWP days. Any in SECOM who showed sympathy towards opposition demands were swiftly removed – at one stage, Doe dismissed the entire membership with the single exception of the chair. At the same time as the unbanning of political activity, the notorious Decree 88A was issued. It authorised detention without bail pending a judicial hearing for, amongst other ‘crimes’, creating disharmony and spreading rumours, lies and disinformation. Not one person was convicted under Decree 88A from its inception until the elections, although many were incarcerated. In the run-up to the election, ‘opponents of General Doe’s ruling party were systematically denied freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and association, and the right to due process of law’.77 Specifically, the United People’s Party (UPP) and the Liberian People’s Party (LPP), the two parties with pre-coup histories and mass followings, were swiftly banned, along with their experienced leaders, Baccus Matthews and Amos Sawyer, for espousal of ‘foreign ideologies’ – meaning socialism.78 Sawyer was a popular figure, particularly amongst students, and had tried to run in the aborted mayoral elections in Monrovia in 1979, the first independent candidate in 20 years. He spent 49 days in detention from August 1984 on suspicion of treason, and was ‘pardoned’ by Doe in October. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a former Citibank vice-president, announced her intention to stand as senatorial candidate for the Liberian Action Party (LAP), and served two periods of detention, one before and one

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after the election, before fleeing the country.79 Held in detention then tried by military tribunal in September 1985, she was sentenced to ten years’ hard labour at the notorious Belle Yella military prison, despite an international outcry. US aid was suspended until her release less than one month before the election. Registration of parties and candidates suffered from long delays and exorbitant fees. In the end, only three parties other than the NDPL were registered, and then with less than two months to go before the election, allowing little time for campaigning. It was not only the political parties that were targeted: an undetermined number of students were killed and injured after soldiers put down a student protest on campus in August 1984. A hundred University of Liberia academics and administrators were subsequently dismissed, and most prominent intellectuals went into exile. In January 1985, the independent daily newspaper with the largest circulation, the Daily Observer, was forced to close down and did not reopen before the election. A week before election day, Doe instructed all government workers that they must prove NDPL membership or face the sack. Harassment and beatings of all opposition figures by the NDPL Special Task Force were commonplace. Despite the unpromising build-up, between 520,000 (SECOM count) and 800,000 (unofficial count) – in the end probably one third of the 2.1 million population – turned out to vote for the presidency and 90 legislative seats on 15 October.80 Surprisingly, voting proceeded relatively free of harassment and irregularities in comparison to the government’s interference during the campaign, although some polling sites at barracks went unregistered and unmonitored; allegations of multiple voting were made at these same sites, and there were a considerable number of reports of military intimidation elsewhere. Initial tallies indicated that Samuel Doe would lose the heavily-populated counties. He was losing by a margin of two to one in Montserrado County, which includes Monrovia; the LAP would take Nimba County, the home of its leader Jackson Doe (a Gio, and no relation to the president) with 90 per cent; and the Unity Party were leading in Bong County. Overall, Jackson Doe and the LAP were seen to be ahead in eight of the 13 counties, and the LAP appeared to be winning overall with around 60 per cent.81

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It was the immediate aftermath of the elections that sealed the notoriety of these polls. After the initial tallies, thousands of ballots were destroyed in a bonfire outside Monrovia, photographed by the local press. More importantly, in a brazen, illegal and somewhat desperate move, Harmon suddenly scrapped the vote-counting process citing alleged irregularities that included bribery and harassment of government and NDPL workers by the LAP, a failure by party observers to abide by the 15-foot observation rule, and the premature revealing of vote counts. All vote-counting responsibilities were subsequently passed to a 50-member committee, hand-picked by Harmon. After hiding away in a hotel for two weeks, with no access given to any non-government body, it was announced that Samuel Doe had been ‘elected’ with 50.9 per cent of the vote, with Jackson Doe in second place with 26.4 per cent. The NDPL ‘won’ a majority in ten of the 13 counties and was awarded 21 of the 26 Senate seats and 51 of the 64 seats in the House of Representatives. It is reckoned by most, however, that Samuel Doe actually achieved about half of the 50.9 per cent figure and Jackson Doe was widely acknowledged as the real winner.82 The ‘shortcomings’, the failure fully to meet high democratic standards, and the ‘noteworthy positive aspects’ of the elections described by US Assistant Secretary of State and chief spokesman for African affairs, Chester Crocker, were less than a ringing endorsement, given the various US interests.83 Most observers – unofficial, as Doe had not allowed official observers – agreed that the election was fundamentally flawed. SECOM subsequently denied receiving the ten-page complaints dossier compiled and delivered by the three opposition parties. After the ensuing November coup attempt, and again the following year, leading opposition figures were detained, Johnson-Sirleaf being indicted for treason. It is notable that the USA applied considerable pressure on the Doe regime for it to hold elections, but paid little attention to the government-sponsored violence and manipulation that accompanied the polls. Aside from the threat to remove aid after the imprisonment of Johnson-Sirleaf, little effective pressure was exerted over the many other abuses, including the assault on the University of Liberia. US President Ronald Reagan sent congratulations to Doe on winning the

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elections and, indeed, on surviving the Quiwonkpa coup attempt. In a remarkable display of Cold War and economic imperatives, Chester Crocker stated that Doe’s government ‘seems to have the authority to govern’ and advised the opposition to accept the result.84 He argued that credit should be given to Doe for the return to civilian rule on schedule, and, furthest from the truth, asserted: There is in Liberia today a civilian government based on elections, a multi-party legislature, a journalist community of government and non-government newspapers, an on-going tradition among citizenry of speaking out, and a new constitution that protects their freedom.85 Despite all the obstacles, people voted in large numbers in the 1985 polls. The 15 months of the run-up to the election had seen no lessening of the government’s efforts to curtail the activities of those opposed to it. The electorate faced the clear risk of violence and intimidation to be able to vote for a significantly reduced list of candidates. However, in a poll that preceded the UNITA election defeat and return to war, voters felt they could risk a Doe defeat and the possible violent consequences of this outcome. The downfall of Doe did not materialise and the election fraud placed the country and the government on a crisis footing through the Quiwonkpa coup, the reprisals and the eventual NPFL invasion four years later. In a similar way to the earlier period in Sierra Leone, post-1980 Liberia has revealed its own fractures in hinterland politics. In Liberia, however, these fractures were manifested in a much greater degree of inter-communal violence. Doe’s ethnocentric regime and brutal, ethnically directed reaction to the post-election coup attempt laid the seeds for conflict. Taylor’s invasion in 1989 was not itself ethnically driven, but the ensuing conflict took on considerable ethnic overtones. Again, however, the descent into violence cannot be blamed purely on ethnic politics. Doe embraced the TWP centralised method of governing, found that he could not match even Tolbert’s standard in patron-client politics, and resorted more and more to coercion. The overt rigging of the 1985 election was only one of the many strategies, mostly violent,

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by which Doe dealt with any opposition. As the economy spiralled downward, so the numbers of the disaffected swelled, and the stakes were notched higher.

Conclusions The political environments of Sierra Leone and Liberia were established with dangerous imbalances, and deteriorated to such an extent that it was unsurprising that war broke out in either country. Even in comparison with the poor economic and political records and similar patron-client underpinnings of politics in many other African states, the conditions were so conducive in Sierra Leone and Liberia that it may have been just a case of when, not if, a civil war erupted. The Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission came to the conclusion that ‘it was years of bad governance, endemic corruption and the denial of basic human rights that created the deplorable conditions that made conflict inevitable’.86 In hindsight, it is also not surprising that the wars took the form that they did. Although civil wars are almost necessarily brutal, the exploitative nature of relations and the distortion of patron-clientelism between the urban centres and rural periphery, between the haves and have-nots and between competing ethno-regional groups must have been to an extent responsible for the atrocities committed in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Three factors loom large over recent Sierra Leonean and Liberian history, and even continue to impact on the political and economic environment of today. First, the colonial legacy in Sierra Leone, international interference in Liberia, and the largely unintended effects of the settler presence in both countries laid the foundations for peculiarly disadvantaged states. The authoritarian and politically and economically centralising tendencies alongside the institutionally weak and arbitrary control of all colonial regimes, which often translated directly into a modus operandi for the post-independence governments, were particularly acute in Sierra Leone. Freetown had constituted the whole colony for over a century before the Protectorate was established, and the partiality of government towards the former continues to the present day. Despite the connectivity of patron-clientelism,

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up-country resentment of the wealth, power and paternalism of the urban elite, modelled by the Krios and adopted by their successors, has a long history. At the same time, the colonial corruption of the upcountry chiefs laid the basis for mistrust in local administrators. The chiefs were sometimes seen as in league with whichever authority sat in Freetown, including the purportedly anti-chief APC, and so were part of the problem. The Americo-Liberian governments were politically and economically centralised, and largely restricted in membership, from the beginning, and the radical broadening considered by Tubman was but a drop in the ocean. For a long time, the settlers were confined to the coast and threatened from either side by European colonial powers. Once on the march inland, with a patron-client system modelled on British rule across the border, they became the only show in town. Connivance by international governments and businesses in this state of affairs only exacerbated the problem. US support for the Doe regime, however, which adopted all the worst traits of its TWP predecessor, was altogether more destructive. Sierra Leone and Liberia suffered, as many non-oil producing countries did in the 1970s, from terms-of-trade imbalance, but in this case it is more the response of their political elite that is in need of scrutiny. There is no doubt that the second factor, the actions of the political elite in response to difficult internal and external environments, contributed heavily to the creation of conditions for possible civil conflict. The use of governmental and extra-governmental channels to centralise power further in the hands of the rulers was employed in the face of weak institutions and of other power bases only notionally within their control. This may have augmented the longevity of these regimes, but at the same time severely limited the political, educational and economic opportunities of the vast majority of people, and of certain sections of the populace in particular. The styles of the TWP, APC and PRC governments were certainly different. If we use Jackson and Rosberg’s typology of personal rule, the three regimes fit reasonably neatly into three of their four types.87 The rule of Tubman and Tolbert can be categorised as princely, a politics of accommodation; that of Stevens would be autocratic, where the state becomes almost the ruler’s private fiefdom; and that of Doe would be

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tyrannical, or arbitrary and impulsive. However, the personalisation and centralisation of power and the end results are similar. The severe economic decline and progressive marginalisation of some sections of Sierra Leonean society are matched in importance, when considering the pre-war periods, by state arrogance and escalating violence and the vast and glaring wealth differentials in Liberia. Then, when the invasions occurred, the inability of the armed forces to contain initially small-scale rebellions was also a product of their eroded structural capacity and their centrally sanctioned economic preoccupations. Finally, the electoral histories of both countries are littered with violence and malpractice and, as in many other African states, are dominated by winner-takes-all rationales. Although pre-war Sierra Leonean elections did, particularly in the 1960s and even during the one-party state era, allow for a certain amount of rotation in the leadership, the dominance of the incumbent and the peripheral role of the opposition became more and more obvious. If there were some opportunities for the electorate to shuffle the incumbent pack, there was little for an opposition to do – or perhaps it did little even when it was allowed, aside from waiting for the next election. Incumbent administrations were not held accountable to parliament, if at all. Regionally defined politics led by a narrow elite is unlikely to promote oppositional politics or, just as importantly, a constituency for the disadvantaged and disaffected in society. In Liberia, the very idea of an opposition was a convenient fiction until the 1985 election. At this point, the opposition triumphed only for its victory to be fraudulently and cruelly taken away. There was certainly no room for the ‘victors’ in post-election Liberia. The legacy for Sierra Leone and Liberia was and is still potentially explosive. From grossly imbalanced patron-client beginnings, through political abuse, to civil conflict, each state has experienced a remarkably similar metamorphosis. To attempt to right any of these many wrongs is clearly a mountainous task, but the windows of opportunity provided by the cessation of warfare in both states, reduced to shadows of their former selves, were obviously crucial times. The discourse, actions and capabilities of both international bodies and indigenous players in this period are of immense import.

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CHAPTER 3 SIER R A LEONE – WAR AND PEACE

Development of the conflict In March 1991 the RUF invaded from Liberia into Kailahun District in the remote southeast of Sierra Leone. Initially a small group of Sierra Leonean exiles and mercenaries, primarily from Liberia and Burkina Faso, and headed by three Libyan-trained Sierra Leonean nationals, the RUF soon saw Foday Sankoh emerge as the main leader. With the benefit of support from Charles Taylor’s Liberian rebel forces and of cross-border forest from which to operate, with the diamond areas within easy reach and a potentially sympathetic population, particularly in this corner of Sierra Leone, the RUF possessed a number of advantages. Further, the operational capability of the defending SLA had been substantially eroded over the two-decade rule of the APC government. However, instead of a rapid march to Freetown, as Taylor had managed towards Monrovia in Liberia, the RUF quickly earned itself a reputation for exceptional brutality and mercenarism, and the war ebbed and flowed for the first five years, confined mostly to the southern and eastern regions of the country. The RUF was not, though, without its successes in this first period of the war, at times capturing large tracts of land and many of the diamond areas. At the same time, it faced new challenges. First, the SLA

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was significantly bolstered in terms of numbers, in a rapid recruitment drive after a military coup led by a junior officer, Valentine Strasser, ousted the APC and installed the NPRC in 1992, even if many of these new recruits were badly trained and proved to be ill-disciplined. Second, in the early to mid-1990s, the first of the self-defence militias, the Kamajors, emerged amongst the Mende in southern Sierra Leone. These units were formed by local chiefs who had maintained some of their support and authority, such as Sam Hinga Norman.1 The Kamajors were based on the myths of traditional hunters’ guilds and employed locally feared psychological weapons and protective charms. Such was their knowledge of local terrain and their coherence as a fighting force, that between 1994 and 1996 the RUF was driven back. Kamajor organisation was then replicated in other regions, producing the Donsos in Kono in the east, and the Gbethis and the Kapras, comprising mainly Temnes, and the Tamaboros, consisting mainly of Korankos, all in the north. While these militias may have developed from ideas of self-defence, there were also interests in diamond mining, and the Kamajors in particular were aligned with and favoured by the SLPP, which won the elections in 1996.2 Third, the RUF faced mercenaries hired by the government from a South African company, Executive Outcomes, which worked successfully alongside the Kamajors in the latter part of this first period of the conflict. Finally, and despite some military organisation skills in a West African civil-war setting, Sankoh stamped his singular authority on the RUF and led it further down a path which alienated civilian support and failed to articulate any programme or grievances. Indeed, the ‘sobel’ phenomenon – soldiers by day, rebels by night – highlighted the extensive collaboration between elements of the SLA and of the RUF, two supposedly opposed forces, in widespread looting. By late 1996, after opting not to take part in the first multi-party elections since the 1970s, and losing ground on the battlefield, the RUF was forced to the negotiating table. The Abidjan Accord, however, did not last long, and the conflict continued. In May 1997, elements of the SLA staged a coup, ousting the elected Ahmad Tejan Kabbah SLPP government and inviting the RUF into a coalition junta, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), headed by Johnny Paul

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Koroma.3 At the time, however, Sankoh had recently been arrested and incarcerated in Nigeria for possession of illegal weapons. The junta, hemmed in by international sanctions and strafed by Nigerian jets, was driven out of Freetown after less than a year by Nigerian ECOMOG (Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group) troops and Kamajors, by this time part of the combined militias of the Civil Defence Force (CDF). The AFRC/RUF retreated to the north of the country, home to many in the army, spreading the war to areas that had previously been conflict-free, and the SLPP government returned from exile. On 6 January 1999, AFRC/RUF forces re-entered Freetown and subjected the capital city to its worst experiences of the war. ‘Operation No Living Thing’ left considerable destruction and casualties in its wake. Driven back, the AFRC/RUF forces retreated once again to the north and a second treaty, the Lomé Accord, was signed in Togo in July 1999. The Accord stipulated power-sharing in a coalition government, with Sankoh becoming vice-president and simultaneously heading the commission overseeing diamond production. The Accord brought in UN peacekeepers as part of the UN Mission for Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), to replace ECOMOG troops. The coalition swiftly collapsed and in May 2000, Sankoh was arrested, in Freetown apparently plotting a coup, and the RUF took hundreds of UNAMSIL peacekeepers hostage. The conflict, however, was mostly over within 12 months of these events. Three overlapping factors led to the final announcement of the end of the war in January 2002. First, in mid-2000, British troops were dispatched by the Tony Blair Labour government, initially with a mandate to protect expatriates, but eventually – in an example of ‘mission creep’ – to engage with rebels and bolster UNAMSIL. In a show of strength, British forces engaged with and eliminated a former AFRC faction, the West Side Boys, in their camp on the Rokel River, after British soldiers had been taken hostage. Later that year, Liberian and RUF forces invaded Guinea to flush out nascent rebels threatening Taylor’s hold on the presidency, which he had won in the 1997 Liberian elections. RUF forces reached a third of the way to the Guinean capital, Conakry, before the Guinean army and air force and

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Sierra Leonean Donso militias drove both sets of pro-Taylor forces back over the border. Finally, in May 2001, the UN placed sanctions on Taylor after a Panel of Experts’ report named him as chief backer of the RUF. Taylor’s response to the threat of sanctions was to split with the RUF. In April 2001, a weakened RUF entered peace negotiations, culminating just over a year later in national elections and the establishment of the SLSC and the TRC.

The nature of the war and the combatants The underlying causes of the Sierra Leonean war Conflicts, particularly those in a domestic setting, almost always produce intense concurrent disagreements amongst the observers who seek to explain them, even if not following the same lines of cleavage. This is probably a reflection of the intimate and brutal nature of these conflicts, and the deep scars they create. The Sierra Leonean civil war was a nasty conflict and, as might be expected, the debate on its causes and its participants generated its share of intense heat. Indeed, because of the often extreme nature of the Sierra Leonean civil conflict, the new and old wars and greed-grievance debates have often hinged on interpretations of these hostilities. It is important here to identify those features of the conflict and the combatants that help to explain the outcomes of the elections which followed the peace deals, and the necessary hiatus in the violence. In the interest of clarity, the underlying causes of the war and its prolongation have been separated, as far as possible, from its more immediate triggers or precipitants, including the direct instigators of the conflict. One popular school of thought places the RUF centre-stage, not just as a precipitant of the war, but also as its root cause. The RUF is discussed in detail below, but it is important here initially to highlight the thinking in some quarters that RUF economic preoccupations are central to explaining the outbreak in conflict. From its origins as the henchmen of Taylor, the Liberian rebel leader and later president, through to its capture of the diamond fields and ultimately, in 1997, of state power, the RUF is held in some quarters as solely responsible

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for the carnage. Some have stated that there was no rebellion, and hesitate even to use the word ‘rebel’ in references to the RUF, preferring the more economically oriented label ‘bandit’.4 The RUF was purely a mercenary force, and its main source of recruitment was terrorised children. Thus the blame for the war can be placed squarely on diamonds and those who wanted them.5 The Sierra Leonean Ambassador to the UN stated categorically in 2000: We have always maintained that the conflict in Sierra Leone is not about ideology, tribal or regional differences. It has nothing to do with the so-called problem of marginalized youths, or, as some political commentators have characterized it, an uprising by rural poor against the urban elite. The root of the conflict is and remains, diamonds, diamonds and diamonds.6 The extensive collaboration of elements of the SLA and the RUF, two supposedly opposed forces, in the ‘sobel’ phenomenon is used to illustrate the economic objectives of both sides. The crucial backing of Taylor is put forward to demonstrate the RUF’s thoroughly mercenary intentions. The proponents of these arguments place themselves closer to views on how the RUF should have been defeated on the battlefield and concur with a ‘greed’ analysis of contemporary civil wars.7 Interestingly, the ethno-regional nature of Sierra Leonean politics is often decried for its negative effects on governance, but rarely blamed for the civil war. However, the composition of the RUF, of the SLA and its offshoots and of the CDF certainly added an ethno-regional dimension to the conflict. The RUF had a majority from the south and east in its ranks, most likely because the initial conflict was launched against the northern-based APC regime and because the invasion began in the south and east. That said, top-level officials such as Sankoh and Issa Sesay are northerners. The SLA and, subsequently, the AFRC – which took power in 1997 – were dominated by northerners. The most successful CDF, the Kamajors, was a Mende organisation, aligned with the southern-based SLPP government after 1996. To muddy the waters further, after the collapse of the junta in 1998 the forces of the AFRC/ RUF retreated to and based themselves almost entirely in the north

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and east of the country. In all, the regional cleavages played a significant supporting role in the conflict and in the accompanying political machinations, although at times these divisions were certainly blurred by opportunism and economic considerations. Sierra Leone’s religious pluralism does not appear to have played any part in the conflict, and the country’s reputation for religious tolerance remains intact. Indeed, at one stage, Sankoh declared that he adhered to both Christian and Muslim beliefs. The consequences of the degradation of the political and economic environment were, however, clearly manifold. The apparently promising educational and economic conditions at the time of independence were built on something akin to sand. Under-resourced British colonialism, with its over-reliance on indirect rule through the indigenous hierarchy, bequeathed a very weak governmental structure. The amalgam of British colonialism, chiefly political logic and the Creole presence delivered a divided society and a significantly accentuated paternalistic, somewhat arrogant, yet ultimately compromised elite. If the SLPP of the early 1960s retained a post-independence optimism, it was the subsequent SLPP government, on the death of Milton Margai in 1964, that set in train the greater leaning towards patronage politics; and after 1968, the APC administration, threatened by army coups and headed by Siaka Stevens, led the country into a form of predatory neo-patrimonialism. Sierra Leonean government services, including the transport network, health and schools, were then systematically run down under the APC. In the immediate build-up to the war, there were shortages of many basic products, including petrol, and rampant corruption pervaded the government at all levels. Diamonds and a variety of exports and imports were controlled and smuggled by foreigners, whether Lebanese or the more recently arrived Israelis, in league with local politicians. The armed forces had developed into a milch cow for northern elements, and the economy had descended to new lows after a 20-year decline. An intimidated judiciary had allowed political violence perpetrated by security units and state-sponsored thugs, and resentment against the northern-biased APC ran high, particularly so in the south and east of the country.

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Education, once thriving in Sierra Leone, and still crucial to a person’s economic opportunities in Africa, had seriously contracted. By 1986/87 the percentage of government outlay spent on health and education had fallen to a third of its share three years previously. By the late 1980s, primary-school enrolment stood at just 40 per cent, well below the sub-Saharan average, and literacy at less than 30 per cent. Surveys of fighters indicated that combatants shared a single preoccupation, that of education, and that the war was fuelled more by social factors than the lure of diamonds.8 This rather singular reading, however, does not sit easily with the conflict evidence as related above. Youth alienation, more generally, figures highly.9 Surveys have resulted in ‘remarkably consistent’ data with ‘opposed parties (villagers, RUF cadres and CDF fighters . . .) agreeing on the significance of a combination of poverty and injustice, especially affecting youth’.10 The economic and hence distributional crisis in the patrimonial system hit young people particularly hard. Poor urban areas of Sierra Leone produced a pool of excluded, disaffected, unemployed youths moulded by criminal behaviour or political violence. Some migrated to the equally harsh diamond areas. In the rural environment, chiefs are the local nodes of the patrimonial system and have since colonial times held local power over citizenship.11 Although ‘there is little doubt that post-colonial economic decline and contracting state services served as the immediate triggers for the Sierra Leone conflict’, Richard Fanthorpe warns that ‘significant contributory factors may have much deeper historical roots’, referring to the exclusionary nature and the locally powerful position of contemporary chiefly authority.12 As land and property rights dating back to colonial times are conferred by chiefdom citizenship, which in turn is controlled by the chief, itinerant workers and youths can be excluded or downgraded, particularly as patronage dries up. Chiefs newly created by the APC are held up as particularly abusive.13 Education, employment and the neo-patrimonial forces of the state no longer served to fill that gap. Marriage presented a further grievance, as local elites monopolised the market and made excessive claims for ‘woman damage’, when young men interfered with their wives.14 Urban and rural elements in the RUF are further explored below.

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Also of import is the almost total removal of oppositional politics and of representation in chiefly or state government, through which injustices might have been aired. Many people were completely disenfranchised. ‘Disrespect and lack of recognition’, particularly for male youths, were major drivers of violence.15 The anthropologist Michael Jackson concludes that ‘as corrupt governments and coups destroyed the civil state in Sierra Leone, and the economy collapsed, these thwarted dreams had assumed increasingly violent and vengeful shape’.16 The arguments over the causes of the conflict are not sharply delineated. There are many overlaps, and it is often the hierarchy of causes that is under dispute. However, it is not easy to accept the proposal to place most of the blame on diamonds. Although diamonds are present in other African conflict arenas, such as in Congo-Kinshasa and Angola, and the diamonds in peaceful Botswana are of a different type which are more difficult to extract, a direct link between easily extractable minerals, or indeed any form of valuable goods, and war would have reduced most societies to conflict.17 The TRC concluded that the war ‘would have taken place even without the existence of diamonds in the country’.18 It is clear that Taylor stood to benefit considerably from an RUF monopoly of the Sierra Leone diamond trade. It is also clear that the RUF’s beeline for the diamond fields and its penchant for making profit out of war were not at any time deflected by any purported ideology. However, even if we were to assume that the RUF had no political motives (discussed in detail below), this conclusion ignores the political, social and economic environment which the RUF invaded. One ought to take into account the culture of assumed elite superiority, the centring and personalising of power and wholesale injustices of the APC years, particularly in the south and east, and the grievances that had built up, even those held by school drop-outs, itinerant diamond miners and excluded individuals on the margins of society. In any case, there is surely a danger for the future in dismissing the RUF as bandits and ignoring the underlying conditions that may lead to another outbreak of conflict, however it is driven. We need only to look across the border into Liberia, where appalling civil conflict returned only three years after it had been apparently halted.

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The precipitants of war: RUF, CDF, SLA and foreign states The following section serves a dual function. First, the triggers that allowed the conflict to begin and the features that provoked its prolongation, as opposed to the underlying root causes as outlined above, are examined. Hence the international roles of Liberia and West African ECOMOG peacekeepers are discussed, and the domestic actions of the Sierra Leonean players are prominently featured as precipitants rather than key explanations of the conflict. Second, the political actors in the post-conflict election derive from or are heavily influenced by the warring groups. Here it is important, once again, to understand the nature of the rebel and pro-government forces. Considerable scholarly heat was generated in the late 1990s over the true nature of the RUF. The temperature of the debate would have been abnormally high in any case, due to the particular tactics used by the RUF and others to terrorise civilians and children. Amputations and the forced recruitment of minors as combatants were only the more shocking cruelties widely reported by the international media. In this climate, it was considered controversial when Paul Richards gave credence to the RUF’s revolutionary claims, asserting that disaffected intellectuals who harboured sincere democratic and radical beliefs led the RUF. The violence was the product of an intellectual project by a vengeful movement of exiles, the consequences of which had not been fully thought through.19 The RUF camps in rural central Sierra Leone ‘embodied (through free basic education and medical services) the movement’s egalitarian political message’.20 The RUF certainly had no convincing text or ideological programme to act as impetus for the combat forces. The RUF manifesto, The Basic Document of the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone (RUF/SL): The Second Liberation of Africa, was released in 1990, but predated the RUF as an organisation and was a redrafted version of a PANAFU document.21 The second and last publication five years later, Footpaths to Democracy: Towards a New Sierra Leone, Vol. 1, contained quotes from the first document alongside an anthem and a lengthy text attributed to Sankoh. Despite the stirring slogan, ‘Arms to the people; power to the people; and wealth to the people’, both publications are often disparaged as

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totally unrepresentative of RUF aims. However, although the claims to active conservationism and liberation theology are outlandish, the sentiments of anti-urban elitism would certainly have struck a chord within and outside the rebel forces. The promise that ‘No more shall the rural countryside be reduced to hewers of wood and drawers of water for urban Freetown’, is particularly specific and poignant. Although during a decade of conflict the RUF fought against four politically different regimes in Freetown, the widespread notion of elite exploitation only ever went away for a brief period at the beginning of the NPRC regime. Both Richards and Krijn Peters have argued that some egalitarian concepts were indeed practised within the RUF.22 Qualifying his original argument, Richards went on to describe the RUF as a millenarian sect, created almost by accident, and underpinned by Ghaddafi Green Book egalitarianism, messianic or charismatic authority and the meritocratic communities of the camps. The RUF was a ‘populist movement without popular support’ and could not have survived in this environment over ten years purely through coercive means.23 There is a similar and pertinent argument that if they had no ideology at all, they would not have been so angry.24 Richards’ critics, however, refuse to countenance ideological credit being given to the RUF. Any serious individuals had been purged from the hierarchy before the fighting started, and the leader and movement that emerged had no ideological motivation.25 The RUF did, indeed, have extreme leadership difficulties, as explored below, and failed to articulate a programme to the wider world, but this does not preclude the possibility that there were non-conventional – either ad hoc or more organised – motivational and ideological practices followed in the RUF camps. It would not have been difficult to articulate the many grievances felt by the foot soldiers. It has also been suggested that the backbone of the RUF rank and file, and indeed much of the leadership, was formed by Sierra Leone’s ‘lumpens’.26 ‘Lumpen’ history moves through its various stages from the rebellious, anti-social and ill-educated Freetown youth culture of the 1940s, through the addition of politicised school drop-outs in the late 1960s and 1970s who rejected the elite which they had formerly wished to join, and finally to the RUF. ‘Lumpens’ played their roles in the orchestrated APC political violence and anti-APC demonstrations

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in the 1970s and 1980s.27 Many of these youths had been attracted to the border areas into which the RUF invaded by the opportunities provided by smuggling and mining, and were receptive to the appeal of the rebels.28 These explanations focus on individual rather than communal motivations for joining the rebels, and they hold some weight considering the generally poor RUF relations with local communities. They also hint at explaining the hatred directed at urban dwellers and wealthy traders, who had benefited from the system which had rejected the ‘lumpens’. However, although there is certainly evidence of ‘lumpen’ elements, there is also a considerable rural presence, which built up in the RUF and whose preoccupations with rural and chiefdom issues, as outlined above, must also be key when considering the motivations of the foot soldiers of the RUF.29 Following the many assertions that most of the RUF fighters were coerced into joining, research has indicated that commentators may have underestimated the number of voluntary recruits, especially in the early days.30 If not entirely voluntary, it has not been acknowledged that some may have joined after any other potential occupation had been taken away, or at least that there was no loyalty to central or local government which might have held someone back from joining or receiving protection from an armed opposition. Elsewhere in Africa, research has shown that the meaning of ‘kidnapped’ or ‘captured’ appears to vary. Is it possible that in Sierra Leone, as well as those who were taken against their will, there were also others who ‘didn’t bother to run away’ and still others who ‘arranged to be captured’?31 These were opportunities to fight back against the perfidious authorities, and/or to escape the frustrations and despair of daily life. There were also careers in the RUF awaiting some: Gibril Massaquoi, for example, a teacher in Pujehun who was abducted by the RUF in 1991 and, albeit with only limited education, rose swiftly in the ranks of the military and then political wings. Dr Mohamed Barrie held a senior position at a large mine works when he was captured, but was soon found representing the RUF in national and international settings. Equally, there were many such as the illicit miners or ‘san-san boys’, who could see an opportunity when it presented itself. It has not always been easy to attribute atrocities to particular sides in the conflict, except that the RUF contributed to many of the

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brutalities, and that there are many guilty parties. The TRC reached the following statistical conclusions from its work: Table 1 (Sierra Leone) TRC estimates of atrocities committed by belligerents (%) Overall atrocities (%)

RUF

AFRC

SLA

CDF (mainly Kamajors)

ECOMOG

60.5

9.8

6.8

6

1

Of RUF violations where the age of victims is known, 15.4 per cent were against a child; for the AFRC (including SLA/AFRC), this figure was noted as 10.7 per cent.32 Comprehending the levels and type of violence is even more difficult. To explain the generality of extreme violence on all sides, a comparison with the spiritual underpinnings of the conflict in Liberia shows similarities in the use of protective charms on the battlefield, the degradation of the secret societies and even the consumption of human organs, but the wholesale use and abuse of spiritual influence was not as marked in Sierra Leone.33 A socio-cultural explanation of the Sierra Leone conflict focusing on the Mende encounters difficulties, given that the RUF was a thoroughly modern phenomenon. Marianne Ferme is interested in ambiguity and concealment in the Mende world, and how these traits are the result of past violence.34 Within the RUF, observations have been made of the use of secret knowledge to create social alternatives.35 Equally, but not a point addressed by Ferme, ambiguity and concealment could instead be causal factors in the violence. However, the extent to which contemporary violence in Sierra Leone can be seen as rooted in the history of certain ethnic groups is far from clear.36 The attempt by the RUF to emulate the NPFL after the initial invasion certainly backfired. The NPFL had been successful in 1989 and 1990 in its populist policy of targeting disliked local authorityfigures and traders, many of them Mandingos and Krahns seen to be in league with the ethnocentric Samuel Doe regime. The RUF’s policy, including the targeting of chiefs whose relationship with their subjects was rather more ambiguous than the scenario in Liberia, came across

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to many local Sierra Leoneans as simple brutality. This is often blamed on the excesses of the large Liberian and Burkinabe mercenary contingent in the initial invasion force, or the backing from Taylor, which reduced the need to cultivate the local people. However, the RUF was not helped, as the NPFL had been, by the extreme reaction of Liberian government troops against residents of Nimba County, who subsequently flocked to the insurgents. The RUF was probably hampered by a ‘fish out of water’ problem, as few of the original invaders had any connections with the local populace or much knowledge of local politics.37 Despite some of its redistributive practices and the antipathy felt by people of these border areas for the APC government, the rebels found little favour with the majority of locals, and resorted to greater and greater brutality. Richards argues that the RUF was unable to export its egalitarian ideals from its camps to the rural population of central Sierra Leone, but not because RUF fighters were unknowns in the area. It failed, according to Richards, because ‘it sought – in a spirit of revenge – to obliterate the communities from which its cadres had been excluded’.38 The RUF’s cause was ‘vengeful egalitarianism’ against the abuses of chiefly patrimonialism.39 Grievances before and during the war both fed into a dangerous combination of ‘shamelessness’ within the RUF and the ‘threat of shame’ in the wider society.40 The killings, amputations and destruction brought to the capital, Freetown, by an alliance of rebel factions in January 1999 seemed to emphasise an ingrained antipathy towards city dwellers.41 The aggrieved, vengeful, criminalised and abused fighters of the RUF and other factions made extreme violence commonplace. The cruelty of the rebel force to civilians was also somewhat directed by its political leadership. Although establishing a chain of command is all but impossible, and the more sophisticated use of violence against civilians in order to attract international aid or eventual benefits for demobilised fighters does not seem readily to apply to the RUF leadership, there is anecdotal evidence of orders coming from the top.42 The use of amputations, initially for ‘rational’ purposes such as preventing harvests, making threats, or, in 1996, giving warnings to refrain from voting, but eventually out of desperation, particularly after the Kamajors and other CDF began to get the upper hand, appears to have

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been systematic.43 This brutality may have served short-term gains, but militated considerably against winning military or political support from inside or outside the country. The political-leadership problems of the RUF at all levels deserve greater scrutiny. In the late 1980s, there were a number of Sierra Leoneans – alongside Liberians (including Taylor), Ghanaians and Gambians – who went to Libya for insurgency training. According to most accounts, the majority of these Sierra Leoneans had abandoned the idea of violent struggle before the creation of the RUF. Of those that continued to plough this furrow, three were prominent in the formation of the RUF, and were involved with Taylor and the NPFL in Liberia. Even before the end of 1992, however, Abu Kanu and Rashid Mansaray had been executed by their RUF comrades for alleged battlefield crimes, leaving Foday Sankoh firmly in charge. As noted above, other educated ‘recruits’ were picked up along the way, but their effect on the movement was stifled. Sankoh’s education and experience were not ideal for leading a revolutionary movement, although the loyalty generated amongst the fighters even during four years of imprisonment ensured the RUF’s survival. He was a former army corporal with only a primary-level education, who was incarcerated in 1971 for his failure to inform the authorities of the Bangura coup attempt. Considering that he and Bangura were from the same district, that Sankoh held a position at SLBS TV, and that he himself has claimed to have played a large part (however exaggerated) in that coup, the accusation was probably correct. After his release from Pademba Road Prison in 1978 until his departure for Libya, Sankoh earned a living as an itinerant photographer. It is clear that during his experiences in prison and in the ‘revolutionary’ groups that preceded the RUF and the Libyan trips, Sankoh developed that animosity towards the elite that would inform his methods within the RUF and within interim governments. Two sets of events, in 1997 and 2000 and both involving the separation of Sankoh from the movement, can be seen to characterise the continued political leadership problems within the RUF. When Sankoh was arrested in Nigeria in early 1997, an attempt on the leadership was made by an educated group, including Captain Philip Palmer, a Fourah Bay College engineering graduate and apparently RUF

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founder-member; Dr Mohamed Barrie, Chief Medical Officer of the Sierra Leone Ore and Metal Company (SIEROMCO) mine, abducted by the RUF in January 1995, and a representative at the 1996 Abidjan peace talks; Ibrahim Deen-Jalloh, a lecturer from the rural teachertraining college at Bunumbu, an RUF Peace Commissioner and another representative at the Abidjan talks; and Fayia Musa, a former Njala College student, recruited in 1991 whilst a teacher in a Kailahun secondary school, and another RUF Peace Commissioner.44 Their coup, apparently premised on Sankoh’s authoritarianism and unwillingness to abide by the Abidjan Accord, proved short-lived when battlefield commanders arrested several of the leaders. The RUF command was provisionally assumed, in Sankoh’s two-year absence, by Sam ‘Maskita’ Bockarie, a former illicit-diamond miner and barber with a brutal reputation. Bockarie’s mercenary activities continued in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire for some time after the end of the RUF, until his death in May 2003. He was probably executed on the orders of Taylor, who may have seen Bockarie as holding too much dangerous information. After the arrest of Sankoh in May 2000, on this occasion by Sierra Leonean authorities in Freetown, the interim leadership of the RUF was once again taken over, this time by Sesay, an ill-educated and politically unimpressive battlefield commander and former Abidjan street-seller. During the post-Lomé Accord coalition period that preceded Sankoh’s last arrest, the RUF had negotiated, with the help of powerful outside interests, several cabinet portfolios and a vice-presidency. Given this chance to consolidate itself politically, the RUF wasted its opportunity, as it had wasted other political opportunities in 1996 after the Abidjan Accord and in 1997–98 during the AFRC junta, concentrating instead on mining, avoiding disarmament and taking UN peacekeepers hostage. It appears that Sankoh was stopped from implementing a coup in Freetown in May 2000 by civilian protests outside his residence. On returning to the peace process in 2001, the Revolutionary United Front Party (RUFP) engaged in negotiations over disarmament and demobilisation, but was all but silent on electoral arrangements, an issue fundamental to its political survival and one that other parties and organisations took very seriously. In early 2002, the RUFP struggled to name a presidential candidate in Sankoh’s absence. The

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compromise candidate, Alimamy Pallo Bangura, had been a Fourah Bay lecturer, an ambassador to the UN, and an AFRC and post-Lomé coalition-government minister, but had virtually no links to RUF military commanders, let alone to the rank and file.45 His appointment reflected the dearth of other possibilities, a state of affairs that appears to have prevailed throughout the RUF’s brief history. The RUF leadership was in part economically driven, and had little concern for civilians who crossed their path, and were hence despised by many in Sierra Leone. These characteristics contributed to its final military and political downfall. However, whether we understand the leadership of the RUF to be of ‘lumpen’ or marginalised rural origin, and therefore ill-equipped to lead a national rebellion, or consisting of excluded intellectuals often ‘recruited’ along the way, it is clear that those willing only to pursue the military option always held the upper hand, and that any capable political wing was not allowed to develop. Sankoh’s fear and distrust of the elite, and his animosity towards it, must be an important factor in this most destructive dynamic. The failure of the leadership to capitalise on the fertile ground for rebellion is telling. Militarily, the RUF suffered from its inability to attract significant public support, and was exposed when facing coherent armed forces such as Executive Outcomes and the Kamajors in 1996, the British intervention in 2000, and Guinean forces on the Sierra Leone-Guinea border in 2000–01. Its reliance on Liberia for its diamond and arms traffic was equally exposed by the apparently significant pro-Taylor and pro-Sankoh split in the RUF, which at the least led to Bockarie’s permanent move across the border, and UN sanctions on Liberia in 2001. Politically, the RUF had always struggled to articulate or present itself adequately, and the RUFP was not going to win the 2002 elections. The RUF’s failure to build up the quality of its leadership and higher-level cadres had serious implications on any future it might have had as a political party and on its ability to interact with international bodies. Despite some new blood emerging from rural schools and institutions, there was no recruitment drive akin to attempts by rebel groups elsewhere on the continent, where for instance the promise of scholarships was aimed at enticing educated people into the movement. The RUF’s economic preoccupations, the paranoia and

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self-belief of its leader, and the ‘lumpen’ constituency of the commanders precluded a shift towards the intellectual and denuded the RUF of capable negotiators, officials and political candidates. While the outside world was pressing the Sierra Leone government to compromise, as at the Lomé talks in 1999, the RUF could bully its way to a good deal. However, when the ‘international community’ later switched tack, at some point in 2000, and moved to engage the RUF on the battlefield rather than at the conference table, eventually deciding that it was no longer to be taken seriously at all, there was no-one to hold the movement together. The military successes of the rebel forces can also be partly explained by the state collapse and attendant military decline brought on by 24 years of kleptocratic, thuggish and northern-biased APC rule. The SLA did not, at any stage of the war, adequately serve its function as a protector of the state. The armed forces had been transformed during the 1970s and 1980s into a northern enclave to promote loyalty to the northern-dominated APC regime. At the same time, it had been slowly demilitarised, to the point where the army had few rifles or bullets and was more interested in enrichment than military engagement. The APC relied for its internal security on paramilitaries mainly known for violence against students and protesters. By 1991, there was little to hold back an effective insurgency. The RUF was then elevated into a more decisive force due to the inclusion of poorly trained and ill-chosen recruits into the army during the Strasser military regime. The appeals to illicit-mining gangs by the SLA officer, Benjamin Hirsch, were charismatic and successful in enrolling resistance against the RUF, but are also indicative of the sort of recruit that was targeted and the possible prime motivations of those recruits. The term ‘sobel’ was coined to illustrate the fluid and predatory nature of the conflict. Civilians would often regard SLA and RUF as equally threatening, and sometimes could not tell the difference between the two forces. In 1994, Strasser admitted that at least 20 per cent of his army was disloyal. The similar backgrounds of SLA and RUF recruits can begin to explain their similar behaviour.46 Mining was an occupation actively pursued by SLA, RUF and CDFs. The May 1997 coup d’état was one dominated by junior officers. The discontent

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created in the army over the SLPP government’s apparent preference for the CDF over the northern-dominated SLA, the clashes between the two forces prior to the coup, and the uncertainty around the impending SLA demobilisation – as stipulated by the 1996 Abidjan Accord – are not so much in dispute. It is the composition of the coup plotters that has caused concern. Instead of an emphasis on the junior level of the officers, it is the ‘lumpen’ element and its associations with the RUF before and after the coup that some see as striking.47 Johnny Paul Koroma, freed from incarceration after a previous coup attempt to become the leader of the AFRC junta, is often regarded as typical of the ‘sobel’ phenomenon. The looting of the Sierra Rutile mines in 1995, which his troops were ostensibly guarding, has been attributed to collusion between Koroma and the RUF leadership. Koroma’s subsequent alleged post-conflict coup attempts in April 2002 and January 2003, his indictment by the SLSC and his disappearance add to his notoriety. The disorder, brutality and wholesale looting during the short-lived junta certainly cannot be denied. Finally, none of this would have happened at this particular point in time had it not been inspired from Liberia and if the end of the Cold War had not provoked the downgrading and new political conditionalities on international aid in Africa.48 It probably would not have assumed the exact form that it did if there had been no diamonds. Taylor’s control over the Liberian countryside was threatened by forces coalescing in Sierra Leone and by ECOMOG in Monrovia, to which Sierra Leone was a contributor. Support for an RUF invasion in 1991 served to undermine the Sierra Leonean state and any opponents harboured there, and simultaneously created a lucrative avenue to the diamond fields. Taylor would also have calculated that the RUF, given limited international intervention, could plausibly reach Freetown and topple the APC government. If diamonds played a part in Taylor’s initial thinking, this often easily accessible and highly valuable resource undoubtedly shaped and prolonged the conflict. Mining financed the war and its warriors. The debilitating effects of diamonds on the rebels, however, can again be traced to the poor organisation of the RUF and perhaps, given the impoverished state of national infrastructure and military, to the absence of any urgent need to organise better.49

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Conclusions The APC regime, enduring for 23 years until 1992, built on an already over-centralised, coercive yet ineffectual colonial state, survived in an environment where this same state was weak and penetrated by relatively strong but fractured societal interests. Stevens shifted APC thinking only towards a much more personalistic and patron-client basis, certainly not away from paternalist roots in British, Creole and chiefly attitudes. The party’s political and economic actions then left the country prone to civil conflict, the insurgents facing an inadequate state defence with which to engage, and a marginalised, disaffected and substantial sub-group from which to recruit. The TRC poignantly stated that ‘by 1991, Sierra Leone was a deeply divided society and full of the potential for violence. It required only the slightest spark for this violence to be ignited’.50 The impetus for the RUF to invade was supplied by the Liberian war, by RUF backing from Liberia, by Libyan training and by diamonds, and diamonds and loot encouraged all factions to continue the war and increased the already significant tendency of the RUF towards mercenarism. With considerable animosity against the APC regime in 1991, and thus fertile ground for recruitment into a rebel army, the RUF should have emulated the NPFL and reached the capital in six months, but instead failed to expand its following beyond a small disgruntled, opportunist or coerced constituency. People, who in a state with a functioning polity and infrastructure and with regional neighbours not bent on invasion and exploitation, would be locked up or placed in some way under societal supervision found themselves in positions of authority and power. Its bid to capture state power fell short except for the brief periods of cohabitation in the AFRC in 1997–98 and with the SLPP in 1999–2000. It did, however, prove to be longer-lived than any could have imagined in 1991, and succeeded in holding on to large swathes of the country, including the diamond-rich areas, for substantial periods of time, but failed again to capitalise beyond short-term economic gain. Its two main failings were its indiscriminate brutality against civilians and its inability to build the capacity of the organisation to survive in a post-conflict Sierra Leone. The two failings are,

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of course, interlinked, but the latter became more important as the military situation turned against the RUF and the political option moved closer. The RUF was thus unable to withstand the increasing vilification of the ‘international community’ and even to begin a transformation into a viable political body nurturing a base of support, which should have started at least in 1999, but probably considerably earlier.

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CHAPTER 4 SIER R A LEONE – THE 1996 AND 2002 ELECTIONS

The nature of the peace and the parties The periods immediately prior to the 1996 and 2002 polls presented opportunities of sorts to hold elections. By mid-2001 there was a new peace process emerging from the ashes of the 1999 Lomé Accord, and by January 2002 enough confidence within government and within the UN force to declare the war over. If 1996 did not elicit such strong affirmations of peace, then at least there were ongoing negotiations and a partial hiatus in the conflict. Although the 1996 elections were urgently driven by pressure from civil society and against a military regime – as opposed to those of 2002, which were constitutionally overdue after the expiration of the SLPP’s five-year term of office – there was little consideration in either case of an alternative path. There were voices, particularly within the military regime, which advocated ‘peace before elections’ in 1996, but they were in a minority. In line with broad post-Cold War liberal-democratic thinking, elections were seen as the way to peace in 1996 and to its consolidation in 2002. The 1996 elections Valentine Strasser’s military NPRC had come to power in 1992, and had for a long time promised elections. Strasser had been removed

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in January 1996 by Julius Maada Bio in a palace coup, which was apparently staged, amongst other reasons, as a result of Strasser’s reversal of his decision not to stand for president. Despite clear reservations within the military, Bio continued the democratising process. A National Consultative Council (NCC), well represented at least in civilian terms, twice agreed to forge ahead with the elections. After the lifting of the ban on political parties in June 1995, the NCC’s first gathering, at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown two months later, agreed a February election date; a second session was convened on 12 February, after the Bio coup. However, although the RUF was involved at this time in peace talks, there was certainly no peace accord or RUF political involvement, and there was continuing (albeit lowerlevel) violence in the countryside. Some were concerned to have ‘peace before elections’. The RUF, meanwhile, claimed effective control over parts of the east; any travel by road remained hazardous outside the Western Area, and a November UN estimate revealed that up to 50 per cent of the population, some two million people, had been displaced. However, the second conference voted with a large majority to go ahead, as planned, on 26 February. Ironically, it was the most peaceful campaign for 30 years, with ‘evident cordiality’ between contenders.1 Even the meeting of large rival demonstrations in Bo remained peaceful. The violence was largely limited to the RUF and attempts by the Sierra Leone armed forces to disrupt the polling. The much-publicised cases of amputation of hands by the RUF sent a severe symbolic warning of the dangers of voting or intending to vote. On the first-round election day, the RUF attacked the town of Bo and centres close to the towns of Makeni and Kenema; there were a number of fatalities, and also shooting in the capital. In the week before the election, an attack was launched, probably by elements of the NPRC endeavouring to derail the elections, against the Interim National Election Commission (INEC) offices in Freetown and the home of its chairman, Dr James Jonah. The residence of SLPP leader Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was also attacked, and a prominent newspaper editor, Paul Kamara, was shot and injured. Campaigning was limited to the west, north, urban centres and pockets of the south and east, with the main focus on the town and

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cities. Only larger parties were visible anywhere in the provinces due to the expense of transport, often only feasible by air. Allegations that the National Unity Party (NUP) was able to campaign in areas where other parties were not allowed, and that it was able to use government facilities, amplified the perception that the NUP was a NPRC-backed party, although this did not enhance its public standing and such suspicions diminished after the Bio coup. Security was, in some parts, augmented by the Kamajors, which would have raised eyebrows in certain quarters given their overwhelming Mende membership. There were few overt issues to distinguish the parties, all favouring conflict resolution through dialogue, promising an end to corruption and the promotion of economic development. Most were personality-based, and some offered no manifesto. Despite the overt cordiality, the amount of negative campaigning increased as the election drew nearer. The SLPP played on the advanced age of United National People’s Party (UNPP) leader John Karefa-Smart, and on his marriage to a foreigner, while the UNPP resurrected the 1967 Beoku-Betts report under the National Reformation Council military government, in which Kabbah had been described as lacking integrity. An All Political Parties Association, established with every party bar the NUP, agreed on a Code of Conduct for the election and presented a single voice in talks with the government and INEC. The press, although lively, exerted a limited impression, due to low circulation and infrequent or erratic publishing. Radio, the most popular method of media communication in sub-Saharan Africa, was dominated by the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS), but was described as reasonably even-handed.2 For the first time, and largely as a result of the security situation, Sierra Leonean elections were arranged on a PR lists system, although, unlike Liberia in 1997, there were separate polls for president and parliament. Any party that registered over 5 per cent of the vote could take up seats in the parliament. A little less than half the 1.6 million registered voters turned out to vote in the first round, a figure, however, higher then expected given the security difficulties. The count for the first ballot was conducted, after the closure of the polls, at 1,900 polling stations, in full view of party agents and interested observers, except where security was in question – which included the city of Bo.

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International observers were supplemented by domestic counterparts, such as the Council of Churches of Sierra Leone. The first round gave Kabbah 35.7 per cent and Karefa-Smart 22.9 per cent, necessitating a second round run-off between just these two contenders. The SLPP took 27 of the 80 parliamentary seats and four other parties allied to it a further 24. Karefa-Smart’s UNPP took 17 seats and Thaimu Bangura’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) 12, with 12 seats reserved for the election of Paramount Chiefs. This was a clear majority for the resulting SLPP-led coalition. The possibility of avoiding a second round was lost when KarefaSmart refused to go along with a power-sharing agreement that his party had negotiated with the SLPP. This time there were no disruptions during polling, although RUF attacks on Bo preceded election day, 15 March. The turnout, at an increased total of 2,200 polling stations, was higher than expected in the south, east and north, probably due to security improvements. Seven out of 14 southern chiefdoms, an increase of three on the first round, were open for voting. However, in a confused situation, the people on the supplementary register in the Western Region were not allowed to vote in the second round, and this was most likely a major factor in the lower turnout in that sector. Kabbah won the second round with an increased turnout of apparently around 65 per cent of those registered. Before the final announcement, a reassessment of the count was conducted after the discovery of voter turnouts significantly greater than INEC’s lists in Kailahun and Kenema, while a 99.6 per cent turnout was recorded in Bo district in the south.3 Karefa-Smart complained that there were ‘significant doubts as to the elections results’ and that he had in fact won. INEC deducted what appeared to be an arbitrary 70,000 votes from Kabbah. However, it was agreed by the two candidates and electoral officials that all ballots above the number of registered voters for a district were to be subtracted from Kabbah’s total, as each of these districts produced a Kabbah win.4 The SLPP leader still won, with 59.2 per cent of the vote, as opposed to Karefa-Smart’s 40.8 per cent. Although Karefa-Smart considered that ‘very serious violations of the law and the Constitution’ had taken place, he announced that he had acceded to Kabbah’s victory in the national interests.

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Table 2 (Sierra Leone) 1996 first-round presidential election results of the top six polling candidates by region (%) Kabbah Karefa- Bangura Karimu Turay Koroma Total (SLPP) Smart (PDP) (NUP) (APC) (DCP) votes (UNPP) Eastern Province Northern Province Southern Province Western Area Totals

48.1

9.4

0.6

10.3

1.6

18.6

172,147

4.1

46.0

24.1

1.9

7.4

1.0

210,944

83.7

2.3

5.2

2.3

1.2

0.4

142,988

25.0

23.4

22.6

6.5

8.2

0.9

222,767

35.7

22.9

16.0

5.3

5.1

4.9

748,846

Table 3 (Sierra Leone) 1996 second-round presidential election results by region (%) Kabbah (SLPP) Eastern Province Northern Province Southern Province Western Area Totals

Table 4

89.6 21.7 91.8 53.9 59.2

Karefa-Smart (UNPP)

Total votes

10.4 78.3 8.2 46.1 40.8

259,068 384,458 228,293 157,032 1,028,851

(Sierra Leone) 1996 distribution of party seats SLPP

% of vote 35.9 Votes 269,486 Seats 27

UNPP 21.5 161,618 17

PDP 15.2 114,409 12

APC 5.7 42,443 5

NUP 5.2 39,280 4

DCP

Total

4.8 35,624 750,764 3 68

Overall, observers pronounced the elections relatively free and fair. However, there must be several question marks over the number of people inside and outside the country who were not registered, the number of registered voters who were unable to vote due to intimidation and

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violence, and the inaccessibility of much of the rural areas to candidates and voters alike. The registration of large numbers of refugees in Liberia and Guinea (an estimated 250,000 in Guinea alone) was only authorised by the NPRC government three days before the election, and so did not take place. However, there is no ethno-regional pattern of exclusion here – all regions suffered from security and inaccessibility. The least affected sector was the Western Area, which was the mostly hotly contested. In addition, if the ineffectual NUP is discounted, there was no incumbent in these elections and therefore no advantage from the state machinery open to any of the parties. Intimidation came from those outside the process, and was aimed at any on the inside. Also important was the credibility of the INEC, which was described as enjoying ‘widespread public confidence and a reputation for independence’, while Jonah ‘acquired the status of a national hero for his integrity’.5 This feat was not so difficult as Jonah and INEC were effectively aligned with the significant proportion of the public who wanted to get rid of the military, and Jonah had yet to serve in the SLPP government. There were alleged irregularities, such as missing ballot boxes in Bo and accusations of electoral rigging by the Northern Province Commissioner in the first round, and clearly considerable problems in the second round. Although it is not obvious that the deduction of 70,000 Kabbah votes made sufficient amends in the run-off, it is also not obvious that irregularities altered any of the results. One might conclude that a reasonably fair election, despite considerable and occasionally deliberate administrational irregularities, had taken place with the participation of a minority of the population. Even a cursory glance at the pattern of voting in the parliamentary and first-round presidential elections reveals the continuing and major ethno-regional divisions within the country, and the reasons behind the SLPP-Kabbah victory. In fact the pattern was almost identical in these two polls. Despite a Mandingo leader, the SLPP was perceived as the party for Mendes and southerners, and these groups formed the solid backbone of its support. Kabbah would not have garnered the support at the head of a different party. In a seamless transition from the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was the party and its clientelist ethno-regional ties that delivered over 80 per cent in the Southern

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Province and around 50 per cent in the Eastern Province in both firstround elections. On the other hand, the UNPP and the PDP could be described as essentially personalist vehicles.6 This difference in party make-up, however, did not deliver a deviation from ethno-regional patterns of support. Karefa-Smart won 57 per cent and Bangura 43 per cent of their total votes in the first round in the Northern Province. Kabbah and the SLPP were beaten into fourth place in the north. The Western Area was the most keenly fought, with the SLPP emerging only marginally ahead of the UNPP and the PDP. However, it was the failure of either northern politician to pick up a winning majority in the west, and the division of northern votes between the UNPP, the PDP and the APC, that did significant damage to the chances of the opposition to the SLPP. These three northern-based parties split 77 per cent of the northern vote between them. The APC, whose northern heartland had formed the base for its remarkable electoral victory in 1967, just managed to reach the 5 per cent national mark required for parliamentary seats. Of the other smaller parties, the Democratic Centre Party (DCP), essentially an eastern-based ethnic Kono party, took 85 per cent of its vote in the Eastern Province, beating the UNPP into third place, and the NUP achieved its best results in the east, whence its candidate hailed. This election has been described as a very good example of ‘spoils logic’.7 Once again, but more emphatically this time, Kabbah took the Southern (92 per cent) and Eastern (90 per cent) provinces in the presidential run-off. In a move that reflected political opportunism rather than ethno-regionalism, Bangura and others threw their weight behind Kabbah, and although Karefa-Smart managed 78 per cent in the north, he could not beat Kabbah in the west. However, one cannot get around this deep cleavage in the country’s political fabric; this may be functionally linked to the ethnic structure of the country, with its two groups of almost equal proportion, the Mende of the south and parts of the east and the Temne of the north, who make up between them over 60 per cent of the population. The resulting polarisation, in which the Limba with 8 per cent of the population cooperate with the Temne and the various other even smaller groups join forces with the appropriate northern or southern coalition, appears then to be less

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confounding. However, many are critical of the manner in which the political elite has worked to reinforce geo-ethnic divisions for shortterm gains at election time and on other occasions, in an environment that has become, according to one scholar, ‘rigidly bipolar’.8 This observation, though, does not allow for the two competitive elections in 1967 and 1996 being won by two parties from either side of the ethno-regional divide, and for the 1967 victors to win once again in 2007. Some voters must have been crossing the floor, particularly in the Western Area, but also in the east and elsewhere. However, there were possibly two new perceptible dimensions to these elections. For the first time, religion began to play a part in campaigning. Supporters of Kabbah and Bangura both used their candidate’s Islamic credentials to drum up support. This became more common during the presidential run-off between Karefa-Smart, a Christian, and Kabbah, a Muslim. It is hard to say how far this influenced voter intentions, but it was probably not a major factor, rather a cross-cutting influence, given the over-riding ethno-regionalism. Second, there was, ironically, far less electoral violence. PR may have had an effect by lowering the personal stakes in the parliamentary election. A feature of previous elections had been localised violence, which may have been depersonalised by the list system. The fact that the constitution no longer required the president to appoint his cabinet from parliament may also have been a contributory factor.9 However, the absence of an incumbent and the distortions that incumbency brings to the fairness of elections must rank high in assessing the lack of violence. The 1996 Sierra Leonean elections differed considerably from many other post-conflict elections, and even the polls six years later in Sierra Leone, in that only civilian candidates and parties stood for election. Equally, there was another outstanding difference with many other post-conflict elections in the lack of an effective incumbent, tied as it was in 1996 to the discredited military regime. There is a similarity with Liberia in 2005, both in terms of the lack of former military political parties in the electoral process and the absence of an effective incumbent. Despite wartime pressures, the pattern of voting was more akin to previous multi-party Sierra Leonean polls and to

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other peacetime elections elsewhere in Africa. In many ways, voting followed cleavages and opportunistic actions recognisable all over the continent, and in the absence of the RUF, of an incumbent party or indeed of peace and security, there was certainly no recourse to voting influenced by peace and security considerations. The results of the elections, although only incorporating the preferences of a minority of the population, appear at first sight to be promising. A close result, similar to Liberia in 2005 and highly influenced by the absence of the RUF and an effective incumbent, gave the losing parties some muscle and tactical possibilities in opposition, and the SLPP was forced to include ministers from other parties in a coalition government. Although Kabbah’s term of office was based on the majoritarian principle, and there were no formal rules for inclusivity, a coalition government that initially included five ministerial positions for the PDP, and cabinet positions for the leaders of the NUP and DCP, was formed out of necessity. However, the fortunes of the SLPPled coalition government were at best turbulent. In exploring the reasons for the ensuing May 1997 coup, one can consider the part played by the SLA and the conspiratorial relations between SLA and RUF, but the failure of the SLPP to move beyond patronage, cronyism and repressive tendencies against critics must also be highlighted.10 On the other side of the political coin, Karefa-Smart and another losing presidential candidate, Abass Bundu, were quick to abandon democratic principles and to sympathise with the 1997–98 military junta, much as SLPP politicians had done during and after the 1967 military coup. The UNPP tore itself apart in the years following the junta: political opportunism, and distrust between the Mende-dominated government and the northern-based opposition, ran high and certainly did little to encourage a conclusion to the civil war.11 By some commentators’ reckoning, however, the elections of 1996 were doomed before they began, as there was no peace deal, swathes of the countryside were rebel-held or unsafe for travelling, and the rebel forces did much actively to disrupt polling. Probably most importantly, however, was the non-transformation of the RUF into a political entity and its non-involvement in the elections. Talks had only just been initiated between government and rebels, and the RUF certainly

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played no part in the NCC or in any electoral planning. The RUF leadership probably knew it would be badly prepared as a political organisation, and would almost certainly, as it claimed, be ‘casualties of peace’.12 Equally, the RUF leader, Foday Sankoh, was most probably still committed to the military route to power. There was little opportunity or time to bring the RUF into the political process, and it is thus unsurprising that the subsequent elections did not provide the platform for ending the conflict. The 2002 elections In 2002, Sierra Leone had just emerged from its decade of civil war. The government’s 1996 mandate had already been twice extended by six months due to the security situation, and the elections delayed by five months. There were many, including political parties and NGOs, who had serious reservations about the short timetable, especially given the large numbers of displaced people, the shattered infrastructure and the security conditions.13 Notwithstanding, in January 2002, at the end of the prescribed disarmament and demobilisation period, the UN declared the war over and the elections process began in earnest, set to culminate on polling day, 14 May.14 Violence, to the surprise of many, did not erupt. Whether it was the presence of 17,000 UNAMSIL troops, the relatively successful disarmament, or the retraining of the Sierra Leone police and army that proved to be the central factor, there was little in the way of violence. In all, 72,000 combatants were registered, of which 24,000 were RUF and 37,000 were CDF.15 The RUF, which had violently interrupted the 1996 elections, did not miraculously transform into a political party, but did appear to have lost the capacity for any coherent action. The leadership of the RUFP regularly restated its rejection of violence in favour of the ballot box. The army, which had also disrupted the last elections, remained in the background. The new Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) had been somewhat diluted by 2,350 ex-combatants, two-thirds from the RUF and a third from the CDF, who were trained and posted alongside the existing 12,000 troops.16

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There were, however, many reports of inter-party skirmishes. Several stories centred on SLPP intimidation, particularly stonethrowing and harassment in the SLPP heartland. Having observed the results, and heard testaments of one attack in the southern city of Bo on an APC vehicle and supporters, there would appear to have been some substance in the accusations.17 The APC, RUFP and Movement for Progress (MOP) all reported attacks by SLPP supporters, the APC going further to claim that people of northern origin had been forced out of their homes in the south.18 The parties with the means to conduct nationwide tours, however, were able to do so. The most worrying event occurred on the Saturday before the elections, when both the SLPP and the RUFP were given permission to stage a rally on the final day of campaigning. Despite rally routes that went in different directions, there was a confrontation in the centre of Freetown which required UNAMSIL intervention, and warning shots were fired; there were several injured, though no fatalities. Some saw this as a timely warning of what could happen on election day, and drew attention to the need for vigilance. To put this in perspective, however, it was a vast improvement on the conduct of the Sierra Leonean multi-party and one-party elections of the 1970s and 1980s, when violence and politically motivated thuggery were commonplace. The media were overall relatively even-handed. Some newspapers supported either government or opposition, while others were more independent. Olu Gordon’s satirical magazine, Peep!, added a dose of humour to Tuesdays and Fridays. More importantly, considering the very limited distribution of newspapers outside the capital and the 70–80 per cent illiteracy rate, radio was available in abundance. SLBS, Radio UNAMSIL and Radio Democracy, in particular, featured regular news-updates and interviews with candidates. Radio programmes reached some 80 per cent of the country, and were broadcast in all the major languages. Other observers, including the EU mission which monitored the distribution of airtime, noted that SLBS focused more on what the government party was doing.19 Almost inevitably, the SLPP enjoyed the benefit of the government machine behind its campaign, and there were many allegations of government facilities being used for SLPP purposes. The SLPP manifesto

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was published by the government printing-press, micro-credit allocation was used as a campaign tool by the incumbent party, and SLPP advertising hoardings with large full-colour images of their candidate appeared in greater quantity and in more prominent positions. The high-quality image of Kabbah placed on its own at the busy West Freetown junction of Congo Cross was indicative of resources available. Equally telling was a comparison between the quality and dominance of the SLPP banner in the central square of the northern (and traditionally APC) town of Port Loko and the dilapidation of the temporary headquarters and advertisements of the APC in the southern (and traditionally SLPP) city of Bo.20 Rumours were rife of Libyan money donated to the SLPP, an interesting development given that Qaddafi had trained some of the early RUF cadres. The difference in funding, though, was felt most keenly by the smaller parties, as the APC, at least, had some heavyweight backers. The APC presidential candidate, Ernest Bai Koroma, reported the use of chiefs and secret-society leaders to intimidate APC supporters.21 In different ways, both Marianne Ferme and Dennis Bright have emphasised the very important but not very visible political role of these societies.22 The EU recognised that Paramount Chiefs had ‘exerted direct or indirect pressure in favour of the ruling party’.23 One headache for the organisers of the elections was the choice of electoral system. The District Block System (DBS) was chosen to fit the tight election timetable, but was nonetheless seen as an improvement on the nationwide proportional representation (PR) system of 1996. Again, there was no time for a census, so people were asked to register in one of 14 districts, where they would vote. Districts would have eight MPs allocated from district party lists by PR. Aside from the usual arguments in favour of first-past-the-post or purer PR systems, it seems a reasonable compromise. The devil, however, is in the details. Having eight MPs for both West-East, with 240,000 voters, and Bonthe, with 70,000 voters, and an SLPP stronghold, invites suspicion. However, the average district size differed less dramatically, around 174,000 in the north and west where the APC was stronger, compared to around 160,000 in the SLPP-dominated south and east. In the end, the SLPP won 67.8 per cent of the vote, which allowed

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them 74.1 per cent of parliamentary seats. In addition, the DBS does not allow for independents. According to a survey in late 2001, the DBS was not understood by 82 per cent of Freetown residents, and not favoured in comparison to a constituency-based system by 63 per cent of the respondents who did understand it.24 These results could be attributed to the unpopularity of any new system, and many may have understood by the time of polling day, but the survey does reveal significant reservations. Greater furore, though, was created by the registration process. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) insisted all along that the tight schedule, late and limited funding, and the lasting consequences of the war combined to hamper their capabilities. Although there were many claims that the majority of NEC commissioners were SLPP supporters, or at least under the control of the ruling party – due to the embezzlement indictment hanging over the heads of three of the five commissioners – there is certainly some justification for their reasoning and many of the irregularities can be attributed to administrative errors. The NEC was undoubtedly under-resourced, judging by the size of its transport fleet, which amounted to one vehicle per district. Monitors from the Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) covered nearly a fifth of registration centres in 12 of the 14 districts and their report concludes that although ‘hundreds of thousands of Sierra Leoneans were not given a realistic opportunity to register during the registration process’, it was ‘because of a lack of public education and a combination of significant administrative problems and resource constraints’. The report also notes ‘widespread multiple and underage registration, particularly in Bo and Makeni’, but qualifies this by finding no evidence of high-level sabotage or corruption of the process, or systematic or regional bias to the violations.25 The British High Commission and the US Embassy felt sufficiently concerned to release press statements, attributing the flaws and problems to capacity shortcomings, not political interference. The embassy, however, considered it necessary to note ‘the significant numbers of children under the age of 18’ who were registered.26 The initial two-week registration process at the end of January and start of February was extended by three days, but it does not appear that the shortcomings were significantly addressed in that time.

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Particular areas of contention in the registration process that threatened the legitimacy of the election included the inadequate facilities and materials in Freetown. These were crucial districts that would certainly earn the opposition a good proportion of the vote, but only around 409,000, a figure that changed several times, were able or willing to register (compared to 295,000 in 1996) in a capital area swollen with displaced people. Some talked of voter apathy, but this was certainly not in evidence on polling day. Non-registration could be explained by the apathy of opposition supporters, perhaps due to extra difficulties in registering in opposition strongholds, the new system of registration centres which had replaced house-tohouse registration, or a defeatist attitude, as opposed to the keenness of government supporters. However, this appears a little too contrived, especially the defeatist attitude, when people were talking of the possibilities of a run-off right up to the last day. The increase in registered voters between 1996 and 2002 in the south and east was also viewed with suspicion. The numbers in Kenema doubled, and increased more than three-fold in Bonthe and five-fold in Moyamba. However, the 1996 registration was badly affected by the war, especially in the south. NEC provided for a five day Exhibition Phase of the Provisional Voter Register, although the efficacy of this period is in doubt, particularly considering the problems with the voter list on polling day. Although nationwide some 20,000 people were added, the NEC commissioner for the South, where under-age registration was reportedly at its worst, stated that to his knowledge no one had been removed from the list in his region.27 Finally, there was controversy surrounding alleged abuses in the five-day period towards the end of April, designated for the registration of returning refugees from the camps in Liberia and Guinea. According to an NEC insider, failure to ensure refugees had valid UN cards when registering was a widespread problem.28 13,000 people, compared to a maximum total of around 50,000 returnees of all ages, were added to the list. In the end, from an estimated population of 4.8 million – of which some 2.7 million would be eligible voters – 2.34 million appeared on the list, but within that total there were clearly a significant number of duplications and anomalies.

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Conversely, on election day, the process showed fewer signs of irregularities beyond what had already been set in motion during the registration. However, the inadequacies of the Voters List, with its underage, multiple and missing voters, was compounded by the decision to allow transfer voting for internally displaced people who had moved since their original registration, a process for which there was inadequate administrative time or resources. Indeed, the transfer lists were not produced. In an attempt to avoid trouble, NEC made a policy change while voting was already underway, allowing those with valid Voter ID cards to vote where they were registered or those with transfer slips to vote whence they had transferred, whether or not their names appeared on the registration lists. The information was disseminated through the radio (incorrectly in the case of the BBC), by word of mouth or very occasionally in hard copy, creating considerable confusion and exposing the process to abuse. Different presiding officers interpreted the instruction in different ways and at varying times. As a result, some people not appearing on the Voters List but with valid Voter ID cards or slips were allowed to vote wherever they pleased; some were restricted, as the instruction demanded, to the place where they were registered or to which they had transferred; and others were not allowed to vote at all, usually because they were too early.29 It would have been difficult to manipulate the voting on the day, due to the large number of observers, party agents, security and general public who were around. Observers generally praised the polling officials working in difficult conditions. However, the APC made claims that some polling staff were active supporters of the ruling party, an observation also noted by CGG in their post-election report, and that APC party agents had been refused access to most of the polling stations in the south.30 Actual or potential underage and multiple voting was noted in all observer accounts. A potential for abuse emerged in the gap between the on-site counting and NEC’s final announcements. Once the observed and checked figures had left the polling station, they disappeared into official limbo for several days until district tallies were announced by NEC. Final results were delayed, and only emerged after five days, apparently due to the actions of polling staff in two districts who had not received their pay.31 At the same time,

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though, the establishment of the Independent Radio Network (IRN), a collaboration of all private radio stations in the country, was a major innovation. Results from many polling stations across the country were reported to IRN and broadcast as soon as they were announced locally. The first result was announced from a Freetown polling station just one hour after the close of the poll. IRN’s activity had the effect of providing a degree of transparency and of gradually preparing the electorate for the result. However, the gap between the incomplete set of announced station results and the NEC final tallies remained. As was pointed out to this author by a UN official, a post-election audit of the results by, or involving, opposition parties, might have revealed any discrepancies or put fears concerning this part of the process to rest.32 In an unsettling reminder of questionable turnout figures in the 1996 elections, more than 100 per cent of the registered electorate turned out to vote in some districts. If turnouts of 98 per cent in the southern district of Bonthe and 94 per cent in the eastern district of Kenema look suspicious compared to the 68 per cent and 75 per cent average turnouts in the Northern Province and Western Area, then 104 per cent figures in Kailahun in the east and Pujehun in the south were even more suspect. Strangely, figures for spoiled ballots were not published for any district. In the 1996 presidential run-off, the number of ballots cast exceeded the number of registered voters in Kailahun and Kenema. In the 1996 case, the large numbers of votes in some districts was attributed to the continuing conflict, the resulting shifting population, and the confusion over where people should vote; but in 2002, there were fewer excuses. NEC claimed with some justification that the shifting population was once more to blame for huge turnouts and, at least in Kailahun, NEC stated that Voter Lists had been checked for duplications against the additional lists written by polling agents on the day. However, the occurrences of these excessive figures, yet again solely in SLPP-dominated districts, remains suspicious. All opposition parties accepted the results, although only after persuasion by the British High Commissioner and US Ambassador, and the APC, RUFP, MOP and Peace and Liberation Party (PLP) still alleged many irregularities.33 There were a total of around 3,700

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domestic observers, 2,200 under the umbrella of the National Election Watch (NEW) coalition, and 1,500 from the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone, operating solely on election day. NEW covered 34 per cent of polling stations in all 14 districts. International observation was conducted with considerably fewer numbers, but included long- and short-term monitoring by the EU, and short-term assignments by organisations such as the Carter Center, the OAU and the Commonwealth. Both domestic and international observers were quick to bring out interim reports or to state that any irregularities would not have compromised the result. Although this is probably close to the truth, the conclusions and the focus on success rather than problems were somewhat hasty. NEW and its chairman were not at all critical of NEC, or of the election process.34 It is difficult to estimate the absolute effect of anomalies in the process, but it is unlikely that the effect of the electoral rules, the irregularities and the advantages of incumbency would have been enough to alter the overall result significantly. Kabbah’s 70 per cent of the vote might have been reduced, but not as far as the magic 55 per cent, which would have necessitated a second-round run-off. However, nine seats less than the SLPP’s 83, of the 112 seats available, would have lost the party its two-thirds majority in parliament. In cases such as this and in neighbouring Liberia, where Charles Taylor and his party emerged with 75 per cent of the vote, the margin of victory is substantial enough so that observers and opposition parties have to accept the broad-brush results. The difficulties occur when the elections are close. Then irregularities matter far more, and judgments as to their origin would be crucial to the legitimacy of the election. For this election, it is again difficult to gauge how many of the irregularities, particularly in the registration and campaign, were centrally contrived or merely administrative. It can be said, however, that a partially confused election system acts as a handy smoke screen for any player who wishes to manipulate the proceedings. On the campaign trail, the two historically biggest parties dominated: the SLPP, with its traditional support in the south and east, and the APC, which has long gathered much of its support from northerners. The latter party styled itself as the ‘new APC’, purged of its

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old ways and members.35 If this was bending the truth with many of the older stalwarts, the presidential candidate and former insurancecompany boss, Ernest Bai Koroma, could claim only limited connection with the previous APC regime. Conversely, it was also true that some former APC government members, such as Sama Banya and JB Dauda, were now part of the SLPP establishment, although they would claim that they had no choice if they wished to engage in politics during the APC regime, as it was a one-party state. The SLPP played on the reputation of the APC as a whole, but led its campaign with the assertion that it had delivered peace as it had promised, and that it was now time to prove its credentials in governance. Interesting cameo roles were played by Johnny Paul Koroma, the military junta leader in 1997–98, born again as the ‘Angel’ of the new PLP; and the MOP, led by the only female presidential candidate and the former head of the crusading CGG, Zainab Bangura, whose manifesto and campaign contained the only real promises to deliver radical change.36 Karefa-Smart’s UNPP and other northern-based parties, including the Grand Alliance Party and the PDP-Sorbeh, did not have the funds or organisation to compete with the APC or SLPP on the campaign trail. The Young People’s Party (YPP) was hampered by mixed messages as to whether ‘young’ referred to the party, its members or its ideas.37 The US National Democratic Institute offered some assistance in the form of access to office hardware and training workshops, but not in terms of funding. Interestingly, there were no Mende presidential candidates, but eight northerners, including six of Temne extraction. Finally, the RUFP fielded a full complement of candidates in ten of the 14 districts, and had the fourth-largest total number of candidates (behind only the SLPP, APC and PDP), but clearly suffered from those candidates’ lack of capability.38 The party was conspicuous by its absence on the campaign trail, and riven by internal but public disputes over leadership and the disappearance of money. The presidential candidate, Pallo Bangura, left the capital on just one occasion.39 Campaigning was lively. Issues were not completely absent, and the debate over provision of free education and what exactly that meant did develop some momentum. However, the APC Secretary-General

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admitted that all the manifestos were basically similar.40 Despite the exhortations of MOP and local NGOs such as CGG, it was sloganeering and huge rallies blocking the streets of Freetown, such as the SLPP’s optimistically and opportunistically titled ‘Million Man March’, that were visible than arguments over policy. Freetown turned red for the final APC rally but was outdone two days later by the green and the palm fronds of the massive SLPP rally that filled the streets and the National Stadium to overflowing.41 Slogans were common currency. Wu-teh-teh (‘abundance’ or ‘a big majority’) from SLPP supporters and Owei Osei (‘the sun is hot’ referring to the party symbol) from those inclined to the APC could be heard every few minutes in the streets during the last days of the campaign. Mud-slinging did not play a prominent role, although it was far from a rare occurrence. References by APC supporters to the death of Kabbah’s wife and his need for a kolonko (a high-class prostitute) were distasteful. The attacks on Kabbah by the flamboyant APC South chairman and later APC Secretary General, Victor Foh, were characteristically fierce. His strident accusation made to this author that the UK was supporting Kabbah paled next to another of his claims – that Kabbah was involved with al-Qaeda, and had possibly hosted Osama bin Laden at his house.42 Equally, the SLPP’s ultimately successful campaign to exclude the APC running mate, Abubakarr Jalloh, from the election, due to his alleged registration as a voter while out of the country and his double appearance on the APC candidates list, became little short of a witch-hunt. Ethno-regionalism, although unmentioned, was a given during the campaign, while all parties did their utmost to present their national credentials; most also professed to be secular or inclusive of all faiths. The rise of religion as a campaigning tool was noted in the 1996 elections, and it remains noticeable that the SLPP and APC endeavoured to balance their presidential and vice-presidential candidature on lines of belief, and that Kabbah was the first Muslim president of Sierra Leone.43 However, religion is not geographically defined, nor as yet a societal fault line in Sierra Leone and played a very limited role in the 2002 polls. The turnout of 82 per cent was high although, as noted above, the regional variations aroused suspicions. Many people turned out to vote

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early and huge queues could be seen at polling stations well before the seven am opening time, such that voting in some stations was virtually completed by early afternoon. It would be understandable if the anxiety to vote was driven by the memory of violence in previous elections, including the 1996 polls when the military fired shots near polling stations as part of its scare tactics, or an awareness of events in the just-completed Zimbabwean elections. However, the keenness to cast ballots may simply be a popular assumption that this was a turning point and that much was riding on this election. Well before election day, many casual conversations involving the author and concerning personal plans were prefaced with the phrase, ‘after the elections’. A number of interesting features emerged from the parliamentary election results. Prime amongst these was the remarkable rebirth of the APC from the ashes of a party that is blamed by many for the economic ruin of the country, was overthrown in a popular military coup in 1992, and only just made it over the 5 per cent qualification barrier in the 1996 elections. The campaign to reinvent the APC, alongside the newly stocked party coffers, appeared to have had an effect on support, as the APC took back sections of its traditional heartlands of the north and significant numbers of voters in Freetown, mainly from the trounced UNPP and PDP. The APC certainly used the octogenarian status of the UNPP’s Karefa-Smart to some benefit, and probably also gained from the PDP’s ‘betrayal’ in 1996, when the party, placed third in the first round, sided with Kabbah against Karefa-Smart and supposed northern interests in the presidential run-off. The APC gained 21.5 per cent of the vote in the parliamentary elections, equating to 22 of 40 northern and five of 16 western seats, although some had predicted it would do even better. The party made no headway at all in the south or east. Equally notable is the emergence of other interests. Johnny Paul Koroma’s PLP gathered support from an unholy alliance of old northern elements in the restructured RSLAF and evangelist Christian churches. The party won 15.8 per cent of the vote and two seats in the West district of the Western Area, which is home to several large barracks of the armed forces. Disturbingly for some, the PLP won the majority of votes in the leaked results of the special elections held for election staff prior to the main event. As this mostly consisted

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of military or police personnel, it again indicates that the allegiance of the security forces was not and may still not be apolitical, or at the very least there was much dissatisfaction within the army, probably due to pay and living conditions. A similar mood had alarming consequences in the 1997 coup. The MOP’s platform of much-needed reform failed to make an impact on the entrenched parties, its vote peaking at just 3.5 per cent in the West-East district parliamentary return, not enough to gain a seat. Some blame Zainab Bangura’s late entry in the race, others her perceived bias towards women, and still others the party’s unwillingness to play the political game of handouts and patronage, or its overall lack of funding.44 The almost total electoral disappearance of the RUFP, which did not manage to win a seat and polled just 2.2 per cent nationwide, is a crucial point. It may be explained by its brutal wartime reputation, particularly for the amputation of limbs and destruction of property, but also by its vilification inside and outside Sierra Leone. The presidential candidate, Pallo Bangura, had considered changing the name of the party to reduce the adverse publicity, but feared amplifying the north-south schism or ‘northernisation’ developing in the party and so increasing the haemorrhage of supporters.45 The official party was chronically short of funding, with little emerging from outside to facilitate the transformation to a political party, despite a commitment to this end in the Lomé agreement. International policy towards the RUFP mirrored the predominant view within the country that this was a case of good riddance. Many within the party remained under UN sanctions, and so were unable to travel to raise funds. Paradoxically, some individuals in the RUF/RUFP were suspected of considerable wealth, which in itself did not help their electoral campaign. At the same time, keeping resources in individual hands and out of the reach of the party questioned the sincerity of the leaders’ bid to transform the movement into a political entity. Equally, there were splits between top and bottom, and on ethnic lines, within the party. The rank and file defections were fuelled by mistrust of the leadership, particularly the RUF interim commander, Issa Sesay, and by the lure of the other regionally defined parties.46 Many ex-combatants did not view Pallo Bangura, relatively new to the group, as the rightful

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RUFP leader. Bangura was an intellectual: he was an alumnus of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, had been a lecturer at Fourah Bay College and had held ambassadorial and ministerial positions for the Sierra Leone government. He could speak articulately, and in the language required of a political party leader in front of an international audience.47 However, anti-intellectualism within the RUF/RUFP was not confined to Sankoh. The leadership mantle clearly belonged to the jailed Sankoh, and even Bangura acknowledged that under Sankoh’s leadership, notwithstanding his deteriorating health, the ‘intense loyalty’ and ‘personal contact’ heretofore would have been better maintained.48 It appears that the RUF/RUFP lost any coherence and meaning without Sankoh’s personal links to the ranks, and under the weight of international opprobrium; and Bangura was in no position to fill the gap. The failure of the RUF leadership to increase their political capacity and to prepare for life after conflict is undoubtedly reflected in their failure to prevent this decay. There was little in the way of communication structure between top and bottom.49 Eldred Collins, an RUFP spokesperson and former commander, admitted that ‘before the elections, some of the RUF combatants went to . . . other political parties because of dissatisfaction with the leadership’. He went on, ‘They were always crying about the leadership. They said their lack of encouragement and what they expected from the leadership (was) not met.’50 Kailahun, the site of the initial invasion, was the one region where the RUF/RUFP had maintained some consistent support, but even here the party polled only 7.8 per cent. Elsewhere, the party performed even worse, particularly in the south, with many defections to the SLPP.51 This might be contrasted with the relative success of another military-linked party, the PLP, in putting together some sort of party structure through which it could maintain and even broaden its support.52 It is difficult to explain the attitude of the RUF ex-combatants, who appear to have been the main losers. Perhaps there were those who took a few diamonds with them, there are others who may have benefited from the training programmes, and the remainder are a group whose grievances may well return to haunt central administrations.

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Finally, the SLPP benefited from its traditional support base in the south and east, magnified by a distorted electoral system and fraught registration process, and won an overwhelming 83 of the 112 available seats in parliament. In 1996, the SLPP had managed 35.9 per cent of the vote nationwide, equating to 27 of 68 seats, and just 4.1 per cent and 25.0 per cent of the vote in the north and west. Over three-quarters of the party’s total vote came from the south and east. This time, the inroads in the north – six out of eight seats in Koinadugu (61.4 per cent), five out of eight in Kambia (56.0 per cent), and three out of eight in Port Loko (26.5 per cent) – and in the west – four out of eight seats

Table 5

(Sierra Leone) 2002 distribution of party seats by sub-region APC seats

EASTERN Kono Kailahun Kenema NORTHERN Kambia Bombali Koinadugu Tonkolili Port Loko SOUTHERN Moyamba Bo Pujehun Bonthe WESTERN West-East West-West TOTAL

– – – – 22 3 6 2 6 5 – – – – – 5 3 2 27

% of PLP % of vote seats vote – 8.6 0.8 3.6 – 28.3 62.1 25.6 63.0 55.6 – 6.0 4.2 0.1 0.3 – 34.2 25.1 21.5

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 2 – 2 2

– 1.8 2.1 0.4 – 4.6 8.1 5.0 2.4 5.3 – 0.6 0.5 0.2 DNS – 7.6 15.8 –

SLPP seats

% of vote

Total seats

24 8 8 8 18 5 2 6 2 3 32 8 8 8 8 9 5 4 83

– 86.3 89.0 94.0 – 56.0 16.7 61.4 16.5 26.5 – 89.4 93.9 99.1 98.5 – 45.5 46.3 67.8

24 8 8 8 40 8 8 8 8 8 32 8 8 8 8 16 8 8 112

All other parties failed to win over 12.5 per cent in any constituency, and did not gain a seat. 12 other seats are apportioned to district Paramount Chief Members of Parliament, elected in separate polls after the general election. DNS = Did Not Stand

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in West-West (45.5 per cent) and five out of eight in West-East (46.3 per cent) – show a considerable widening of support, probably attributable largely to the personal popularity of its leader. Indeed, despite the heavy inclination towards the south and east, where it took every seat, the SLPP could legitimately claim to be a nationwide party, since it gained seats in every district. If the SLPP performed well in the parliamentary polls, Kabbah stormed the presidential elections. In 1996, he had polled just 35.7 per cent in the first round and 59.2 per cent in the two-candidate run-off. In 2002, polling 70.1 per cent of the vote ahead of Ernest Koroma in second place with 22.3 per cent and Johnny Paul Koroma a distant third with 3.0 per cent, he doubled his 1996 first-round vote and outperformed his party by 3.3 per cent nationwide, and by 8.1 per cent and 15.8 per cent in Koinadugu and West-West districts. Crucially, he avoided a second-round run-off, which would probably have seen the northern parties rallying behind the remaining northern candidate. Being a Mandingo and a northerner by birth, he could partially offset the domination of his party by the Mende of the south and east. In the north, he managed a vote of 67 per cent in Koinadugu, 60 per cent in Kambia (his birthplace) and 29 per cent in Port Loko, compared to 4.3, 6.5 and 2.9 per cent respectively in the first-round 1996 elections. Some voters may equally have felt that there was no one else to vote for, considering the records of other parties and individuals. Several commentators referred to the abusive language and songs during the APC Freetown rally and how this brought back uncomfortable memories of old APC times. However, more importantly, many viewed Kabbah, rightly or wrongly, as the bringer of peace, of the British army, of ECOMOG and of the UN, in that order of desirability. His perceived crucial connections to the ‘international community’, particularly in Britain and within the UN, were seen to have ensured the huge foreign intervention, and would more probably than any other factor prevent a return to violence if an emergency arose in the future. Critics say that little was done internationally to present any different picture. Kabbah and the party grew increasingly confident with the slogan, ‘We promised and we delivered’, declared loudly on t-shirts and banners and

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EASTERN Kono Kailahun Kenema NORTHERN Kambia Bombali Koinadugu Tonkolili Port Loko SOUTHERN Moyamba Bo Pujehun Bonthe WESTERN West-East West-West TOTAL 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.8 1.5 0.8 1.3 1.7 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.4 0.3 0.5

8.1 0.7 3.3

28.0 65.1 24.2 67.4 57.6

6.3 3.3 0.1 0.2

37.5 28.1 22.35

1.0 0.5 0.55

5.0 12.4 3.0

0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1

1.0 0.5 1.7

0.4 0.3 0.1 0.2

53.4 56.9 70.1

90.4 95.0 99.4 99.2

60.1 17.0 67.0 16.2 28.8

87.0 89.2 95.0

0.8 0.7 1.0

1.2 0.3 0.1 0.2

1.7 1.4 0.9 5.5 1.4

0.6 0.3 0.4

0.3 0.3 0.2

0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0

0.5 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.4

0.1 0.1 0.1

IN

0.6 0.3 0.6

0.5 0.1 0.0 0.1

1.8 4.5 0.9 4.9 2.0

0.9 7.3 0.8

DEMOCR ACY

0.6 0.1 0.0 0.0

4.8 7.5 4.6 1.7 4.9

1.9 1.9 0.3

AND

1.3 0.9 0.6 0.9 1.3

0.9 0.2 0.1

Smart Turay YPP UNPP

CIVIL WAR

0.9 1.6 0.7 1.7 1.9

0.3 0.2 0.1

Koroma Thompson Kamara Z. Bangura Koroma P. Bangura Kabbah APC CUPP GAP MOP PLP RUFP SLPP

Table 6 (Sierra Leone) 2002 presidential election results by sub-region (%)

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referring primarily to the end of the war, even if it took five years of their rule to arrive at that point.53 It is certainly remarkable that his reputation as an indecisive, feeble president was transformed, in just one year, into that of the nation’s saviour. Kabbah’s perceived ability to attract international money, again through his connections, may also have contributed. A frank announcement was reported from an SLPP loudspeaker van in Makeni, which declared that if ‘Kabbah go’ then ‘UN go, white man go, money go’.54 Eight months after the elections, the cabinet minister Prince Harding was still ploughing this furrow when he announced the acquisition of a fleet of vehicles by the government, where ‘the President used his United Nations connection to get us a good bargain’.55 Incumbency, security fears and a mostly unimpressive opposition handed a landslide victory to Kabbah and the SLPP, an echo in some ways of events in Liberia in 1997. The SLPP used its position in government and its control of the patronage networks, along with its perceived connections to foreign leaders and international bodies, to marginalise opposition. At the same time, the skewed position of the international bodies played its part, and the civilian and former combatant parties did enough of the work in marginalising themselves. Many Sierra Leoneans believed that the war had finally ended, and there was a distinct air of optimism. The fear among some, however, was that these elections had not provided a platform for change and therefore any prospect of long-term stability. A great deal of hope was placed on Kabbah’s shoulders. It was also suggested that if he were to falter in his efforts at reform, the British Department for International Development would make him think again.56 Between 60 and 70 per cent of the government budget came from international aid, so there was some leverage.57 In his first presidential address in the new term, Kabbah made specific reference to corruption and the British, pointedly noting that ‘all Sierra Leone is my constituency’.58 His inclusion of members from other parties in the last government was unpopular within sections of the SLPP, but could be read as either due to his inclusive reconciliatory nature and a desire to select ministers on merit, or to a cunning means of undermining the other parties, or both. If the former, it was a policy he could

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now pursue from a new position of strength over the party stalwarts. Kabbah had the added advantage of having crossed the north-south divide at the polls, which give him the semblance of a nationally legitimate president. However, there remained worrying signs. All cabinet members from other parties were dropped. New blood, in the form of academic Dr Dennis Bright and lawyer Eke Halloway, was outweighed by a proliferation of party stalwarts with questionable records, such as former APC vice-president, J.B. Dauda, and Sam Hinga Norman, indicted in 2003 by the SLSC. Others, such as former NPRC Secretary General John Benjamin were to follow into the cabinet later. Some were hoping that this election would be enough of a shock to the SLPP for it to mend its ways; but the shock was not delivered. Equally, there was a hope that a stronger parliament, consisting of an APC opposition that could scent victory in an election in five years’ time, after Kabbah’s retirement, and with consequent incentives to maintain party discipline, and with the inclusion of such characters as Johnny Paul Koroma, Zainab Bangura and John Karefa-Smart, might be able to flex its muscles. An SLPP bloc of 83 seats, however, considerably watered down this possibility. The politics that laid the foundations for the civil war were not addressed, let alone altered. The domination of the SLPP by southerners and the subsequent allocation of a variety of posts informed by this fact was hard to alter in any significant way, especially considering the bloc vote delivered by the south and east. At the same time, the recycling of old politicians showed no signs of abating. The tendency of politicians to cross the floor as and when it is beneficial for them to do so is marked. Corruption is an immense problem, and the relatively new Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) came under severe criticism. In its first year and a half, the ACC brought just seven cases to court, in which only one person was found guilty. In that case, the government minister, Harry Will, was given a lenient fine, and the judge concerned was himself subsequently jailed for receiving bribes. At the time of the elections, there were many cases outstanding, including the high-profile case of another government minister, Momoh Pujeh, accused of diamond-smuggling. No further such cases were brought to court under the SLPP. Ibrahim Okere-Adams, a government

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minister with important northern support, was charged in 2005, but remained in the cabinet. The ACC head, Val Collier, was replaced soon afterwards. The revitalisation, but not reform, of Paramount Chieftaincies risked the return of local abuse of power and patronage, the continued withholding of local rights for those, particularly youth and itinerant workers, not considered as part of the chiefdom, and the consolidation of central, particularly SLPP, political control of the countryside.59 The re-establishment of elected District Councils in 2004 became a threat to chiefly authority. However, the division of labour between Councils and Chiefdoms has yet to be fully clarified, and the Councils are financially, and therefore potentially politically, dependent – on the one hand to Freetown, which supplies revenue transfers, and on the other to the chiefs, who collect local taxes.60 Widespread youth unemployment and under-employment continued. The dominance of Lebanese traders in the retail/wholesale and diamond markets remained a concern.61 The control and regulation of the diamond fields, particularly the alluvial variety, was yet another considerable state problem. Official diamond exports rose from US$10 million in 2000 to US$160 million in 2005, but the government conceded that 10–15 per cent were still smuggled, with others putting this figure closer to 50 per cent.62 The politicisation of diamond-mining and trading licences and networks has always been useful for those holding the reins of power, but potentially explosive at local levels and financially debilitating for the formal state. While some steps were taken to rebuild the regulatory infrastructure, the system is still opaque, chiefs remain highly influential at a local level, working conditions are often appalling and ‘there is ample scope for diamond revenues to finance patronage networks’.63 The future security of Sierra Leone continued to play on the minds of many, as it did at the polls. Given the regional conflicts that could have spilled over again from neighbours, the many former RUF and CDF who had been engaged in this fighting, and the allegiances of former Kamajors, peace was clearly fragile. The departure of UNAMSIL troops in 2006 raised the issue of the efficacy and loyalty of the new RSLAF.64 Johnny Paul Koroma was associated with two coup plots, the last only weeks before his indictment by the SLSC. However,

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despite fears to the contrary and some other electoral effects detailed below, the trials of Kamajor leaders, the death of Hinga Norman in prison and the disappearance of Koroma after his indictment have not yet proved seriously destabilising. A few notes on ensuing elections It could be said that the SLPP reaped what it had sown in the ensuing two elections. In the May 2004 local-government elections, the APC overwhelmingly took Freetown but failed to dent the 70 per cent nationwide vote for the SLPP. The coercion of independent candidates to withdraw from running against the SLPP in Bo, Kenema and Freetown, and the greater than 100 per cent turnouts in the south, were a disturbing return to old ways.65 The about-turn in SLPP-APC fortunes was completed in 2007, in what were probably Sierra Leone’s fairest elections, despite sporadic violence and electoral problems in the run-off, since the 1960s. Nearly two million voters went to the polls on 11 August in a 76 per cent turnout. The re-emergence of Charles Margai after his defeat by Vice President Solomon Berewa in the SLPP presidential nominations, and the creation of his new political vehicle, the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), helped to shrink the SLPP’s parliamentary representation by almost half, to just 43 seats.66 Margai, as a member of the family dynasty containing two former SLPP prime ministers, collected ten seats and 14 per cent of the presidential vote, denting the support of the SLPP and Berewa in its southern heartlands. Equally importantly, the APC re-took and held on to all the Western Area and the vast majority of the north, and made inroads into Moyamba and Kono, more than doubling its parliamentary tally to 59 seats and gaining a slim majority. The party was also aided by the change to a population-based constituency system whereby the Western Area and Northern Province gained a combined four seats and, although the Eastern Province gained three, the Southern Province lost seven compared to 2002. In the presidential race, Ernest Koroma, standing again as APC presidential candidate, mirrored his party’s fortunes by taking 44 per cent in the first round against Berewa’s 38 per cent, necessitating a

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EASTERN Kailahun Kenema Kono NORTHERN Bombali Kambia Koinadugu Port Loko Tonkolili SOUTHERN Bo Bonthe Moyamba Pujehun WESTERN WA Rural WA Urban National 1.1 1.1 1.9 2.1 2.7 2.9 2.8 2.2 1.0 1.3 2.3 1.0

1.6 0.6 28,610 1.6

83.9 68.2 59.0 78.6 82.2

10.2 3.1 18.1 2.9

64.8 60.5 815,523 44.3

CPP

0.8 0.9 17,748 1.0

0.4 0.2 10,556 0.6

0.8 1.2 1.4 1.1

0.4 1.0 0.7 0.4 0.4

0.5 1.1 0.5

PLP

4.4 5.5 255,499 13.9

37.1 61.1 35.6 43.5

1.9 1.9 2.1 1.4 1.1

14.9 21.6 3.9

PMDC

27.7 32.0 704,012 38.3

49.7 31.7 40.4 50.3

10.6 24.0 33.3 15.3 13.0

77.1 63.0 57.1

SLPP

Solomon Berewa

0.4 0.3 7,260 0.4

0.3 0.3 0.6 0.3

0.4 0.9 0.6 0.5 0.5

0.3 0.3 0.5

UNPP

Abdul Kady Karim

78,597 367,113 1,839,208

179,782 52,347 79,823 65,770

145,142 81,363 71,229 147,657 117,334

132,530 196,437 124,084

Total votes

AND

0.8 1.3 1.5 0.9

0.7 1.3 1.3 0.9 0.6

0.9 1.3 1.1

NDA

Andrew Alhaji Amadu Kandeh Charles Turay Jalloh Baba Conteh Margai

5.3 12.0 35.1

APC

Ernest Koroma

Table 7 (Sierra Leone) 2007 presidential election results by sub-region (%)

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Table 8

(Sierra Leone) 2007 distribution of party seats by sub-region APC seats

EASTERN Kono Kailahun Kenema NORTHERN Kambia Bombali Koinadugu Tonkolili Port Loko SOUTHERN Moyamba Bo Pujehun Bonthe WESTERN WA Rural WA Urban TOTALS

1 1 – – 36 5 9 4 8 10 1 1 – – – 21 4 17 59

AND

DEMOCR ACY

PMDC seats – – – – – – – – – – 10 1 3 3 3 – – – 10

IN

WEST A FRICA

SLPP Total seats seats 26 7 8 11 3 1 – 2 – – 14 4 8 2 – – – – 43

27 8 8 11 39 6 9 6 8 10 25 6 11 5 3 21 4 17 112

Addl. seats after 2002 +3 – – +3 –1 –2 +1 –2 – +2 –7 –2 +3 –3 –5 +5 N/A N/A –

run-off. Importantly, and bucking the traditional regional alliances, Margai threw his hat in with Koroma. As the stakes were raised, violence and a level of desperation emerged on the part of the ruling party. Koroma and Margai were stopped from campaigning in Kailahun and Kenema, and Foh and Margai were harassed in Pujehun.67 Considerable attempts at defrauding the process resulted in the returns from 477 out of 6,156 polling stations, nearly 8 per cent of the total, being invalidated due to more ballots then registered voters.68 Of these, 426 were in the south and east, suggesting a significant effort by the ruling party to use its heartlands to stuff ballot boxes. The attempts failed, however, and after the invalidations Koroma won the run-off with a substantial 55 per cent. Victory for the APC was not the only change on view. There was little evidence to suggest that the electorate was voting on the grounds of security. The SLPP appeared to have lost the election on much more

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familiar territory. First, complacency appeared to have set in: the SLPP had not heeded the signs that a battle was ahead, or at least if they had, it was by then too late. Berewa chose not to appear at all in Sierra Leone’s historic first presidential debate, and the SLPP record in government left a great deal to be desired. Although some schools and roads had been refurbished, many voters most probably switched allegiance because of lack of progress on many other roads and in power, water, health, anti-corruption, chiefdom and judiciary reform, diamond management and particularly jobs and the economy. The popularity of musicians such as Daddy Saj and Emmerson, the latter releasing the very successful Borbor Bele – a strong dig at those benefiting from corruption – provided some indication that all might not go the SLPP way. Second, and in a particularly acute aspect of its complacency, the SLPP failed to secure its own constituency in the south and east. Indicative of its lack of concern, whether in developmental or patrimonial terms, the road to the south and east, through the regional capitals of Bo and Kenema, was in just as poor condition as it had been in 2002, and the road to Kailahun District in the far east was appalling.69 Third, where the SLPP government had made progress, it failed to communicate its message. For instance, the SLPP radio station was set up six months after the APC station, and just one month before the first election. The contradiction of long queues of people waiting for handouts outside Berewa’s residence in Freetown and the results in the capital increased the talk of ‘watermelon voters’ – (SLPP) green on the outside and (APC) red on the inside. Finally, there emerged in Sierra Leone a credible, at least in the short term, third force. Margai’s support was derived partly from the fact that he was a Margai, partly from his attraction to young professionals, partly from the SLPP’s complacency in the south and finally from what was regarded by some as the SLPP betrayal of Hinga Norman. Votes for Margai were not the decisive factor in forcing a run-off, but the loss of ten seats was a bitter blow to the SLPP and, most importantly, enough PMDC supporters followed their leader to Koroma’s side in the run-off. While Berewa gained disproportionately in Kailahun and Kenema in the east, the run-off gains in the south were split almost exactly evenly between

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the candidates. Although both won just over 50,000 extra votes in the south, these votes constituted nearly 3 per cent of the valid total cast and, alongside the invalidations, were crucial for Koroma.70 There are four further important features here that are worthy of emphasis. First, turnovers in the parliament and executive set a considerable precedent. Not only does it show that the opposition can defeat an incumbent, which is no mean feat in Africa, but it also gives notice to the next government that there has to be some progress on developmental issues, and that it has to improve the balance of its approach to resource distribution. Second, there was no landslide. Although it is difficult to see the APC acting in a substantially different political manner to the SLPP, there is no accompanying overbearing bloc in parliament. Third, the NEC resisted pressure from many quarters, and although the Eastern and Southern Province commissioners resigned after the run-off, may have emerged institutionally stronger having upheld the invalidations and the turnover of power. The 2007 elections was a significant event that will resonate long and hard in Sierra Leone and in Africa in general. However, the turnover of power has much more to do with the ruling party’s complacency, its poor performance and splits in its ranks than it has to do with concerns in a post-conflict environment. This was, to all intents and purposes, a peacetime election. As if to underline this development, the fourth and final feature is now only a footnote: the barely existing RUFP did not contest the 2007 elections. Optimism for the future rests with die-hard SLPP and APC enthusiasts and those who see the emergence of a third political force, possibly from amongst the sidelined youth of the aging main parties. Although the PMDC probably gained from this constituency in 2007, it can hardly be seen as a party formulated on substantially different grounds from the main two. More pertinently, there is the possible prospect of incremental democratic change, which has arguably begun with Kabbah stepping down and a turnover of power. The APC government has indeed made some policy and infrastructural progress and at the same time seen two cabinet ministers successfully prosecuted by the ACC for corruption. Improvements however are painfully slow. Finally, there is an often-expressed view that the war has

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changed Sierra Leone. War has often been a catalyst for some form of social change, and it is considered by many that Sierra Leoneans will no longer stand for the abuses of the past. This, it is said, has been manifest in the successes of the civil-society movement, particularly against the NPRC in 1995–96, the AFRC junta in 1997–98 and the abortive RUF coup in 2000, and will continue to be visible in the future. In particular, the proliferation of youth and women’s groups has been noted right down to grassroots level. It may also be manifest in the manner in which the electorate has removed a government which is under-performing, whether in terms of patronage or development, and the warning that has been given for future elections.

Conclusions As Zainab Bangura noted in the immediate aftermath of the 2002 elections, people are ‘prepared to pay any price for peace’.71 The pattern of Sierra Leonean ethno-regional voting was crosscut on this occasion. However, it appears that the crosscutting influence was primarily the peace vote, an aspect that proved not to be a factor in the 2007 national election. Patterns largely reverted back to only slightly diluted blocvoting. The entrenched nature of this pattern of voting dating back to independence, the continuing and vital importance of ethnic and familial ties in Sierra Leonean society, and the willingness of political parties to use these ties for their own political and economic gain, probably militate against a repeat of any precedent set in 2002. However, the peace vote is a factor that fundamentally affects all post-conflict elections, wherever there is a conceivable peace option to vote for, a state of affairs that would presumably prevail in any country until a theoretical time when security became watertight. In 1996, any of the civilian parties, including the NPRC-backed party, were all equally likely to fail or succeed in providing security, so there was no recourse to a peace vote. However, in 2002, as in Liberia in 1997, a fragile peace militated against the opposition and for an incumbent landslide.72 Sierra Leone is, however, the exception amongst countries that have experienced post-conflict elections, in that the party of the rebels gained nothing from the polls.

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The RUF/RUFP was unable to benefit politically from a peace vote or from its diamonds, as it could not withstand the twin military and political assault of the international forces surrounding it. The tables had been turned since the Lomé Accord of 1999, where certain international players, including the USA and UK, urged compromise. During the following two years, the British sent in an active intervention force, the Americans gave considerable backing to the Guinean military, and UN sanctions were imposed on Liberia. Indeed, one can detect, particularly in the minds of those like the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, the beginnings of the pre-emptive policy that would gather pace after the appalling events of 11 September 2001 in New York and lead towards the US-led attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq. In a completely different international environment to that when Renamo faced vilification, then financial backing from the outside world, the RUF/RUFP laboured under UN sanctions against many of its top-level officials, the imprisonment of its leader, and the sword of Damocles held over the party by the SLSC.73 The fairly obvious and certainly not refuted international preference for a Kabbah victory and the imbalance in resources militated against all opposition. However, it must be noted that the ‘international community’, at least those who were interested, were able to follow this path largely because the RUF in 2001–02 had ceased to pose a significant threat. The RUF/RUFP slowly unravelled during this period, due to its record of barbarity, but also its inability to furnish itself with adequate civilian leaders and cadres. Indeed, the RUFP leaders were singularly unable to unite, agree, organise or find funding, and appeared to all intents and purposes to have given in. All RUFP candidates that the author interviewed appeared resigned to the inevitability of performing poorly in the 2002 election. Their focus was mostly in securing some sort of future outside the RUF/RUFP and there seemed to be an acknowledgement, either explicit or implicit, that Sierra Leone had not been transformed from either ethno-regional or patron-client political logic. Despite its continued access to the diamond fields, the RUF/RUFP could be ignored, sidelined or incarcerated by internal and external bodies, as they saw fit. The RUFP, as opposed to Renamo, did have civilian opponents to contend with, but in Sierra Leone it was

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the APC, politically bankrupt only six years earlier, and the PLP, the party of the former junta leader, which both performed significantly better. The result, however, is an election that did not attend to the grievances and injustices that provoked the conflict in the first place. No opposition party, civilian or former military, could begin to match the electoral onslaught of the ‘peace-makers’ of the SLPP. Sierra Leone became close to a one-party state again and it was the SLPP government, facing limited opposition from parliament but considerable potential hostility from various other quarters, which was tasked to engage in the long-term thinking to avoid a return to conflict similar to Liberia. Failing to do so, the SLPP was swept aside by the electorate after five years and the task handed to another old party, the APC, but on this occasion without a landslide mandate. However, the APC faces the same pressures as the SLPP. Diamonds, chiefs and ‘big-men’ remain precariously close to government authority. There is still a dangerous pool of unemployed and disaffected youth, similar to that which provided sustenance to the RUF, but with the added experience of conflict and in some cases of local power. These and other marginalised people remain unrepresented, and largely ignored. The political elite might note that marginalised players have in the past used non-democratic means to pursue their objectives, and that marginalisation is now accompanied by familiarity with armed conflict. Successful military coups in 1967, 1968, 1992, 1996 and 1997 – which, in more cases than not, produced military governments packed with civilians who had missed out in previous elections or administrations – and the longevity and occasional successes of the RUF and other African rebel forces show two alternative routes to power.

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CHAPTER 5 LIBER IA – WAR AND PEACE

Development of the conflict Charles Taylor’s invasion of Liberia was launched in December 1989 from Côte d’Ivoire. Like the RUF, Taylor and some of his cohorts had received training in Libya; he began with a small multi-national force, only about 200 strong and significantly non-Liberian.1 Unlike the RUF, however, he and the NPFL had by mid-1990 taken over 95 per cent of the country. No doubt Taylor benefited from President Samuel Doe’s over-reaction to the incursion, once again targeting the Gio and Mano residents of Nimba County, where Taylor had entered the country. Krahn and Mandingos, perceived beneficiaries of the Doe regime, became the targets of Taylor’s forces. His success, however, was also underwritten by support from a broader range of people, and survived the splintering of his forces when the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), led by Prince Yormie Johnson, broke away. Taylor was stopped only by the intervention of mostly Nigerian peacekeepers from ECOMOG. Doe was captured, tortured and killed by Johnson, while ECOMOG protected the capital, Monrovia, and a new interim government. Despite the INPFL breakaway, Taylor and the NPFL held a virtual monopoly on the rebellion for some time, and established a commercial empire in the grandly titled ‘Greater Liberia’, with its capital

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and ‘ministries’ in Gbarnga. New factions, and even the arrival of ECOMOG, did not significantly disturb NPFL hegemony over around 95 per cent of the country for the first two years of the conflict, but this relative stability was rudely shattered by the emergence of the anti-Taylor United Liberation Movement of Liberia (ULIMO), which in late 1991 began to make inroads into western Liberia. From 1992 onwards, large parts of Liberia became contested regions in a fracturing factional arena. The misnamed Liberian Peace Council (LPC) emerged in south-eastern Liberia in late 1993, under the leadership of George Boley, with a mainly Krahn membership and apparent ECOMOG backing.2 ULIMO split in early 1994 into its Mandingo and Krahn components, led by Alhaji Kromah (ULIMO-K) and Roosevelt Johnson (ULIMO-J), respectively. In mid-1994, a further faction, the Lofa Defence Force (LDF), began threatening ULIMO positions in Lofa County, most likely with assistance from the NPFL. At the same time, an alliance of breakaway NPFL senior officials, under the rubric NPFL-Central Revolutionary Council (NPFL-CRC), and ULIMO-J, ECOMOG and LPC forces was successful enough to overrun the NPFL capital, Gbarnga, for a short period. Other improbable alliances include that between ULIMO-K and the NPFL during 1996. Although the proliferation of warring parties appears to be premised on ethnic cleavages, it is also plausibly explained by the commercial possibilities on offer and the increasing probability of recognition at peace talks. A series of peace accords were signed and broken, while interim coalition governments were created and disintegrated. Significantly, the first Abuja conference in August 1995 made a reality of the twoyear old Liberian National Transitional Government (LNTG), the first administration to include warring faction leaders in its hierarchy, and Taylor made his long-awaited return to Monrovia. However, the civilian head of the LNTG, the writer Wilton Sankawulo, proved unable to check the growing authority of the faction leaders, and in April 1996 an outbreak of violence and looting erupted on the streets of Monrovia. Finally, almost exactly a year after the first, the second Abuja conference (‘Abuja II’) succeeded in shaping another inclusive coalition, and a peace that held. Sani Abacha, replacing Ibrahim Babangida as the

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Nigerian president, was more amenable to a deal with Taylor in order to provide an exit strategy for his ECOMOG troops. The robust style of the new interim Liberian leader, Ruth Perry, and the last actions of the ECOMOG deployment in providing a semblance of security for the elections helped to keep the peace long enough for those elections to take place. Taylor’s presidency in Monrovia, after a landslide victory for him and his National Patriotic Party (NPP) in the troubled election of 1997, was not without problems. His style of leadership had much in common with his own violent methods in the bush, and with the autocratic approach of his presidential predecessors. Most importantly, he was soon threatened by a rebellion coming over the border from Guinea. Supported by President Lansana Conté of Guinea, the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) began, after an inauspicious start in 2000, to make inroads into Liberia. It was, ironically, the RUF-Liberian army incursion into Guinea that gave the group its impetus. Conté was faced with an invasion on at least two fronts, from Liberia and eastern Sierra Leone into the deep south of Guinea and from northern Sierra Leone into Guinean territory perilously close to the capital, Conakry. At various points the southern towns of Guéckédou and Macenta were overrun, and the RUF forces reached a third of the way to Conakry. Conté’s response was to mobilise LURD fighters and Sierra Leonean Donso militiamen to fight alongside the Guinean army.3 The attacks were repulsed and the battleground returned to Liberia. LURD was a predominantly Krahn and Mandingo force, featuring many former ULIMO fighters whom Taylor had refused to integrate into the national army. It eventually split in 2003 into its ethnic components, but during that year LURD and the new Krahn force, the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), were successful enough to reach the gates of the capital and the second city, Buchanan, respectively. Taylor’s sponsorship of the RUF in Sierra Leone led to UN sanctions in 2001, and his backing for two Ivorian rebel forces, the Mouvement pour la Justice et la Paix (MJP) and the the Mouvement Patriotique du Grand Ouest (MPIGO), in late 2002 resulted in Ivorian government support for MODEL.

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In a period of heightened military and diplomatic activity, Taylor agreed to leave Monrovia in August 2003 for protected exile in the Nigerian city of Calabar. The advance of LURD into the Monrovia suburbs, the capture by MODEL of large parts of the lucrative forestry industry, the arrival of Nigerian troops as part of a new ECOWAS peacekeeping initiative to part the combatants, an indictment by the SLSC, and considerable political pressure brought to bear by the US administration and African leaders, all took their toll. Perhaps a final straw was the seizure by Nigerian troops at Roberts International Airport of an arms consignment bound for Taylor’s forces. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in Accra shortly after, provided for a short interim administration headed by Vice President Moses Blah followed by a two-year coalition – the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) – leading to elections in 2005. The NTGL incorporated ministers from Taylor’s government, representatives of LURD and MODEL and civilian members, and was headed by a businessman with political links to only a civilian party, Gyude Bryant. Although riddled with gross corruption, the NTGL succeeded in holding the factions together for the period of its mandate. The UN Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, provided security and administrative support for the lead-up to the elections in October and November 2005.

The nature of the war and the combatants The underlying causes of the first Liberian war In recent Liberian history there are two wars for which to account. The debate around the causes of the conflicts in Liberia has not been as heated as that surrounding its counterpart in Sierra Leone. This certainly does not reflect any lack of brutality or of the importance of this conflict, beginning as it did on the cusp of the end of the Cold War, but perhaps more an indication of Liberia’s marginalisation in the media and, to some degree, in academia. However, there are similar themes to unpick that will help to explain the outcomes of the post-conflict elections. Once again, in the interests of clarity, the underlying causes are as far as possible separated from the immediate

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precipitants, including the participants. At the same time, the two conflicts are inextricably interwoven. In a similar way to the RUF case, Taylor is often held responsible for the cause, the instigation and the prolongation of conflict in Liberia and the wider region. Indeed, he is, at the time of writing, being tried for war crimes committed in Sierra Leone and is incarcerated in The Hague. Certainly, Taylor cast a considerable shadow over this corner of West Africa for over a decade and a half, and his influence can be seen in the conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea. He was the organiser of the initial invasion into Liberia, the driving force behind the NPFL, a man with phenomenal presidential ambitions and the will to override all other considerations – these ambitions apparently being the prime motivating reason for further rebellion once he had gained power. Former interim head of state Amos Sawyer argues that from the very start Taylor’s ambitions were grandiose: ‘to restore Liberia’s “days of glory” and its president’s place as leader of one of the three power blocs in West Africa, the other two being Nigeria and francophone West Africa’; and ‘to be the leader of the Mano basin area’, i.e. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.4 One investigative journalist noted that: Taylor had a map he carried around with him called Greater Liberia. It included parts of Guinea, diamond fields in Sierra Leone. It wasn’t something abstract to him. He had a very clear idea of what he was trying to achieve. He had a grandiose plan, and he almost succeeded.5 Former UN representative in Liberia, Jacques Klein compared Taylor to a Count Dracula-like vampire, who cannot be killed normally but instead requires a stake through his heart.6 The 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity that he faces, and the pressure mounted by Western governments on Nigeria and Liberia to surrender him to the SLSC, are indicative of the way in which the Liberian wars are perceived. Equally, Taylor was accused by the SLSC Chief Prosecutor of accruing assets of US$1 billion, suggesting that his concerns with power

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were also strongly linked to the accumulation of wealth.7 For several years during the 1989–96 conflict, while ECOMOG was propping up the interim governments in Monrovia, Taylor constructed a commercial empire in his grandly titled ‘Greater Liberia’. At its height, this entity boasted its own currency, TV, radio, newspaper, international airport, deepwater port and administrative capital. The export trade in rubber, gold and diamonds boomed, and by 1991 ‘Greater Liberia’ had become France’s third-largest source of tropical hardwood.8 It has been estimated that Taylor may have had access to US$400–450 million per year.9 The preference for foreign partners in the exploitation of resources highlights the continuity in political practices, from the True Whig Party (TWP) to Doe to Taylor. Among the rank and file, stories of NPFL fighters returning to their farms in Nimba County with the spoils of battle emerged very early in the war.10 However, given the dichotomy in thinking on post-Cold War conflict, the explanation for the phenomenal success of the NPFL in the first civil war must also be explored in terms of the long history of Liberia and the immediate build-up to the invasion. The longue durée of authoritarian and somewhat removed Americo-Liberian rule had created a tightly restricted political system, where there was for a long time impressive economic growth, but without accompanying development. Power, wealth and opportunity remained largely within the confines of the TWP, the Masonic Lodges and a sometimes paternalistic and at other times arrogant elite, comprised mostly of AmericoLiberians. Once the economy began to fail during the oil shocks of the 1970s, and the educational and infrastructural programmes established in the interior began to reveal the gross imbalances to a wider audience, the edifice began to crumble. Large-scale violence was perhaps delayed a decade by the coup of 1980 and the arrival of the first African-Liberian president, Doe, seen in some quarters at the time as Liberia’s real independence. The People’s Redemption Council (PRC) regime of President Doe, however, endeavoured to follow the political methodology of the TWP government, and spent its nine years in power fostering public resentment. First, an electorate that had turned out in large numbers, despite harassment and intimidation, received the blatant rigging of the

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1985 election with immense disappointment. Second, the Liberian economy had shrunk to new lows, with wealth gaps clear for all to see. Third, Doe’s form of ethnocentric governance had mainly favoured the Krahn (his own people), the Mandingos, and the Americo-Liberians who had come to terms with this new regime and taken up positions in the government. Fourth and finally, finding the going tough, Doe adopted methods that would have been familiar to his predecessors, the TWP. Political detentions and floggings became common, newspapers were shut down and journalists jailed. However, more crudely than before, more than 50 rivals, mostly soldiers, were executed. The general violence of the regime was exemplified by the reprisals after Jackson Doe’s ‘defeat’ in the election and Thomas Quiwonkpa’s subsequent thwarted coup attempt, both of these men being from Gio ethnic stock. Doe’s subsequent purge of the army and his attacks on Gio and also related Mano civilians were swift and brutal, and fostered the charged ethnic atmosphere that set the scene for the war. A Mandingo call to arms was issued by the Information Minister, Alhaji Kromah (later to front the rebel ULIMO-K group), to defend and finance the government.11 Taylor, part Americo-Liberian and with a disparate force, had little connection with the hinterland, and both these reactions worked considerably to his advantage. Attempting to augment his image, he presented himself as the successor to the failed coup leader, Quiwonkpa. However, first the Gios and Manos, quickly followed by people of other ethnic groups beside the Krahn and Mandingo, flocked to the NPFL. Taylor always described the NPFL invasion as the start of a war of liberation, and it would appear that many Liberians, at home and abroad, saw it initially in the same light. Taylor had played no part in the 1985 coup, but certainly benefited from the growing resentment, the increasing numbers of Liberian exiles and the backing of Americo-Liberians in the USA, where he had spent most of his life.12 Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a presidential candidate in 1997 and an implacable political foe of Taylor during most of the 1990s and up to the present, has admitted supporting the invasion in the initial few months. Whatever Taylor’s later activities, his initial invasion proved to be wanted by many and successful in any terms.

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The underlying causes of the second Liberian war After the electoral victory of Taylor and the NPP in 1997, the track record of the ensuing government again left much to be desired. The imprisonment, harassment and exile of opposition leaders, newspaper editors, journalists and human-rights campaigners were common. Many prominent Liberians not known for their lack of resolve, such as Johnson-Sirleaf, who had seen the inside of one of Doe’s jails, and Samuel Kofi-Woods, a formidable human-rights activist, were forced into exile. Journalists such as Hassan Bility, the editor of the independent Analyst newspaper who was imprisoned and then released after pressure from the US embassy, became minor international causes. The regime used rebel advances as a pretext for imposing a state of emergency between February and September 2002. Significant numbers of Krahns, Doe’s ethnic kinspeople, remained outside the country, many in Côte d’Ivoire, their numbers there actually swelling. Fighting between government troops and ethnic Krahns led by Roosevelt Johnson, former leader of the wartime ULIMO-J faction, broke out just over a year after the election, when Taylor ordered an assault on Camp Johnson Road in Monrovia. The casualty list, including civilians, was considerable, and Johnson was forced to take refuge in the American embassy, before fleeing into exile. Several associates and former associates of Taylor died in suspicious circumstances after the elections: a former NPFL man turned critic, Sam Dokie, and his family were abducted, tortured and killed by so far unidentified assailants, and former Vice President Enoch Dogolea died mysteriously of a reported heart attack. More concretely, Liberia’s two independent radio stations, the Swiss NGOfunded Star Radio and the Catholic Church’s Radio Veritas, were shut down and newspapers forced to toe the line or be closed. The arrest of four foreign journalists, including the feted Sierra Leonean TV reporter, Sorious Samora, did nothing to enhance the regime’s reputation abroad. It is also clear that power became more and more centralised around Taylor, his state increasingly resembling his war-time regime and those of Doe and Tolbert before him. Indeed, many functionaries of

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these previous governments returned to office and benefited from the considerable perquisites of what has been described as another ‘shadow state’.13 Security units, particularly the feared Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU), seemed to report directly to the presidency, were staffed by former NPFL and RUF fighters, and gained a fearsome reputation.14 Liberian money, amounting to US$38 billion, apparently accounted for a quarter of all African deposits in Switzerland, and was greater than the sums contained in Nigerian or South African accounts there.15 At the same time, there was almost no public piped water or electricity in Monrovia, little in the way of jobs or schooling, and a per-capita income that remained at about one-third of pre-war levels. Political reform was all but absent, and despite an amnesty there was little civilian political opposition left in Liberia, although some began to return despite adverse political conditions prior to what were to be the 2003 elections, and in advance of the astounding events of August 2003. Taylor was able to exercise his considerable constitutional authority in a personalised, narrowly patrimonial, informal manner, reminiscent of but more extreme than previous presidents. It did not bode well when his regime needed to resort to violence on such a regular basis, and when so much economic activity was based on presidential assent, was conducted with foreign and often dubious partners, and was routinely channelled through avenues outside the apparatus of the state, thus depriving it of much-needed revenue. Taylor denied all allegations of diamond-smuggling and gunrunning to the RUF. However, there seems little doubt that much of this trade, outlawed by UN sanctions, was conducted with the knowledge and usually the complicity of the Liberian authorities. Two damning international publications in 2000 pointed to Taylor’s continued involvement.16 UN sanctions were imposed in May 2001, then reviewed annually. In a forthright report in 2001, a UN Panel of Experts ‘found unequivocal and overwhelming evidence that Liberia has been actively supporting the RUF at all levels’, and reported that the bulk of Sierra Leonean diamonds left through Liberia. Travel bans for named senior Liberian officials were subsequently imposed, alongside the grounding of Liberian-registered aircraft and sanctions on diamonds. Timber exports from Liberia were not included until 2003,

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despite evidence of its critical role in the funding of regional conflict.17 Little funding, meanwhile, was derived from the USA, which had traditionally been the largest of Liberia’s benefactors. Investment came into Liberia but it was of the sort typified by the Oriental Timber Company, which reportedly operated, when it was able, without control or regulation in Liberia’s reserved forests and was involved in gun-running into Sierra Leone. Allegations of al-Qaeda payments for the protection of operatives and Taylor/al-Qaeda diamond deals were made, which appeared to influence US policy significantly, in particular with respect to Taylor.18 Taylor’s role in provoking regional instability and conflict went far beyond the trade in arms and diamonds. There seems little doubt that he prompted the joint RUF-Liberian armed forces incursions into Guinea in late 2000. This venture ultimately failed and the invaders were driven back into Liberia and Sierra Leone. The invasion can be seen either as an attempt further to muddy the regional waters, as a bid to reach Conakry and install a compliant regime, or as an effort to counter Guinean-backed Liberian resistance endeavouring to mount its own incursion into Liberia – or all of the above. In November 2002, two new factions, MJP and MPIGO, joined the six-week-old civil conflict in Côte d’Ivoire. There are many accounts of Liberian and Sierra Leonean mercenary involvement in these two factions, and claims that Taylor and his military commanders, particularly the former highranking RUF military leader Sam Bockarie, actually formed and controlled these groups.19 The relationship between Taylor and the former Ivorian military leader, Robert Gueï, killed on the first day of the 2002 Ivorian crisis, goes back a long way, bolstered by the ethnic affinity between the Gio and the Yacouba, supporters of Taylor and Gueï respectively. Reports emerged that 95 per cent of Liberians fighting for Ivorian government forces were Krahn, ‘cousins’ of the Guéré (who supported the President, Laurent Gbagbo), many of whom would have been forced out of Liberia in the first war or in Taylor’s attack on Camp Johnson Road.20 Further, Taylor’s motives in 2002–03 may have been both economic and political, particularly the possibility of replacing the Gbagbo government in Abidjan with a friendly regime, providing an opportunity to ‘pay’ his forces and to keep the commercial

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avenues, particularly in timber, open to Côte d’Ivoire. In Sierra Leone, the thwarted January 2003 attack on Wellington barracks just outside Freetown, which resulted in the attempted arrest and subsequent absconding of former Sierra Leone junta leader Johnny Paul Koroma, may have been planned as the recommencement of hostilities. The destabilisation of the SLSC, which had indicted Bockarie, Koroma and Taylor, could have ensued.21 If the death of Bockarie in May 2003 (and possibly Koroma as well) were at the hands of Taylor’s men, it did suggest Taylor’s anxiety concerning the SLSC, above and beyond his own indictment. Into this environment in 2000 emerged the predominantly Krahn-Mandingo force, LURD, seemingly with a single project – to unseat Taylor. The causes of the second war appear to align with the causes for the first, just as the Taylor regime resembled in many ways the government of Doe. With continual resort to violence, ethnic favouritism and wholesale corruption, similarities in style abounded. Where the Gio and Mano were on the receiving end in the 1980s, the Krahn and Mandingo replaced them in the late 1990s and 2000s. Many others suffered from arbitrary justice, violence and marginalised economic conditions. Crucially, the promised integration of armed forces after 1997 did not happen, and many former ULIMO fighters, alongside Krahn and Mandingo civilians, went into or stayed in exile. The precipitants of war: Charles Taylor, NPFL, ULIMO and foreign states There are distinctions between the RUF’s considerable economic preoccupations and Taylor’s relatively coherent political objective, even with its partially economic rationale. During the first war, Taylor ran ‘intensely personalised, almost completely de-institutionalised political networks’ and the dearth of anything resembling state-like functions was clear.22 However, the patron-client and personalist structures in his commercial empire do not detract from the image of a functioning administration that Taylor wished to present. Gbarnga became the seat of the National Patriotic Reconstruction Assembly Government, complete with ministries and banks. At times, refugees in ‘Greater

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Liberia’ received food aid from this government.23 Taylor was the selfstyled president of his new state. It may have functioned in an extreme clientelist fashion, but the trappings and style of his presidency constituted a dress rehearsal that was later to provide Taylor with considerable assistance. His ambition to be the real president in the Executive Mansion in Monrovia was never in doubt. The violence of the NPFL was probably as arbitrary and brutal as that of the RUF. A catalogue of human-rights abuses by unpaid, often very young and traumatised fighters was documented at the time; the NPFL’s Small Boys Unit was infamous. NPFL targeting of Krahn and Mandingo in the early stages soon gave way to systematic looting and arbitrary violence, deliberately encouraged as a means of motivating fighters.24 The descent of the war into a spiral of indiscriminate violence and looting has encouraged observers to seek deeper explanations. Unpaid, traumatised youth became obedient and loyal fighters, and unfed troops, in the absence of strong leadership or ideology, resorted to looting and terror. These abuses are well documented.25 The more grotesque and bizarre elements of the war, such as the incidences of ritual cannibalism and transvestism, were luridly reported, but have been put into perspective by highlighting the misuse of the sometimes violent religious rituals of the Poro and Sande secret societies, prevalent among most of Liberia’s ethnic groups.26 There was a similarity in abuses and, most probably in the background of many of the fighters of the RUF and NPFL, although fewer, at least initially, were coerced in Liberia. Probably the greatest difference to the RUF can be seen in the calibre of the NPFL functionaries, particularly after the 1996 Peace Accords. There is a correspondence in the frequent loss of top cadres and the eagerness to eliminate rivals. Taylor lost the best-trained fighters and a top commander from Nimba County, Prince Johnson, with the defection of the INPFL shortly after the invasion. The NPFL’s chief military strategist, Elmer Johnson, and its Secretary-General (the former Liberian Minister of Labour) Moses Duopu, were killed in 1990, probably on Taylor’s orders. The popular Jackson Doe, the real winner of the 1985 elections, was also killed in Taylor territory, again probably on his orders and in the same year. Even more seriously, he was to lose the high-ranking figures Sam Dokie,

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Tom Woewiyu (the NPFL Defence Minister, who later returned to the fold) and Lavelli Supuwood, who became important in the anti-Taylor force, LURD, many years later. They formed the NPFL-CRC (NPFLCentral Revolutionary Council) in 1994 and allied with other factions to mount a serious threat to the existence of the NPFL. Despite these critical losses in personnel, however, Taylor held the NPFL together both militarily and politically – unlike Sankoh, who kept the allegiance of battlefield commanders and fighters even during his two periods in prison, but could not develop a political force. Although Stephen Ellis noted in 1998 the several important occasions when Taylor ‘demonstrated a lack of strategic vision and real political skills’, particularly in his rejection of ECOMOG – and one could still see the validity of Ellis’ assertion in subsequent years – he nonetheless ascribes to Taylor a ‘talent for manoeuvre, which he showed in abundance’.27 If this is the case, Taylor’s consummate manoeuvring allowed for many short-term political advantages to be won. Despite fleeing into exile in 1983, after being accused of embezzling L$ 900,000 while head of the GSA (General Services Agency, the department charged with the procurement and allotment of government properties), Taylor’s experience in the Doe government gave him access to insider circles. While in the USA, he spent time inside the Plymouth County House of Correction in the USA on the embezzlement charge, but escaped two months before the Quiwonkpa coup attempt.28 However, before his incarceration, Taylor was able to reconnect to the Americo-Liberian networks in which he had grown up and attained an education, including his degree in economics. He retained, rehired and recruited many key individuals. Some, such as Cyril Allen and Grace Minor, key financiers who went on to become NPP party chairman and Senate President respectively, and Moses Blah, who became Vice-President and fleetingly President of Liberia, stayed with Taylor throughout; and others such as Benoni Urey and Jenkins Dunbar were transformed from arms shippers to, respectively, diplomat and Lands, Mines and Energy Minister. Once in Monrovia, Taylor could also tap into elite circles for educated and politically experienced accomplices, such as former Doe-era Finance Minister Emmanuel Shaw, a political veteran and presidential candidate in 1997, lawyer Bacchus

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Matthews, Charles Brumskine, who became Senate leader before fleeing the country, and the economist Nathaniel Barnes, the last two of these returning as presidential candidates in 2005. Americo-Liberians and others of the educated elite had staffed all the regimes of different hues and varying violent tendencies, from the TWP to the PRC and the interim governments, and so would not baulk at staffing Taylor’s government. Primacy has always been placed by the educated elite on the political as a means of accumulating wealth and, in the political realm, Liberia has ‘educated personnel to spare’.29 Crucially, Taylor was of the elite and knew the ropes; Sankoh was not, and detested these people with a passion. Taylor’s extraordinary will to power drove the rebel force to the outskirts of Monrovia and kept its momentum through the dark days, such as 1994, when even his capital, Gbarnga, was taken. The lucrative trade in commodities, such as timber and Sierra Leonean diamonds, clearly enriched the top echelons of the NPFL, but it should only be seen as part and parcel of his presidential ambition. Taylor began the war to become Liberia’s next president, with all the perquisites, political and economic, that the position could give him. As the war progressed, there were some economic advantages for remaining in a state of perpetual conflict, but Taylor’s political ambitions overrode this temptation. Dissecting Taylor’s political ambitions, one can possibly see an attempt to restore Americo-Liberian dignity, property rights and power, but as Amos Sawyer notes, he also harboured a ‘deep resentment of the upper class of Congo society’, having grown up outside the Monrovia elite with a low status Americo-Liberian father and an assimilated Gola mother.30 There is also on view ambitions that appear even to go beyond the state of Liberia. His interventions in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire suggest an attempt to extend his writ through subordinates into all surrounding states. The two branches of ULIMO, the INPFL, the LPC and other even more minor forces, such as the LDF, were different entities to the NPFL. All emerged in opposition to or as a client of the NPFL. The INPFL was a spent force within a short period of time, and is only known now for the killing of Doe. ULIMO was created by Krahn and Mandingo refugees amidst the carnage wrought by the RUF in

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southern Sierra Leone. Their enmity with Taylor’s forces is clear, but the concern of the leadership to use the commercial assets suggests that the political goals were not as clear as those of the NPFL, and there was little to hold the organisation together in 1994. The interests of the LPC, a mainly Krahn entity, appeared to rest almost entirely in commercial logging and looting. The regional and international elements of this first conflict should not, however, be overlooked. As in the case of the RUF, Libya helped with the training of NPFL members, its motivation for assisting Taylor resting in the murky anti-imperial and geo-political power-play logic of Qaddafi’s desire to influence events in sub-Saharan Africa. The support of Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, however, is entangled in francophone-anglophone and personal relations. The language divide is most in evidence when considering the almost entirely anglophone and mainly Nigerian make-up of the ECOMOG intervention force that kept the NPFL out of Monrovia. Resistance to anglophone and Nigerian dominance added to the effect of the familial relations that the Ivorian president, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, had with Tolbert, who was killed by Doe in 1980. ULIMO emerged in southern Sierra Leone with the tacit support of the Sierra Leonean government. Finally, the reduction in US support for the Doe regime as the Cold War came to an end proved, at a minimum, to be timely and accusations of US and French support for Taylor at various points have not gone away. It is apt to note that in August 1996 the Abuja II Accords were signed, during a rapprochement between Taylor and the Nigerian government, now led by Sani Abacha. The deal showed that Taylor and the Nigerians held the keys to peace in Liberia. Taylor’s objective lay more clearly than ever in the presidency and this was his path to it. If he failed to win on the battlefield against ECOMOG and a range of competing factions, he would have to sign up with the Nigerians and rely on being the dominant indigenous force in a peaceful but insecure electoral environment. Nigeria’s desire to support the Doe government and the interim administrations against the rebel threat – a threat feared by many African governments – and the Abacha regime’s ideas of a hegemonic Nigeria in West Africa, and possibly in the entire continent, were transformed into a desperate need to exit with some

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credibility intact. An electoral process would suit Taylor and the Nigerians, both concerned to enhance their poor image abroad. A determined Ruth Perry headed the new power-sharing administration, and alongside the ebullient new ECOMOG commander, Major-General Victor Malu, led Liberia through a period of semi-demobilisation of the factions and relatively peaceful, if troubled, multi-party elections the following year, won by Taylor and the NPP. Again, like in the case of Liberia’s neighbour, Taylor’s backing from Libya, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire allowed the invasion to take place in December 1989. Equally, it was his arrangement with Abacha that allowed the first war to end in 1996. The ingredients to undertake and develop a successful war were, however, already in place. There were some resources, such as timber, to be exploited, but it was the fertile recruiting ground that made Taylor’s project so much more plausible. The networks of educated and sometimes politically experienced people into which he could then tap gave him an organisational infrastructure that would be the envy of many African rebel forces or, indeed, political parties. The precipitants of war: LURD, MODEL and foreign states For a long time after the first border skirmishes in 2000, an apparently impenetrable fog surrounded LURD. Until quite late, there were those who even cautioned that the organisation barely existed. LURD ‘successes’ on the battlefield were attributed to Liberian government propaganda, and particularly heavy fighting did appear to coincide strangely with attempts by the Taylor regime to attract foreign sympathy, most noticeably when reviews of UN sanctions became due. Equally, faking a LURD attack allowed the government forces free rein to loot. There are certainly grains of truth in these analyses. However, the fog slowly began to lift from 2002 onwards, with LURD beginning to appear as a serious organisation able to threaten the existence of the Taylor regime even in Monrovia, as long as the coherence and relative unity of the movement was maintained.31 LURD’s coherence was clearly under threat, in both ethnic and political-military spheres. Until December 2001 the Mandingo-Krahn

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businessman Mohamed Siaboso Jumandy had led the group, at which point he was replaced by a Mandingo businessman, Sekou Damate Conneh. ULIMO fighters, mainly Krahn and Mandingo, withdrew en masse from Liberia’s post-1997 political and military structures and fled to Guinea, alleging a witch-hunt against them and a breach of the Abuja II Peace Accords that should have allowed for their incorporation into the Liberian military. Even after a broadening of the movement, predominance in leadership and battlefield commanders still remained with Krahns and Mandingos. It was estimated that around 90 per cent of LURD’s military command structure and 60 per cent of its fighters were former ULIMO.32 The precedent of a split in ULIMO along ethnic lines in 1994 must have weighed heavily. The ULIMO rupture may to some extent have been driven by access to resources, particularly diamonds in the Sierra Leone border areas, and this fact may have contributed to the reluctance of LURD to undertake mining operations. However, at the same time that the organisation was managing to move away from being a Mandingo-Krahn closed shop, and include a greater spectrum of Liberian ethnicities – for instance, the Lorma, who began to figure in much larger numbers and had their own man inside LURD, the former Taylor ally Lavelli Supuwood – the feared split arrived.33 In February–March 2003, MODEL emerged from Côte d’Ivoire into southeastern Liberia. The group appeared to consist mainly of Krahns, formerly part of the Ivorian branch of LURD, and heavily supported by Ivorian president Gbagbo in his battle against the Taylor-backed groups, MPIGO and MJP. MODEL generated immediate publicity by taking several towns and the lucrative timber areas in the southeast. First suggestions were that the group had treated civilians well, was better equipped and disciplined than other factions, and had even repaired the streetlights in Zwedru. MODEL was, of course, invading an area where it would expect to find ethnic sympathy. On another level, the strained relations between the LURD political wings in Conakry and other West African capitals and the military operation in Liberia emerged early on. Conneh’s almost permanent residence in Voinjama, just on the Liberian side of the Guinea-Liberia border, was most likely an attempt to place himself with the military. His wife, Aisha, mostly resident in Conakry, held a leading position

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within the political side of the organisation. As spiritual advisor to the ailing President Lansana Conté of Guinea, she had considerable control over the important Guinean-government support for LURD. By early 2003, the political-military splits were there for all to see, and a clear distancing was emerging. The subsequent successes in mid-2003, however, served (at least for a while) to paper over these cracks within LURD and to bring LURD and MODEL together in government. Two early accounts of LURD portrayed the organisation as serious in its handling of civilian-military relations and resources.34 Evidence of meetings between village elders and LURD commanders to address problems and some cooperation by and a reasonably strong degree of support from the civilian population emerged, despite points of contention over porterage and food.35 LURD was, however, accused of serious civilian human-rights abuses and looting, particularly after early 2002 and worsening during 2003, although rarely on the scale of the government forces’ activities.36 It seems increasingly unlikely that LURD, even with the will, could have remained in control of commanders and fighters emerging from a similar pool or environment from which came those who had made up the RUF and ULIMO. The shelling of a packed Monrovia in mid-2003, in one of the final acts of the war, was indiscriminate, although the argument that this was a deliberate policy to attract international aid would not have supplanted the central aim of taking Monrovia.37 At the same time, the organisation did not appear to be engaging in significant commercial logging or diamond-mining. This could have been a result of the fears of a split, but may also have been influenced by the official reason of wanting to maintain the moral high ground, by the lack of equipment and by the fluctuating and imprecise frontlines of the conflict.38 The political environment, however, was turned on its head, and any preparations by all the sides to the conflict were seriously tested by the fast-moving and astonishing events of 2003. On 11 August, in the presence of several African presidents or their representatives and the cameras of the international media, Taylor resigned and left the country. Despite his somewhat contradictory protestations that he was ‘stepping down from this office of my own volition’ but that he did not want to leave the country and had been ‘forced by the world’s superpower’,

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the reality was that the net had been closing in on his administration for some time, and certainly since June of that year. The indictment by the SLSC while on a visit to the peace talks in Ghana led to rapid facesaving actions by the Ghanaian authorities in moving him quickly out of their country, and while it did not lead to his arrest it signalled the belligerent intentions of the chief SLSC prosecutor, David Crane. Some heavy criticism followed Crane for revealing the identity of the most controversial indictee while Taylor was attending a peace conference, thereby undermining the negotiators and their peace efforts. Others noted Taylor’s history of using peace negotiations to gain time when in awkward positions. June 2003 was one such awkward position as LURD and MODEL advanced. American military assistance remained anchored just over the horizon off the coast by Monrovia and was only promised for when Taylor left, but some believed that the arrival of Nigerian peacekeeping troops would favour Taylor, as it would give him time and restore some of his negotiating muscle. However, when Taylor was offered asylum, including a commitment by Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo not to hand him over to the SLSC, providing Taylor refrained from political activity, he accepted. On the same day in August 2003, Taylor and his retinue were transported to a government building in Calabar in eastern Nigeria. Many were amazed at this rare climb-down by an incumbent African president, particularly as the president in question was the obdurate and determined Taylor. On the other hand, his parting shots: ‘I can no longer see you suffer, you have suffered enough. I love you from the bottom of my heart. I will always remember you wherever I am. And I say, God willing, I will be back’, and then at the handover ceremony, ‘History will be kind to me. I have fulfilled my duties’, brought back images of the old Taylor. Alongside his attempt to present himself as a statesman and a patriot, there was the threat of his return. In the years after his resignation, Taylor was not inactive in exile, and stories abounded of his continued control of Liberian political players. After two and a half years of exile, US pressure persuaded Nigeria to renege on the deal, without the production of conclusive evidence that exile conditions had been broken, and Taylor was brought before the SLSC.

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LURD, MODEL and civilian political bodies were also far from inactive in Taylor’s absence. While the ECOWAS peacekeeping mission slowly took control of Monrovia and handed over to UNMIL, fighting in the hinterland quietened and the serious negotiations for future administrations began. In Accra, a week after Taylor’s departure, the CPA allowed for Blah and his government to maintain their offices until 14 October at which point an interim administration would guide Liberia to elections in 2005. Civilian bodies presented a panel of three candidates to head the administration, for one to be selected by the belligerents. Noticeably, the veteran politician Johnson-Sirleaf was not chosen, but instead the relatively unknown businessman and part-time politician Gyude Bryant. In a statement that was, at one and the same time, beneficial for the process and the actors involved, Bryant swiftly declared himself in favour of a general amnesty. The CPA specified a truth and reconciliation commission, which came into existence in 2005. The Nigerian Ambassador in Monrovia further recommended a no-victor-no-vanquished approach, similar to the Nigerian experience in 1970 at the conclusion of the Biafran War.39 However, Crane called for a Sierra Leone-style warcrimes tribunal for Liberia, without apparent consideration of the implications on the peace process.40 The clear aim of the managers of the SLSC and the US administration to extradite and bring Charles Taylor to justice was also of concern during the fragile coalition period and beyond. The preoccupation in Accra, though, appeared to be the carve-up of ministries and state bodies by the three former combatants, which sorely tested the calibre of LURD and MODEL appointees and appeared to be motivated by the opportunity to extract as much as possible in the short time available. The popularity and capability of the LURD and MODEL movements was never put to the test. Both officially and effectively ceased to exist in October 2004. Despite being able to portray itself as liberators of the Liberian people from the tyranny of the Taylor regime, LURD would always have struggled for broad political support, as it was associated by many with a Mandingo bid for power and historically with ULIMO-K. Internal cracks in LURD rapidly turned into ruptures. After the initiation of the NTGL in August 2003, divisive

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appointments, such as George Dweh (who became transitional assembly speaker) were made. Infighting and splits between rival factions increased, coalescing initially around Conneh on one side and his wife, Aisha, on the other, and then more along regional lines: the Lofa-based Sekou Conneh faction and the bloc of predominantly south-easterners who had not joined MODEL, centred on Dweh. Subsequent disputes over the continuation of the LURD appointees in the NTGL, and over top positions in the organisation, did not so much present a threat to the disarmament programme as to the stability of LURD and the coalition government. Sekou Conneh took up no official position in the Bryant administration, but was the only former LURD or MODEL rebel to announce a very hopeful candidacy for president. It is not clear that LURD nominated any educated, experienced or capable people to the various government and civil-service jobs on offer.41 MODEL, which managed in a few months in early 2003 to put the Taylor regime under extreme economic and military pressure, taking the timber areas and major towns of the southeast, was a much smaller organisation than LURD. Much of its success probably amounted to timing and the backing of Gbagbo in Côte d’Ivoire. Again, MODEL was desperately short of educated, politically experienced personnel. The political leader and Foreign Minister in the interim administration, Thomas Yaya Nimley, had some education, but no experience in government.42 The knowledge that many of MODEL’s leaders were active in either Doe’s army or security forces, ULIMO-J or LPC, would have ensured that their support was limited to a small ethnic constituency. Most LURD and MODEL appointees seemed to be satisfied with the perquisites of office in the interim administration. Regional issues, once again, allowed the door to open for conflict. LURD certainly took advantage of rear bases in Guinea and military support from the US-trained and -equipped Guinean army, just as the NPFL was able to capitalise on Ivorian and Burkinabe hospitality. MODEL emerged from LURD, but enjoyed Ivorian support and bases. Interestingly, it was again Nigeria which stepped in to offer sanctuary to Taylor and so end that period of conflict in 2003. The invasions appear to have been driven by personalities with their vision fixed

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firmly on the Executive Mansion, a fact that contributes significantly to at least the timing and methods of the invading forces. Taylor’s economic motivations were a subset of his political ambitions, and despite the presence in the ranks of significant numbers of Sierra Leonean mercenaries, the rationale of the LURD leadership seems even less to have been primarily of an economic nature. Their war appeared to be propagated with the sole aim of removing Taylor, a goal that they achieved in a considerably shorter period than most imagined. Again, it is the fertile recruiting ground that underpins these ventures.

Conclusions Yet again, the window of opportunity for both invasions was created by the convergence of internal crisis, outside assistance, and those with the motivation and enough support to implement the plot. The Doe and Taylor regimes had supplied the unstable political, economic, social and military environments, which were built on, but had not in any way improved on, the extreme form of centralised, restricted, aloof and patron-client methodology practised by the many AmericoLiberian governments. Although there have been arguments relating the outbreak of conflict to a collapse in deference and respect for the hierarchy, and of a breakdown in religious authority, both explanations are underpinned by a society tested to its limits.43 In these deteriorating environments, a rebellion was probable, and equally likely to attract support and conceivably to succeed. The NPFL was indeed successful in gathering support, and quickly reached the outskirts of Monrovia; it was equally dominant later in its political mode. However, the NPFL, despite or perhaps because of Taylor’s presidential obsessions, and the other 1989–96 factions were quickly led into a familiar pattern of civilian abuse and predatory appropriation, similar to that of the RUF over the border. In spite of the brutal reputation and the defection or elimination of top-ranking officials, Taylor and the NPFL entered the first post-war political phase with considerable political, financial, security and personnel resources, and a relatively coherent political organisation.

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In the second civil war, LURD and particularly MODEL were also highly successful rebel organisations. Within four years LURD had entered government, from a very inauspicious start; and the rise of MODEL, from an ethnic splinter group of LURD to a force commanding large swathes of southern Liberia and in a matter of months negotiating as many government positions as LURD and the NPP, had much to do with timing, but was nonetheless remarkable. Both organisations commanded some level of support in their sectors, and neither was as abusive as the NPFL or RUF. The existence, however, of groups of conflict-experienced, abused or desperate youth in this corner of West Africa suggests that even a serious rebel organisation will now have extreme difficulties over the long term in maintaining any semblance of order over those nominally under its jurisdiction. Probably most important, both groups benefited greatly from Taylor’s sponsorship of violence in Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire and from the international pressure applied to him, all of which – accompanied by their military gains – finally squeezed him out of office in 2003. LURD and MODEL did not last long in the post-conflict world, although they achieved their first, and possibly only, political goal of removing Taylor and putting themselves in his place.

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CHAPTER 6 LIBER IA – THE 1997 AND 2005 ELECTIONS

The nature of the peace and the parties Peace agreements specifying elections predated both the 1997 and 2005 polls in Liberia, but there were crucial differences in their immediate histories. In 1996, after seven years of civil war and 13 aborted peace deals, there emerged through the Abuja II talks in August that year a political climate in which peace could hold and elections could feasibly take place. There was only a limited preparation period, there were many displaced people and the security environment was a long way from watertight, but on the other hand there was a relatively stable coalition government, inclusive of rebel leaders, and a predominantly Nigerian peacekeeping force that would stay for the polls and then make its exit, as required by the Nigerian government. Charles Taylor, however, dominated the political environment. By contrast, the NTGL established by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) after Taylor’s departure into exile in 2003 and the cessation of hostilities was a politically broad entity with no dominant faction. Security was provided by a large UN force, and the coalition government was given a timescale of two years, double the time allowed in 1996. In each case, in harmony with post-Cold War trends, the coalitions were only intended as temporary, in preparation for elections which would decide the future leaders.

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The 1997 election This result of the 1997 election was a landslide 75 per cent for Taylor and the NPP, but, as in 1985, there were a considerable number of questions raised as to its validity.1 First, there is little doubt that, despite all-party agreement on the electoral rules, some of these played into Taylor’s hands. The compressed electoral timetable and the short and chaotic registration period most likely benefited the NPP, with its greater organisation and established structures. Although the original date for the polls, set for 30 May 1997, was subsequently postponed to 19 July – the timetable was found to be far too exacting – the period of just one year from the cessation of conflict played into the hands of the better-organised NPP, while its armed wing, the NPFL, maintained control over many rural areas. The impact of the absence from the poll of probably half a million refugees is extremely difficult to judge, when even the total estimates differed so wildly. Even though this represents some 250,000 voters (compared to the 622,000 who took part – some 17 per cent fewer than 1985) and many of those who fled and did not return were probably those who found Taylor’s rule particularly hard to bear, it certainly could not be concluded that all the refugees, coming from different parts of the country, would have voted against Taylor or that their exclusion was by him. Logistics, expense, the desire to complete an election sooner rather than later and the reluctance of Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire to allow voting in the refugee camps, were more likely factors that excluded the refugee population who were unwilling or unable to return. A final point on the rules concerns the adoption of a single nationwide ballot for presidential and legislative elections. This may have significantly favoured Taylor in that it removed the possibility of, for instance, voting Taylor for president and a rival party for the legislature. It is conceivable that this was the electoral rule with one of the greatest long-term effects, a point which is further discussed below. Several defeated candidates made vociferous accusations of rigging and cheating. It is questionable, though, whether this affected the final result to any great extent. Despite the fact that NPP resources could take their message much further afield, with greater inducements and

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a certain amount of intimidation, this cannot indubitably be presented as a decisive factor. First, there is the fact that such obstacles have been surmounted in several other African countries, but more importantly, unfair advantages had effectively been overcome in Liberia on a previous occasion. In the 1985 election, Samuel Doe employed the extensive use of government funds and media, let alone the banning of political parties, the incarceration of politicians, harassment of civil servants and state violence towards the electorate. He had still, however, to resort to a secret and almost certainly fraudulent count by a handpicked committee to secure victory. It is also likely that irregularities marred the registration, the campaign and the voting, judging by the quantity of allegations, even if few of them were corroborated. There are certainly reasons why Tom Ikimi, the Nigerian foreign minister – who exercised a great deal of control over the running of the elections – should wish for a swift Taylor victory. However, it is important to note the near absence of certain types of irregularity. The campaign was marred by relatively little violence, especially considering the only recent conclusion of the civil war. Any fraud and intimidation on polling day is most likely to have had the greatest effect in remoter areas, the former NPFL heartland or where there were fewer international and party observers. The three counties of Montserrado, Margibi and Bomi are small, immediately accessible to Monrovia, significantly urbanised and were more heavily monitored by independent and party political observers. They also registered 44 per cent of all votes cast. Here, NPP rigging is least plausible, yet Taylor polled 55, 92 and 86 per cent respectively (61 per cent over all three areas). It is impossible to come to any absolute conclusions concerning the free and fair qualities of this election. However, it would seem most likely that a combination of electoral rules, a grossly uneven playing field and a number of irregularities, particularly during the registration period, did indeed alter the vote – but not enough to transform over 75 per cent into less than 50 per cent, which would have forced the two-candidate presidential run-off desired by the opposition to Taylor. There were no mass demonstrations or violent incidents after the announcement of the results, as happened, for instance, in Ghana in 1992 or Côte d’Ivoire in 2001. The turnout, 83 per cent of those

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80.7

74.8 90.8 90.8

0.6 0.1 0.5 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.2 0.3 5.5 0.4 0.2 2.7 4.0 2.0 17.2 1.2 1.3 69.3 92.0 94.1 1.8 0.5 0.5 0.7 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.9 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.5 0.1 0.4 51943 33665 15506 81.5

0.4 0.5 0.5 1.4 21.9 4.5 55.2 4.7 0.3 1.0 5.1 1.5 3.0 228251 88.1

0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 1.9 96.5 0.8 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.1 89663 83.6

0.6 0.2 0.4 0.4 4.9 0.9 78.3 1.2 0.9 0.3 10.8 0.2 0.7 6871 87.1

0.4 0.3 0.7 0.3 14.4 1.1 50.1 8.0 0.7 0.4 8.9 3.8 10.8 12867 82.8

2142 2965 2016 6708 59557 25059 468443 15969 2067 3497 15604 7843 10010 621880

26

– – – – 3 2 21 – – – – – –

64

– – – – 7 3 49 2 – – 2 – 1

IN

62.9

0.7 0.3 0.4 0.5 2.5 0.7 72.3 2.0 0.7 9.0 1.2 0.2 9.6 8152

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81.3

0.7 0.3 0.3 0.1 1.7 1.0 55.0 3.4 0.3 0.5 0.7 35.1 0.8 9732

AND

82.3

0.8 7.4 0.7 0.4 7.5 3.6 74.0 2.8 0.7 0.2 0.5 0.7 0.8 17384

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Source: Elections Commission, Monrovia

84.3

86.6

0.4 0.1 0.2 0.1 2.1 1.0 92.2 0.7 0.3 0.1 2.3 0.1 0.4 42562

0.3 0.5 0.3 1.1 9.6 4.0 75.3 2.6 0.3 0.6 2.5 1.3 1.6 100

0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 1.0 1.9 95.7 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.2 92273

PPP NRP FDP LINU UP ALCOP NPP Alliance RAP PDPL UPP NDPL LPP Total votes % turnout

0.8 0.3 0.4 0.5 4.0 4.7 86.4 0.9 0.4 0.2 0.4 0.4 0.6 13011

% Seats Seats (Sen) (Hse)

Party Bomi Bong Grand Cape Grand Grand Lofa Mar- Mary- Mont- Nimba River Sinoe Total Bassa Mount Gedeh Kru gibi land serrado Cess votes

Table 9 (Liberia) 1997 election results by county (% voting for political parties), with distribution of party seats in the Senate and House of Representatives

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Table 10 (Liberia) Parties and candidates in order of appearance on the ballot papers Party

Candidate

PPP (Progressive People’s Party) NRP (National Reformation Party) FDP (Free Democratic Party) LINU (Liberia National Union) UP (Unity Party) ALCOP (All Liberian Coalition Party) NPP (National Patriotic Party) Alliance RAP (Reformation Alliance Party) PDPL (People’s Democratic Party of Liberia) UPP (United People’s Party) NDPL (National Democratic Party of Liberia) LPP (Liberian People’s Party)

Chea Cheapoo Martin Sherif Dr George Toe Washington Dr Harry Moniba Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Alhaji G.V. Kromah* Charles Ghankay Taylor** Cletus Wotorson Dr Henry Boima Fahnbulleh Fayah Sahr Gbolie Gabriel Bacchus Matthews Dr George Boley*** Dr Togba-Nah Tipoteh

* Former head of ULIMO-K ** Former head of NPFL *** Former head of LPC

registered, was high. For whatever reason, the Liberian public had responded to the election and accepted the result. Instead, commentators have emphasised a Liberian vote for peace to explain the results.2 The opinion that fear of pre-election violence and a post-election return to conflict in the event of a Taylor electoral defeat motivated voters to place their cross against Taylor is a popular one. A resumption of conflict was a possibility, as had been demonstrated by Jonas Savimbi and UNITA after the observer-verified Angolan elections just five years earlier. Savimbi’s presidential obsessions would have appeared uncomfortably reminiscent of Taylor’s, and the NPFL was far from fully demobilised or disarmed. Despite an ECOMOG grasp on the security situation firmer than that of the UN in Angola, General Malu’s assurances that no force could stand up to the ‘peacekeepers’ looked far from watertight. Probably more importantly, it was only Taylor and the NPP who looked likely to control a deteriorating security situation at the point when the outside world lost what little interest it had managed to muster.3 A Tubmanburg

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resident poignantly compared Liberia to neighbouring Sierra Leone ‘where they put a guy in charge who knows nothing about the gun’, referring to the travails of President Kabbah.4 Taylor played on the idea that he should be the one to repair the damage caused by the war. A comment often heard went along the lines of ‘He who spoil it, let him fix it’, which acknowledged, at one and the same time, Taylor’s guilt and his ability to atone. It seems likely that Taylor was not just referring to the repair of the physical world, but also that of the spiritual. The importance of Poro and Sande religious societies continues in Liberia, and many would have interpreted the war in terms of disturbances in the spirit world.5 Taylor may well have been seen as the strong leader required to reconstitute these societies so that they might once again play a pacifying role between the spirit and physical worlds. Taylor’s adopted name, Dahkpannah (or Jarkpana), indicates a rank at the very top of Poro society. Other civilian and military leaders probably lost their best chance when the Alliance broke apart in acrimony several months before the election. In isolation, each of the parties appealed to small ethnic or urban sectors of the population, and was seen as considerably weaker as a result. Alhaji Kromah (ALCOP) and George Boley (NDPL) fronted ethnically-based Mandingo and Krahn parties, founded on smaller groups who were two of the main beneficiaries of the Doe regime. Both accrued the vast majority of their votes in just two counties, Boley securing nearly 90 per cent of his total in Grand Gedeh, the Krahn homeland, and Montserrado, with its large numbers of displaced people. Of their total votes, Johnson-Sirleaf (UP) and Matthews (UPP) drew only 16 and 25 per cent respectively from the predominantly rural areas outside Montserrado, where nearly two-thirds of the registered electorate resided. The possibility of a successful civilian candidate standing up to Taylor or ensuring security in post-war Liberia was not helped by the personalities available and the recent record of civilians in power. The manipulation of the LNTG chair, Wilton Sankawulo, by the heads of warring factions, particularly Taylor, set an ominous precedent, as did the inability of Amos Sawyer to accomplish much of significance when heading the IGNU (Interim Government of National Unity). Equally the

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other armed, semi-demobilised factions were lightweight compared to Taylor’s. Although ideology was never an issue, it was suggested by some that Liberians’ view of Taylor was not quite that of most of the international press.6 Far from being a brutal warlord, he was seen by many Liberians as the liberator of Liberia from the undoubtedly violent, predatory and deeply unpopular regime of Doe. It is certainly true that Taylor initiated a multi-ethnic rebellion against the despised Doe regime. However, Taylor’s ‘government’ was a controlled commercial empire, within which there is little evidence to support claims of social welfare, beyond international agencies and narrow patronage networks. NPFL targeting of Krahn and Mandingo in the early stages soon gave way to systematic looting and arbitrary violence. The NPFL was conceivably better disciplined than ULIMO or LPC, and large core zones of NPFL territory were unaffected by war between 1990 and 1994. A farmer in Tubmanburg, a town reduced to rubble in fighting between ULIMO factions, was quoted as saying: ‘When Taylor was in charge here . . . I could farm and do whatever I wanted without intimidation.’7 On the other hand, NPFL territory may well have constituted core zones between 1990 and 1994, but even Gbarnga was overrun in the latter year, leaving only northern Nimba County unaffected. Much of ‘Greater Liberia’ became contested, with the consequent suffering of civilians. One scholar estimates that by March 1995 both Bong and Nimba Counties had lost half of their pre-war population, suggesting a far from secure region.8 However, Taylor had a significant base of popular support in Nimba – whence his deputy, Enoch Dogolea, originated – and Bong Counties, primarily amongst the Gio and Mano, who compose about 16 per cent of the Liberian population; and from others who had benefited from the Taylor regime. The NPP collected over 95 per cent of the vote in both these counties. Above all, and despite his image as a warlord, Taylor was certainly charismatic and eloquent, looked the part of president, ran a wellorganised, clever campaign and was particularly able and well-placed to use his advantages. Surrounding him were capable and experienced political organisers: stalwarts such as Cyril Allen and Moses Blah, and other elite Liberians, newly recruited locally or from the diaspora.

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Taylor always looked more likely to win than any other candidate. By the time of the election, he had long since adopted the look of a president, and it was widely perceived that he would stop at nothing to achieve the reality. His determination during seven years of conflict, when at times he looked close to total defeat, is self-evident. In terms of post-election distribution of benefits, it probably seemed better to be inside rather than outside the winning coalition. Taylor had earned an international reputation as a brutal warlord, but was probably seen as the only candidate who could feasibly enforce peace after a seven-year civil war. Whilst the presence of ECOMOG regional peacekeeping troops and international electoral assistance allowed the elections to be conducted, progress towards demobilisation of ex-combatants and the passing of territorial control from rebel forces to central administration was far from developed. The opposition parties suffered not just from their inability to campaign where Taylor was the effective incumbent – and deployed commensurate resources – but were also probably perceived by the electorate as second-rate. There are certainly some comparisons to be made with the elections in Sierra Leone five years later, although Taylor’s methods were somewhat less subtle. Further, the skewed and rushed electoral process gave Taylor and the NPP 75 per cent of the vote and a virtual carte blanche in power. There was little civilian political opposition in Liberia after the elections. This was not just a result of cooption, harassment, exiling and worse by Taylor’s regime, but also derived from the electoral rules and timetable and the lack of political and financial resources available to the opposition. As noted above, no opportunity was given for voters to balance their voting intentions, to give the opposition some power in the legislature, or to vote differently at a local level. Given its 75 per cent of the vote, the NPP was awarded 49 out of 64 seats in the House of Representatives, and 21 out of 26 in the Senate; and it is clearly easier to harass or co-opt a smaller opposition. There was no widening of the elite in Liberia, except by cooption. Conversely, the old guard at various points returned to join the ranks of Taylor loyalists. At the same time, there were many who were forced into exile or who lived at the volatile edges of Liberian territory and society with

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the motivation to initiate further rebellion. It was no surprise when conflict once again broke out. The 2005 elections In several ways, this was the post-conflict election that broke the mould, but not just in that a woman, Johnson-Sirleaf, won the presidential race and a football star, George Weah, came second.9 A remarkable aspect of the process was the almost unprecedented and virtually complete disappearance of the rebel forces in the political process. Neither LURD nor MODEL survived into the political arena. Both officially ceased to exist at the end of October 2004. Conneh, the former LURD leader, did resurface as a presidential candidate at the head of his own party, but the challenge was largely ineffectual and his estranged wife and effective former co-leader, Aisha, threw her support behind Johnson-Sirleaf and the UP. MODEL appears to belong only to history. Some ex-combatants rallied behind other parties, such as Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and Kromah’s ALCOP. Rebel generals and leaders of insurgent forces, with rather fragile structures and limited, potentially ethnically-bounded electoral constituencies, seemed to have been satisfied with unseating Taylor, and finding lucrative avenues in the NTGL and in business to pursue. At the same time, the erstwhile rebel and government party, NPP, underwent its own transformation, in that it recovered, to some degree, from the loss of its leader into exile in 2003 and the further defection of some of its leading partisans to other parties. It was, however, nothing approaching the force that it had been before. Crucially, Liberia also approached these elections largely in the absence of an incumbent. Most African post-conflict polls – indeed, most elections in Africa – are undertaken in the shadow of an overbearing incumbent presence. Neither was there an actor who would be able to dominate the fragile security terrain, as Taylor had done in 1997. There were individuals within the NTGL, some of whom were disbarred in the CPA from standing for election, who nonetheless gave considerable backing to certain parties. The re-emergence of the Liberian political elite from various eras and in a variety of guises also

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had a significant impact. There was not, however, the overwhelming force of government machinery behind one particular party. As a consequence, the political field remained remarkably open. It is probably partly as a result of this second factor that the party loyalty of the electorate proved to be so unusually fragile. The designated campaign period commenced on 15 August, with some minor skirmishes in Monrovia, which did not recur until after the two elections. The lack of violence could be explained by the disappearance of combatant forces, if not all of the combatants, the absence of an incumbent, the reasonably open field, and the presence of 15,000 UN peacekeepers. The largely cordial atmosphere that existed between parties is more difficult to account for. It is true that there was no love lost between Johnson-Sirleaf and Varney Sherman, and that there were vitriolic verbal exchanges in speech and in print.10 Sherman’s accusation that Johnson-Sirleaf had ‘paid for the destruction of Liberia’ refers to her initial support for Taylor’s invasion, but phrased as such was an allegation of much greater involvement and a sharp personal attack on her honesty.11 Equally, Weah repeatedly felt obliged to urge restraint on his young CDC partisans. However, particularly outside the capital, inter-party relations flourished.12 In Weala, Margibi County, the author interviewed the District 1 Co-Chair of the Liberty Party (LP) and the District 1 Chair of UP together, in the presence of a member of the Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia (COTOL), in the LP office, moments after an NPP vehicle had stopped and campaigned loudly immediately outside. In an understatement of some proportion, the LP Co-Chair went on to describe party relations in the district as ‘cordial’.13 There were plenty of other examples, even in Jacob Town on the outskirts of Monrovia, where a few months before there had been bouts of intercommunal violence. The Montserrado County District 7 Coordinator for the predominantly Mandingo party, ALCOP, could point to no problems in campaigning.14 This could be seen as a positive sign in favour of a peaceful future, and contrasts sharply with the skirmishes and violence in Sierra Leonean elections. However, even at this stage, there were clear indications that the electorate and even party officials

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were not viewing political parties with the importance attached to them in other African states, and elsewhere. The lack of an incumbent did not stop the flow of government resources into the hands of aspirants. Importantly, however, there appeared to be a multiplicity of recipients. COTOL, whose mainstay, the Liberian Action Party (LAP), enjoyed the NTGL chair as a member, and whose standard bearer, Sherman, was instrumental as the leading lawyer in the hasty and lucrative signing of important NTGL deals, was suspected of benefiting the most. The party’s office in the Margibi County seat, Kakata, was indeed stacked high with bags of rice during the author’s visit, which also included an encounter with E.C.B. Jones, the NTGL Minister of Rural Planning, who by his own admission was campaigning for COTOL.15 The distribution of money and rice at rallies was conspicuous, as was the abuse of government vehicles for campaigning. At the end of the CDC rally at the Fairground in the Grand Bassa County seat, Buchanan, while American dollars were being distributed from Weah’s departing convoy, it appears that one man seized a wad of bills amounting to several hundred dollars. A chase ensued and violence was extremely close to the surface until the man was frogmarched into police custody and Nepalese UN police arrived as reinforcement.16 There were, at the same time, many other parties and independent candidates who were able to use government funds and resources at a national and local level.17 Consistent evidence emerged in Margibi County of House and Senate candidates using government vehicles, and in one case a UN vehicle, to campaign. Tellingly, the evidence, including registration numbers, pointed towards the involvement of four different political parties: the NPP, LP, CDC and even a smaller party, the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD).18 This was, in effect, a relatively level playing field of corrupt resources. Little separated the parties in terms of their political platforms. Poorly articulated desires for good governance, development and reconciliation were standard fare. This does not, however, indicate a complete absence of difference, as candidates appealed to diverse constituencies (detailed below). The standard bearers of all the major parties were able to tour much of the country, although some parties, such as CDC, UP and COTOL, were clearly better resourced

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than others, and origins of funding were opaque. It is still unclear whether the Asset and Campaign Finance declarations have any effect. Party efforts were also focused on the central corridor of Montserrado, Margibi, Grand Bassa, Bong and Nimba Counties where 75 per cent of the electorate were registered, and party machinery was heavily centralised in Monrovia. Offices of smaller parties were virtually bare in the county seats, and at district level this was the case for all parties. The author heard many complaints of lack of headquarters support.19 The attack on the negligence of party headquarters by the LP Chair for Montserrado District 8, standing in an entirely empty office just a few kilometres from central Monrovia, was particularly vociferous, but not atypical.20 As in most African elections, it was the radio, not the multitude of newspapers of variable quality that barely made it out of Monrovia, which was most important. There were many radio stations in Monrovia and most of the provincial capitals, whose coverage ranged from the very local to almost nationwide. UNMIL, Star and Veritas were internationally sponsored, and seen as reasonably objective, whereas some, like Weah’s Kings FM, were clearly partisan. Interestingly, sizeable polls were conducted in four counties by the newspaper Poll Watch.21 International election observers included long-term missions by the Carter Center and EU, and short-term delegations from the African Union, ECOWAS and the institutes of the two main US political parties. Some long-term and then much larger-scale domestic observation on election day was conducted by the coalition National Committee for Elections Monitoring (NACEM). No doubt, this was by far the freest and fairest election that Liberia has ever seen. Despite some claims, such as an alleged familial relationship between Johnson-Sirleaf and the chair of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Frances Johnson-Morris, the NEC demonstrated an impartiality that would be the envy of most African states. A reasonable timeframe of two years was allowed for election preparation, although some, including a former Liberian interim head of state, suggested that this was not nearly long enough.22 There were certainly considerable climatic and administrative problems, and there were also some difficulties in the relationship with UNMIL’s better-resourced

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electoral division. The feuds between the Grand Bassa County Magistrate and the UNMIL Chief Electoral Officer for the County were heated and prolonged, leading to turf wars, considerable delays and erratic counting procedures.23 The timing of the elections at the end of the rainy season, when bad roads are rendered considerably worse, was dictated by tradition rather than practicalities. Outside the main highways from Monrovia to Gbarnga, Tubmanburg and Buchanan, main roads were in a terrible condition and smaller roads often impassable. The only land route from the capital and the west of the country to the southeast, particularly the counties of River Gee, Sinoe, Grand Kru and Maryland, was regularly cut, including the days before the first round.24 Travelling in Gbarpolu and Lofa Counties in the northwest was very difficult. Each county had lists of ‘inaccessible areas’ to which ballot material was often carried by porters in a journey of several days. It is also a concern that in the future the NEC will be on its own, and there may be those who are more eager to jump through the gaps in the administration. Few, however, accused the NEC of partisanship, with the notable exception of LP in the first round and CDC in the run-off. The complaint lodged by LP concerned assistance given by presiding officers to illiterate voters, the counting of the votes and the reporting of the counts, particularly in Grand Bassa, and suggested that ‘serious irregularities, bordering fraud’ had taken place.25 Although the tallying process in Grand Bassa was indeed slow and confused, for reasons given above, and some of the specific allegations may hold some truth, indications of fraud are not readily available. LP’s assertion that NEC withheld the Grand Bassa results for days before reporting them to the public is certainly untrue.26 CDC contested the run-off results alleging wholesale fraud, presenting a host of small discrepancies at various polling stations.27 Despite both complaints, neither of which could justify claims of systematic abuse, all international and domestic observers saw the processes as fair, and it can safely be assumed that the declared results are a reasonable reflection of the votes cast. NEC’s handling of the Supreme Court cases concerning disqualified candidates and Senate voting, however, left much to be desired. Contingency plans in case of a ruling against NEC were not in place.

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Though the change from voting for one to two Senators was in the end handled relatively well in a short space of time, a costly delay to the elections was only narrowly avoided when the guarantors of the CPA, the International Contact Group (ICG), persuaded independent candidates who had won their case to withdraw from the race. The suspicion that the ICG would have attempted to overturn the Supreme Court ruling if the independent candidates had not withdrawn raised concerns over sovereignty and the future credibility of the Supreme Court, particularly when other electoral complaints arose. Other issues point to a certain level of disenfranchisement. The 1.35 million registered voters did not include the estimated 300,000400,000 refugees, perhaps 150,000 voters. Further, more than 25,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) lost their votes for Senate and House of Representatives, due to registering in their home counties and not subsequently being repatriated in time. IDPs in this situation only benefited from a late decision to allow them to vote in the camps, though only for president and vice president. Nationwide turnout for the 11 October first round was not unimpressive at 74.8 per cent, but comparatively low for an African post-conflict election. The range of turnouts from 62 per cent in Lofa and 67 per cent in Gbarpolu and River Cess to 79 per cent in Montserrado suggests that accessibility in the rainy season was one factor. It is also conceivable that after two years of relative peace and with no candidate perceived as being in a better position than any other to ensure a peaceful outcome, or indeed as offering much difference in their vision of the future, the importance of the election slipped. Turnout fell further to 61 per cent for the run-off. By contrast, the revitalised House and Senate electoral system was a dramatic improvement on the combined nationwide proportional representation (PR) system employed in 1997. The opportunity to choose local representatives and senators, an option denied in 1997, enabled voters to select candidates from three different parties for the three available positions, a chance that in all probability many subsequently took. Remarkably, almost exactly 50 per cent of registered voters were female. Finally, despite complicated ballot papers,

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the number of invalid votes – amounting to only 3.8 per cent of the total cast – was relatively low. Difficulty in knowing how to vote, and allegedly in some cases who to vote for, was often handled in the first round by Presiding Officers at the polling stations, even though this to some extent compromised the secrecy of the ballot. In spite of a directive to Presiding Officers forbidding them to assist voters in the run-off, the number of invalid votes fell to 2.4 per cent, largely because of the simplicity of the new ballot, which contained just two candidates. There are discernable patterns in the 2005 first-round voting, which suggest that a range of rationales was applied when marking the various ballots.28 In the first presidential poll, Weah emerged ahead with 28 per cent of the vote, by achieving first or second place in all counties except Margibi, where he came third by just 277 votes, and Lofa. Weah also took almost the entire eastern half of the country, including Grand Gedeh with 88 per cent of the votes cast, Grand Kru and River Gee with around 50 per cent, and Sinoe and Nimba, and came second to Winston Tubman in Maryland by just 542 votes. He also captured Montserrado. However, in all but Montserrado, the vote went for Weah but hardly at all for CDC. Johnson-Sirleaf, second placed in 1997, polled 20 per cent of the national vote and enhanced the regional aspect by winning in much of the west of the country including her home county, Bomi, Gbarpolu, Margibi and Lofa, the home of her running-mate, and coming a reasonable second in Montserrado. The UP, though, emerged with little from these counties, taking just two House seats and a single Senate seat in the four counties where Johnson-Sirleaf won. Charles Brumskine also took the smaller regional block of the central seaboard counties of Grand Bassa, with 58 per cent of the vote, and River Cess with 46 per cent, and came second in Margibi. His party, LP, did manage to perform reasonably well as a party in this region. Brumskine came third nationwide with 14 per cent of the vote. Tubman took 9 per cent of the presidential vote and emerged ahead in Maryland, his home county, and Bong, that of his running mate. Sherman secured Grand Cape Mount and came fifth, with 8 per cent nationwide.

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Table 11 (Liberia) Results of the 2005 first-round presidential election (11 October) Candidates: Presidential; Vice-Presidential

Political Party

Votes

%

Weah, George Manneh; Johnson, J. Rudolph Johnson-Sirleaf, Ellen; Boakai, Joseph Nyuma Brumskine, Charles Walker; Ward, Amelia Angeline Tubman, Winston A.; Sulunteh, Jeremiah Congbeh Sherman, Harry Varney G.-N.; Fania, John Kollehlon Massaquoi, Roland Chris Y.; Paygai, Q. Somah, Sr. Korto, Joseph D.Z.; Barclay, James Kollie, Jr. Kromah, Alhaji G.V.; Russell, Emmanuel Mac, Sr. Tipoteh, Togba-Nah; Dahn, Marcus S.G. Tubman, William V.S.; Williams, Garlo Isaac Morlu, John Sembe; Demen, Joseph Omaxline Barnes, Milton Nathaniel; Harris, Parleh Dargbeh Tor-Thompson, Margaret J.; Marsh, J. Rudolph, Sr. Woah-Tee, Joseph Mamadee; Broh, I. Samuel Washington Conneh, Sekou Damate; Sali, Edward Yarkpawolo Farhat, David M.; Gbollie, Saah Ciapha Kieh, George Klay, Jr.; Tokpa, Alaric Kormu Jallah, Armah Zolu; Sammy, Isaac G., Sr. Kpoto, Robert Momo; Singbe, Sylvester Bondo

Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Unity Party (UP)

275,265

28.3

192,326

19.8

Liberty Party (LP)

135,093

13.9

89,623

9.2

76,403

7.8

40,361

4.1

31,814

3.3

27,141

2.8

22,766

2.3

15,115

1.6

12,068

1.2

9,325

1.0

8,418

0.9

5,948

0.6

Progressive Democratic Party 5,499 (PRODEM) Free Democratic Party 4,497 (FDP) New Deal Movement 4,476 (NDM) National Party of Liberia 3,837 (NPL) Union of Liberian 3,825 Democrats (ULD)

0.6

National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) Coalition for Transformation of Liberia (COTOL) National Patriotic Party (NPP) Liberia Equal Rights Party (LERP) All Liberian Coalition Party (ALCOP) Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD) Reformed United Liberia Party (RULP) United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Liberia Destiny Party (LDP) Freedom Alliance Party of Liberia (FAPL) Labor Party of Liberia (LPL)

0.5 0.5 0.4 0.4 continued

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Table 11 (Liberia) Results of the 2005 first-round presidential election (11 October) Candidates: Presidential; Political Party Votes % Vice-Presidential Kiadii, George Momodu; McGill, Washington Shadrack Divine, Samuel Raymond, Sr.; Mamu, Jacob Gbanalagaye, Sr. Reeves, Alfred Garpee; Sherif, Martin Mohammed N. Total Valid Votes

National Vision Party of Liberia (NATVIPOL) Independent

3,646

0.4

3,188

0.3

National Reformation Party 3,156 (NRP) (Invalid votes (38,883) 973,790 account for 3.8% of total votes)

0.3 100

A number of inter-connected issues worked to produce these results. The political and commercial records of the presidential aspirants were often raised during the campaign period. While Johnson-Sirleaf emphasised her reputation, memorably in one superimposed poster of 1985 and 2005, as one who has stood up to successive repressive regimes, she also served in a government with a questionable record in the 1970s and was set back by public accusations of a much greater involvement in the first civil war than she has admitted.29 Sherman has represented wealthy corporates, politicians and the NTGL as a lawyer, and Brumskine acted as the NPFL’s lawyer and served as president pro tempore of the Senate for two years after 1997, although he claimed to have fallen out with Taylor on a matter of principle. Tubman could point to his UN credentials, most recently in Somalia. In contrast, Weah is an international football legend with no experience of any sort in politics and comparatively little education, ‘qualities’ which were painted as an advantage or a disadvantage depending on the commentator. He could justifiably claim that he had played no part in the discredited governments of the past, even if many of those who surrounded him could not. His use of the slogan, Amandla, was a clear attempt to incorporate the emancipatory kudos of the ANC in South Africa. As a very successful footballer, Weah was also an inspiration to many youths. His financial support for the national team was

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12.6 9.7 3.6 1.1 62.8 1.9 0.2 0.7 0.3 25,998

88.3 2.3 1.4 1.8 1.1 0.1 0.1 1.1 0.1 22,840

50.5 7.5 5.8 4.5 8.8 0.7 0.2 0.2 16.2 14,009

4.9 25.9 4.2 4.7 7.6 7.3 0.3 17.8 0.5 50,893

17.6 29.3 24.0 16.5 18.0 5.5 15.8 31.3 3.7 5.1 8.6 0.4 0.3 0.2 1.1 0.3 0.3 0.9 68,296 26,593

37.4 29.9 12.2 2.7 4.8 2.5 0.2 3.6 1.7 370,725

23.8 5.8 13.2 3.7 14.6 7.3 21.9 0.6 3.1 137,181

27.1 13.5 46.0 1.3 2.6 1.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 11,976

49.9 17.1 6.0 4.0 10.5 0.5 0.2 0.3 5.5 15,196

45.5 7.8 2.0 0.7 1.8 0.4 0.1 0.2 38.1 19,622

AND

17.4 6.1 58.0 4.2 2.6 0.8 0.2 0.3 0.2 66,337

Bomi Bong Gbar- Grand Grand Grand Grand Lofa Mar- Mary- Mont- Nimba River River Sinoe polu Bassa Cape Gedeh Kru gibi land serrado Cess Gee Mount

(Liberia) 2005 first-round presidential election results of the top nine polling candidates by county (%, winner

CIVIL WAR

Weah 24.8 10.7 15.4 J.-Sirleaf 33.9 10.1 43.1 Brumskine 3.4 6.7 3.3 Tubman 11.2 42.2 10.6 Sherman 10.0 5.0 9.1 Massaquoi 1.9 9.1 0.9 Korto 0.2 0.4 0.3 Kromah 2.7 1.3 1.3 Tipoteh 0.3 0.5 0.3 Total votes 26,907 102,607 14,610

Table 12 in bold)

170 DEMOCR ACY IN

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seen as patriotic and public-spirited, and is similar to Taylor’s albeit far more politically motivated assistance in 1997. Another slogan, ‘9+14 = 23’, referred to his shirt numbers for AC Milan and the Liberian national team and the forthcoming 23rd president of Liberia. Sherman and Weah, in particular, were often seen as having made money, and so not in need of more. The high levels of funding to which Sherman and Weah were perceived to have access also augmented their status as grand patrons, although Sherman’s apparently greater access to government resources did not translate into many votes beyond his stronghold of Grand Cape Mount. Brumskine made a determined effort to use the churches for mobilisation, while the NPP rural political-party network remained somewhat intact. Regional patterns stand out, but overwhelming home-county victories by Brumskine in Grand Bassa and Sherman in Grand Cape Mount contributed only so much to a national platform. No ethnic group is larger than the Kpelle, who make up just 20 per cent of the population. The apparent regional element to Weah’s vote is also, to some extent, deceptive. If Weah’s visit to former President Samuel Doe’s home village and Tubman’s rather incongruous leadership of Doe’s party, the NDPL, swung the vote towards Weah in Grand Gedeh, and Weah’s Kru ethnicity augmented his popularity in Grand Kru, these factors would certainly not have boosted his vote in Nimba, although Weah’s lead in the latter was much slimmer. It is interesting that Weah won both Grand Gedeh and Nimba, where animosity from the 1980s and 1990s still ran high. Another significant ethnic cleavage is still the ‘Congo vs country’ divide. While Weah, despite his wealth and long-term residence outside the country, probably benefited from his image as an indigenous man of the people, Tubman is a member of the Americo-Liberian elite, Johnson-Sirleaf was brought up within it, and Brumskine and Sherman are to an extent also associated with it. At the same time, the considerable vote for Johnson-Sirleaf and Tubman suggests that this factor, while important, was just one of many. By contrast, patterns in the House and Senate results suggest that local factors played a much more significant role. The success of the ten independent candidates – seven for the House and three for the

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Senate – is remarkable. Locally renowned independent aspirants, such as Edwin Snowe in the Monrovia suburb of Paynseville, Zoe Pennue in Grand Gedeh and Ronald Mitchell in River Cess for the House, and Prince Johnson in Nimba and Franklin Siakor in Bong for the Senate, achieved significant victories. Most of these candidates were undoubtedly local patrons, in particular Snowe who headed the LPRC – his name and face could be seen on most stationary objects on Paynesville’s main road, and on a huge high-quality banner at the ELWA Junction, through which everyone heading east or northeast from Monrovia had to pass.30 However, Pennue and his father were also prominent in the military of a Grand Gedeh native, former President Doe, and Pennue had been in LURD; he collected 58 per cent of the vote compared to his nearest rival’s 11 per cent.31 Further, Johnson was a military leader in the NPFL invasion, and subsequently tortured and killed Doe, Siakor was well-respected for his many years of community development with DEN-L, and the eloquent Mitchell enjoys his position as the latest in the River Cess Mitchell dynasty. At a Representatives debate, Mitchell was asked searching questions concerning his last 15 years in the USA (amounting to the whole of his adult life), his identity as a Liberian and as a native of River Cess, and allegations about the corrupt behaviour of his father; however, his plans personally to set up a school in the county clearly paid some dividends at the ballot box.32 Of course, many do not view it as incompatible to want a president, senator or representative who is at the same time both a good governor and a good patron. Small parties, who performed poorly in other polls, won in often isolated House and Senate elections, suggesting similar highly local factors. For instance, the New Deal Movement collected just 0.5 per cent in the presidential poll nationwide, but won a House seat in three counties; and the National Reformation Party, which came last in the presidential race with 0.3 per cent of the vote, won a seat in both Senate and House in Gbarpolu. ALCOP and the APD re-emerged as regional players: ALCOP took one seat in the Senate and two in the House, all in Lofa, while the APD – whose foremost party-member, LPP and standard-bearer, Tipoteh, had performed relatively well in Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties in 1997 – won five House and three

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AND

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173

(Liberia) 2005 distribution of party seats in the Senate and Senate 7 4 3 3 3 3 7 30

% 23 13 10 10 10 10 23

Party CDC LP COTOL UP APD NPP Other

House

%

15 9 8 8 5 4 15 64

23 14 12 12 8 6 23

Senate seats, all in the southeast. In all, nationally small parties (those which achieved less than 3 per cent in the presidential poll) claimed 12 seats in the House and five in the Senate. The relative dearth of party loyalty, however, is remarkable, if not entirely unpredicted, and another aspect of the extreme localisation of politics. There were no clean sweeps of presidential, Senate and House elections by any party in any county. As noted above, House and Senate seats only occasionally followed county presidential victories. Neither was there a clean sweep of just the legislative houses in any county by any one party. Further, two counties, Grand Gedeh and Margibi, have members of a different party or an independent for each of their legislative seats. In Grand Cape Mount, COTOL swept the House but NPP took both the Senate seats. Of the larger parties, COTOL and UP representation is spread all around the country. Although CDC gained 12 of the 16 seats in Montserrado, its other six seats are scattered. CDC’s Senate candidates have much smaller margins of victory than its House candidates, suggesting that these victories may be a product of the lack of an opposition block. LP took five of its total of 12 seats in Grand Bassa, but its other seats are thinly spread. The NPP won three of its total of seven seats in Bong, but the other four are far-flung. Surprisingly, the NPP took no seats in Nimba, where the NPFL had invaded in 1989. The party was beaten in the Senate race by two

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1

1 1 1 (NDPL) 1 (Ind) 1 (NRP) 1 (Ind)

1

2 1 (NDPL)

1 1

1

1 (ALCOP)

2

1 (Ind)

1

1

1

2 2

7 4 3 3 3 3 7

1

1

2 1 1 1 (NRP) (NDPL) (NDM)

1

1

4 3

2 (Ind, NDM)

1

1

1

2 (ALCOP)

1 1

1 2 (Ind)

1

1 1 1

2 (Ind)

1

10 1

2 (Ind, NDM)

2 2

1

1 (Ind)

1 1

1 1

1 (UDA)

2

15 9 8 8 5 4 15

IN

1 1

DEMOCR ACY

1

Bomi Bong Gbar- Grand Grand Grand Grand Lofa Margibi Mary- Mont- Nimba River River Sinoe Total polu Bassa Cape Gedeh Kru land serrado Cess Gee (64) Mount

1 1

2

Mar- Mary- Mont- Nimba River River Sinoe Total gibi land serrado Cess Gee (30)

AND

CDC LP COTOL UP APD NPP Other

1

Lofa

CIVIL WAR

Table 15 (Liberia) 2005 Party seats in the House by county

COTOL UP APD CDC LP NPP Other

Bomi Bong Gbar- Grand Grand Grand Grand polu Bassa Cape Gedeh Kru Mount

Table 14 (Liberia) 2005 Party seats in the Senate by county

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of its former military commanders, S. Adolphus Dolo, also known as ‘General Peanut Butter’ and standing for COTOL, and Prince Johnson. Although seats were won for the NPP by the former first lady, Jewel Howard-Taylor – a Senate seat in Bong – and by former deputy police director, Saah Gbollie – a House seat in Margibi – there were more former NPP/NPFL stalwarts gaining seats outside the party. Blamoh Nelson and former Chief Justice Gloria Musu-Scott won Senate seats for APD in Grand Kru and UP in Maryland respectively, and Snowe won his seat in the House as an independent. Taylor’s residual influence appears, at the very least, to have been dispersed. Also interesting was the demise of Doe’s party, the NDPL, who took only one seat, out of its total of three, in its heartland, Grand Gedeh. The selection of Tubman as standard-bearer almost certainly exacerbated or even created this crisis. Finally, a lower position in the NTGL did not guarantee a seat in the new administration, as Sando Johnson, Conmany Wesseh and many others discovered. The result was a Senate and House with different leaders and different main opposition parties. In the 30-member Senate, COTOL led with seven seats, followed by UP with four and NPP, CDC, LP and APD with three each; there were a total of nine parties and three independents in the Senate. In contrast, the 64-member House was led by CDC with 15 seats, followed by LP with nine, COTOL and UP with eight each and APD with five; House membership comprised 11 parties and seven independents. Further, whoever was to win the presidential run-off would not enjoy a majority in either body. If one were to assume that supporters of defeated candidates would heed their leader’s advice, which would indeed be a risky assumption, Johnson-Sirleaf needed more backing than Weah for the 8 November run-off to make up the difference of eight percentage points. This support did not emerge in the interim campaign period from losing presidential runners Tubman, Sherman, Tipoteh, Kromah or Conneh, nor from winning independent legislators such as Pennue and Prince Johnson, all of whom backed Weah. Public declarations for JohnsonSirleaf came from seventh-placed presidential candidate Joseph Korto, Howard-Taylor, Dolo, and Tubman’s running mate Jeremiah Sulunteh, aspirants who all had localised, but limited, support. In the cases of

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Dolo and Sulunteh, who defied their leaders, the fragility of party loyalty was once again placed in stark relief. The biggest target, Brumskine, refused to endorse either candidate publicly. The turn around in fortunes was, in the end, dramatic, JohnsonSirleaf taking 59.4 per cent and Weah 40.6 per cent of the vote. Johnson-Sirleaf held on to the counties in the west, increasing her vote to 76 and 60 per cent in the more populous counties of Margibi and Lofa respectively. Importantly, she took Sherman’s Grand Cape Mount with 62 per cent, Tubman’s Maryland and Bong counties with 55 and 70 per cent respectively, and Brumskine’s Grand Bassa with 67 per cent. Even more crushingly, she overturned Weah’s first-round lead in the two most populous counties of Montserrado, with 54.5 per cent, and Nimba, with a massive 77 per cent. Weah held the south-eastern counties he won in the first round, taking Grand Gedeh with 96 per cent of the vote, but gained only one new county nationwide when he emerged ahead in tiny River Cess by the narrowest of margins.

Table 16 (Liberia) 2005 presidential election (8 November) run-off results by county (%, winner in bold) Bomi

Johnson- 72.8 Sirleaf Weah 27.2 Total 23,476 votes

Bong Gbarpolu

Grand Grand Grand Grand Lofa Bassa Cape Gedeh Kru Mount

70.2

67.0

61.6

33.0 43,627

38.4 96.4 78.3 18,473 22,470 9,655

78.7

29.8 21.3 76,416 12,277

3.6

21.7

60.2 39.8 44,608

Margibi Mary- Mont- Nimba River River Sinoe Total land serrado Cess Gee Johnson- 75.7 Sirleaf Weah 24.3 Total 56,481 votes

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55.1

54.5

77.1

44.9 45.5 22.9 21,127 348,106 97,279

49.2

31.0

13.6

59.4

50.8 7,812

69.0 9,123

86.4 40.6 14,642 805,572

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The endorsements proved to be a fickle indicator, with Korto and Sulunteh seemingly able to deliver for Johnson-Sirleaf, but Sherman, Tubman and Prince Johnson apparently unable to do the same for Weah. More importantly, the contracted field narrowed the number of issues involved in influencing voters’ choice. First, there were still considerable regional factors. Weah’s second-round victories were confined to five sparsely populated south-eastern counties. The about-turn in Nimba, where Johnson-Sirleaf progressed from sixth place, with less than 6 per cent of the first-round vote, to a huge 77 per cent, her second-largest second-round majority, has been attributed to the support of Korto and Dolo, but a full explanation must also include a strong reference to Grand Gedeh. On arriving in Grand Gedeh just before the first round, Weah first visited Doe’s home village of Tuzon for a ceremony before making his appearance at the City Hall in the county seat, Zwedru. In his speech he announced he was a son of Doe, emphasised his debt to Doe for starting him on his career, and said he would do his best for Grand Gedeh.33 These remarks sparked a belated backlash in Nimba, the county that caught the worst of Doe’s repression in the late 1980s. Newspapers alleged that Weah had promised cabinet positions for two Grand Gedeh natives, former army commander Charles Julu and former LURD official, and suspended speaker, George Dweh, while Korto was apparently stopped in Nimba from showing a video allegedly containing Weah’s Zwedru speech.34 Weah’s actions certainly shored up the 88 per cent first-round support in Grand Gedeh and perhaps the county turnout, but he clearly did not consider the effects he might have in the neighbouring county, with a population six times greater, and possibly even further afield. Other shortcomings of Weah’s campaign also began to emerge in the interim period. While Johnson-Sirleaf had enough funds for a helicopter, Weah chose or was restricted to the roads. Suggestions were that too much of Weah’s campaign fund was ‘eaten’ at the top, whereas more of his rival’s money made its way down to the voters. This may indicate a level of political naivety or disorganisation. The increasingly paranoid and potentially dangerous statements emerging from party officials enhance the case for the latter. Weah’s claim of a 62 per cent vote for him in the first round was not only outlandish but

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also subsequently downplayed.35 At a ‘Victory March’ in Monrovia on 5 November, the CDC Campaign Chairman announced that a Weah defeat could only emerge from cheating, that in this event the US Embassy would probably be involved, and that it would not be accepted by the party.36 The gender difference stands out and deserves a brief comment, even if it is not immediately clear that large numbers of female voters voted for Johnson-Sirleaf, or that male voters did not.37 The author’s interviews were inconclusive here. Some women supported specifically male candidates, for example, for reasons of strength, and others specifically women candidates, often because men had failed. There were also a small number of men who intended to vote for a woman because, for example, women are ‘more straightforward’ or because Ruth Perry had succeeded in ‘controlling the warlords’ in 1996–97.38 Johnson-Sirleaf claimed support amongst women in grassroots organisations, but a 50 per cent female electorate delivered just five out of 30 women Senators (17 per cent) and eight out of 64 Representatives (12.5 per cent). Johnson-Sirleaf was also perceived as the favourite of the West, particularly by some CDC cadres.39 She may have benefited from the perception that she would be more in tune with Western aid officials and therefore a larger beneficiary, although this opinion was not often raised. One factor which did not emerge over the interim period was the extent to which CDC had control over its partisans. The main CDC compound in Congo Town on the busy Tubman Boulevard going eastwards out of Monrovia was conspicuous for its size, for the presence of large crowds of young people, including probably a number of ex-combatants, and for being the starting point for several noisy and, on two occasions, hostile rallies.40 The fear of what might happen after a Weah defeat, however, did not urge enough voters to back him. This factor may even have worked the other way, if people did not consider CDC youth to be much of a threat but instead perceived them to be merely a nuisance whose leader should not be in government. In the end, though, the most important factors for the voters were probably either along the ‘Congo-country’ divide, the ‘book, no book’ line, or the political-apolitical choice. Although it certainly cannot be ignored, and it re-emerged strongly in the run-up to the

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elections, too much is made of the settler vs indigenous issue, especially since Johnson-Sirleaf, of mixed ancestry but often seen as part of the Americo-Liberian establishment, won the majority of the country vote. Importantly, Weah probably gained from this distinction, but Johnson-Sirleaf did not significantly lose by it. There is, however, a more important differentiation between Johnson-Sirleaf’s educated, politically experienced image and Weah’s populist and untainted, yet politically unknown persona. Many people heard by the author in the run-up to the first and second rounds argued that Liberia could not have an uneducated president, and many others that educated leaders had all let the country down badly and that it was time for someone more of the people. Tellingly, Prince Johnson appeared at a CDC rally in Sanniquellie, Nimba County, between the elections and engaged the crowd in a question-and-response chant where he named former government officials and the crowd were encouraged to reply, disparagingly ‘PhD’.41 A majority of the electorate, though, who had not chosen either of the two run-off candidates in the first round, had already voted for a ‘book’ person, whether Brumskine, Sherman or Tubman. To a large extent, education remains a prized and revered commodity in Liberia. In some ways, Johnson-Sirleaf ran one of the most political of all campaigns, referring to policy and previous political experience, and Weah conducted one of the least political, in that it focused on his celebrity and his lack of a political past. However, while Weah refused to take part in political debates on the radio and in public, he was at the same time surrounded by people, such as Bacchus Matthews and his running mate, J. Rudolph Johnson, with lengthy and often controversial political pasts. Ultimately, the electorate appeared to buy more into the Johnson-Sirleaf position and delivered Africa’s first elected female president. On 23 November, the NEC announced the final result, but not before the hearings and investigations into CDC’s complaints had been completed. Despite a clean bill of health announced by all international and domestic observers, Weah and CDC maintained that systematic fraud had cheated them of the election. After two sets of disturbances in Monrovia, Weah finally conceded just before Christmas, allowing the elections results to stand without further controversy.

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It seems that, as in Sierra Leone in 1996, the absence of former rebel groups and the lack of an effective incumbent led to a broad parliamentary contest and a close presidential race. The comparison, however, is not exact. Probably the key difference for Liberians, which may affect the long-term prospects of stability, is the manner in which the rebel groups spurned the political process. Whereas the RUF did not take up the electoral challenge and continued fighting in 1996, the leaders of LURD and MODEL appeared to be satisfied with their political and financial gains in 2005, and thus disbanded. This left a civilian field vying for state resources, and produced a remarkably open election, which was largely free of security issues. The crucial issue for Liberians is whether this government can ‘settle the country’, and at least provide a platform for reconciliation and economic recovery.42 Key factors to be addressed are grievances, such as the property issues between Mandingos and Gios and Manos particularly in Nimba County, prospects for ex-combatants and youth in general, an even developmental hand across the country, and the success or otherwise of the heavily interventionist Governance and Economic Management Assistance Programme (GEMAP) and other international participation. All of this is underpinned by the need to rein in the corruption and patronage to a sustainable level, an undertaking that has no precedence in Liberian history. However, while there has so far been no further catastrophe across Liberian borders, and the death of Guinean President Conté in 2008 did not cause immediate regional upheaval, the new government has enjoyed a honeymoon period beyond that of Taylor after 1997 and Kabbah after 2002 in Sierra Leone, in which to address some of the problems. Johnson-Sirleaf brings with her the credentials and experience for the job. She has showed some fortitude in her pronouncements and actions: prominent were the renegotiating of contracts with outside investors, in particular Mittal Steel, the production of regular approved budgets, balancing the books, the reduction of the debt burden, the repairing of roads and the return of lights to the capital. JohnsonSirleaf’s cabinets seem to be partially technocratically-minded, rather than entirely shaped by political rewards or inclusion, but the cabinet has changed radically over time due to resignations and dismissals.43

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The dismissal of staff accused of corruption, including in 2009 such close allies as Information Minister Laurence Bropleh and Internal Affairs Minister Ambulai Johnson, can be read as a determination to tackle the issue head on, or the continuance of severe problems with or without her efforts. In early 2010 the EU-appointed Auditor-General, John Morlu, made considerable waves with his damning audits of key government ministries. She certainly needs consummate political skills to deal with vested interests, distressed sections of society, a host of political actors and pressure from international agendas, particularly over issues of justice. Indeed, an announcement of a Taylor extradition for aid conditionality was made almost immediately by the head of the EU Elections Observer Mission in Liberia.44 This was subsequently disavowed, but soon followed by US President George Bush’s declared expectations for Taylor’s extradition. Despite asserting that Taylor was a secondary issue for Liberia, Johnson-Sirleaf and the Nigerian president, Olasegun Obasanjo, finally gave in to US pressure to extradite Taylor in March 2006. Current post-conflict discourse on matters of justice has also affected the TRC, in its recommendations in 2009 for trials and for bans on public office, including one of the latter for Johnson-Sirleaf herself, but it seems hardly possible that these can be enacted. The TRC is investigated further in Chapter 7. Some may view a political dispensation that has three different leaders for the three strands of government (Presidency, Senate, and House) as a recipe for deadlock. Local power brokers may equally be able to hold the government to ransom. In 2005, no party had more than CDC’s total of 18 seats out of a possible 94 in both houses. COTOL, whose presidential candidate came fifth with just 8 per cent, emerged as the second-largest party, with a total of 15 seats. Independents and representatives of small and regional parties held 27 seats in both houses. The party of the winning presidential candidate held a total of just 12 seats, led neither house, and was the main opposition party only in the Senate. Indeed, within a year of the elections, the legislative bodies had already been flung into turmoil.45 In a continent where one or two parties tend to dominate electoral democracies, as in Sierra Leone, it is unusual to see such comprehensively different voting

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patterns for president and legislatures or such a fractured composition in the legislative bodies. Much has been made in Liberia and all over Africa of the vast numbers of political parties standing for election, when in fact many African polls deliver a result where one or two parties completely dominate. In Liberia, this has not been the case. All Liberian political parties appeared to be as flimsy as the bulk of parties that fill up ballot papers but little else in other African polls, and the electorate reacted by choosing known local personalities regardless of party affiliation. Although executive power in Liberia is vastly inflated, the power that the legislative bodies do hold is evenly balanced. This scenario could potentially nurture a culture of compromise, balancing and coalition-building, attributes advantageous in the vital process of reconciliation and a check on executive power. Ranged against this possibility are other problems that typically threaten African democracies, i.e. the poor political capacity of often personality-driven opposition parties, and the frailty of party loyalty that often leads to a crossing of the floor to the ruling presidential party. Parties, which have much to plan for in the 2011 election, have not disappeared in opposition, but equally have so far been severely troubled by fluctuating loyalty. The 2011 elections will be a difficult test for many parties which now have longer track records, and which will all be competing with an incumbent in the electoral field. It is probable that the political dynamics of 2005 will not transfer wholesale to 2011.

Conclusions Despite harassment and violence, the electorate in 1985 voted in large numbers to reject the incumbent Doe, clearly signalling that the possibility of ousting him at the polls was worth the considerable risks of violence and intimidation involved. In the 1997 elections, an impressive 83 per cent of those registered turned out to vote. Although many commentators have qualms concerning the final results and the ensuing Taylor victory, Liberians, with events in Sierra Leone fresh in mind, were obviously keen to make sure that the candidate they thought most likely to provide an end to conflict was elected to the Executive

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Mansion. Taylor and his adroit and experienced team were all too keen for him to appear as that candidate. The NPP and Taylor won with a landslide 75 per cent and took over half the vote in every Liberian county, including the capital filled with refugees and in the southeast, home to many of Doe’s ethnic kin, the Krahns. The international environment was dominated by the mainly Nigerian ECOMOG presence; Tom Ikimi, the Nigerian foreign minister, was a keen visitor to Liberia during this time. ECOMOG kept the peace, but however could not or would not provide security in depth or any levelling of the NPP electoral advantage. Nigerian policy was focused on a credible exit strategy. There were to be no threats of special courts or of truth and reconciliation commissions, but at the same time inadequate debate on the electoral rules, and little attempt to address the imbalance in resources and capacity in order that a serious challenge could be mounted to the NPP political machine. However, the electorate’s 1997 gamble with Taylor did not work, failing to propel the country in the direction of stability or prosperity. Quite the reverse, the heavily patrimonial system of government did not radically change from TWP to PRC to NPP, except for a disturbing shift, even outside the periods of conflict, towards more violent, and arguably more desperate, means of central control. Conflict, which the gamble was calculated to avoid, once more returned to Liberia. Taylor’s six years in power were brought to an ignominious end in August 2003, and once more new opportunities were presented. Liberia in 2005 appears to have upset one or two of the post-Cold War post-conflict election patterns, and in other ways the Liberian polls have firmly confounded general African electoral precedents. The absence of transformed rebel forces in the political process was just as unusual a factor in the conduct and outcome of the elections as was the lack of an incumbent. This was, to all intents and purposes, an election amongst civilians on a playing field, if not level, at least not dramatically tilted. Thus the elections, from the perspective of security and its electoral uses, resembled African peacetime polls more than other post-conflict elections. From another perspective, the Liberian polls resembled few other African elections in peace or after war, in that there was no incumbent party with vastly superior resources at

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its disposal. These features impacted positively on the conduct of the elections, enabling a final scenario involving a woman and a footballer to present their respective images of political experience and education versus freshness and lack of political history. To a large extent, this environment was a product of the much-maligned CPA and NTGL, criticised for realpolitic and gross corruption respectively. The CPA denied the possibility of any of the senior NTGL appointees standing for election, and the NTGL, by its very nature as a coalition administration, did not provide an incumbent party, even though government resources were illegally used in campaigning. Further, the CPA and NTGL did not threaten rebel leaders with war-crimes tribunals and instead, rightly or wrongly, presented them with opportunities to join the elite and take a slice of the pie, without even the need for political participation in the election. They were effectively bought off, and the downside of this arrangement is the continuance of disconcerting and debilitating corruption. In some ways, this has echoes in Renamo’s internationally funded participation in the 1994 Mozambican elections and its acceptance of defeat, except that in Liberia the payment was unintentional and illicit, and the onus of representing the rebel constituency passed elsewhere. The last unusual feature for an African setting was the lack of party loyalty demonstrated by the electorate, and the wide allocation of seats, which contrasts particularly starkly with the landslides in Liberia in 1997 and in Sierra Leone in 2002. In a continent where ethno-regional issues often play out strongly in party politics, and where the electorate in a certain area can, to a large extent, be relied on to vote for one party across the board, Liberians showed little loyalty to any of the parties. The result is a patchwork of party victories in the Senate and House of Representatives across the 15 counties, which, further, does not even follow the nodes of popularity of the presidential candidates. There is certainly no room here for the victor’s complacency that accompanied these landslides. Whether representation is wide or powerful enough and government responsive and responsible enough to attend to grievances that underpinned the civil wars and to promote even-handed and relatively developmental administration, remains still to be seen.

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CHAPTER 7 KEY FACTOR S IN THE ELECTIONS IN SIER R A LEONE AND LIBER IA

Having sifted through the recent political, electoral and conflict histories of Sierra Leone and Liberia to identify the different outcomes in terms of candidates, results and the contribution of the elections to stability, there are a number of factors that impact on all or the majority of these two sets of post-conflict elections. Undoubtedly, the timing of the elections, the size of the international intervention force, the electoral arrangements, the security environment, the strength of state institutions and the varying manifestations of societal divisions have all had their effects on the outcomes, and the existing literature has covered these factors in some depth. These will be called contributory factors. Less well developed in the literature, but equally if not more important, is the impact of the international discourse surrounding the elections, and the political capacity of rebel groups. The interplay of these two crucial factors has had enormously varying but significant consequences on the candidates and results in the four elections, and on the subsequent stability of the two countries.

Contributory factors Electoral context: timing, scale, arrangements, security and the state The time lapses between the peace accords or the beginnings of the implementation of the accords and the elections have most often been

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viewed as short, even if the lengths have varied. Considerations such as the need to rebuild infrastructure in a post-conflict environment usually point towards as long an interim period as possible, but factors of expense and stability most often curtail the interlude.1 The period for preparation constituted just 12 months in Liberia in 1997 and Sierra Leone in 2002. A longer preparation time of just over two years was allowed in Liberia in 2005, but in Sierra Leone in 1996 there was no peace accord at all. The effects of these timing differences have been felt, but are not entirely conclusive. Clearly, the 1996 Sierra Leonean election was heavily affected by the absence of a peace accord as, first, the elections did not cover the whole country and the quality of the result suffered. Second, the RUF attacked towns on the first polling day, and third and most important, the rebels remained outside the political process. There were, as a consequence, no rebel candidates. The results of this all-civilian election were close, and although reflecting traditional voting lines, produced a coalition government. However, without the participation or elimination of the RUF, stability did not ensue. In the other cases, it is not abundantly clear that the extra time made a great deal of difference. Infrastructure, particularly roads, was as poor, if not poorer in Liberia in 2005 as it had been in Sierra Leone in 2002. The extra length of time in the most recent Liberian polls was spent under the malfunctioning but politically necessary coalition government. A greater time lapse may provide more time to find compromises and common ground, as could be argued for South Africa and perhaps Mozambique in the early 1990s. However, it is not clear that any further gains could have been made by any of the political parties, or in the relationships between them, in Sierra Leone in 2002 if the interlude had been longer. Equally, it is not obvious that any further improvements were made in reconciliation or any political actors made any extra ground in the additional year in Liberia, although the coalition government served one vital purpose in laying the basis for elections. The size and operational capacity of the international intervention also varies. While the intervention in Sierra Leone in 1996 was negligible on all fronts, and the ECOMOG force in Liberia in

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1997 provided a modicum of security but no electoral assistance, the large UN programmes in the second elections in both states supplied troops in considerable numbers and, particularly in Liberia, significant electoral support. The largest UN operation in the early 2000s was in Sierra Leone, and the UN deployment in Liberia in the mid-2000s surpassed even that. By contrast, however, the UN presence in Mozambique in 1992–94 was even larger, particularly the civilian presence, as the elections were largely run by this external administration. The effects of the size and type of intervention are, once more, not always of immediate clarity. As the international bodies were only mandated to assist in electoral preparation in Sierra Leone and Liberia, the strength of the state must be taken into account as well. It is evident that in all cases the electoral process was far from perfect. The combination of weak and often compromised state institutions stretched to breaking point, alongside in the second elections in both countries only relatively small numbers of UN civilian advisors, did not greatly alter electoral efficiency. From turnouts greater than the numbers of registered voters in both Sierra Leonean elections, to Charles Taylor’s continuing influence in sections of the country in 1997, and the wholesale abuse of Liberian government resources in 2005, electoral malpractice was consistently present, but probably not widespread enough, even in the 1997 Liberian case, to have significantly altered the overall result. A scaled-up international electoral operation may have made some, but not many, differences. Any attempts to impose electoral or constitutional engineering are also partly a function of the size and capability of the international engagement. Deliberate efforts to make more probable a working postelection dispensation suitable for a particular country, as opposed to a system only constructed to function in reaction to very difficult circumstances, were not made in Sierra Leone or Liberia. Equally there were no pre-election constitutional provisions whatever for post-election governments of national unity or for governing coalitions. The electoral systems in Liberia in 1997 and on two occasions in Sierra Leone were devised largely out of necessity, but were finalised with some in-built biases towards the ultimately victorious parties.

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Certainly, the lack of electoral data was an extremely limiting factor in all cases. Given that no time was allowed for a census – and that censuses in times of shifting populations would in any case necessarily prove inaccurate – the ensuing makeshift registration processes were fraught for exactly the same reasons and impacted on the design of the electoral systems. Sierra Leone’s 1996 nationwide proportional representation (PR) system was very basic, and made only slightly more sophisticated in 2002 by the introduction of the District Block System. Party lists dominated both elections for parliament, allowing little space for local issues and personalities or for independents. The electorate could at least vote separately for parliament and president, which was not the case in Liberia’s nationwide PR system in 1997. Liberians had just one vote to cast, which then served both to elect the president and to allocate seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate. There was thus no provision for a balancing vote, choosing differently for president and legislature, a state of affairs that arguably enhanced Taylor’s and his party’s totals. In 2005, with the traditional Liberian presidential and constituency-based bicameral elections back in place, voters did exercise their prerogative to choose a variety of candidates for different positions, and showed a remarkable lack of party loyalty. The electoral systems adopted in Liberia and Sierra Leone favoured the NPP in 1997 and the SLPP in 2002, and to a lesser extent in 1996, and worked against the other parties in these elections, but served at most only to exaggerate the results. The impact of pre-arranged post-election power-sharing agreements or other constitutional formulae on these elections would be purely speculative, as such incentives did not materialise. The SLPP was forced into constructing a coalition in 1996, as their mandate was weak, but this was not arranged beforehand. Evidence of pre-election coalitions is a little less thin on the ground.2 The inclusive administration that emerged in Liberia in the period 2003–05 proved to be corrupt, but did perform the function of allowing the former warring parties to cooperate. If this cooperation mainly served the purpose of diverting resources, at least it provided a foundation for the elections, including an exit for the leaders of rebel forces. Another inclusive coalition administration in Liberia in 1996–97 was more successful than its

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predecessors, some of which were all civilian and so less inclusive, and provided the basis for elections, if not the levelling of the playing field or a reduction in Taylor’s dominance. The attempt at enforcing elite cooperation in Sierra Leone in 1999 failed partly because one side, the RUF, could barely be described as elite. Certainly, despite the political and financial rewards on offer, the shelf life of the SLPP-RUF coalition government proved to be very short, the RUF singularly failing to capitalise on its position. Security cannot be ignored.3 Whereas demilitarisation, demobilisation and the monitoring of these two processes cannot be said to be in any way comprehensive or thorough in any of the cases, it is demonstrably different to have active rebels, as in Sierra Leone in 1996, and a still-organised former rebel force in Liberia in 1997. ECOMOG in Liberia in 1997 did not have the means to disarm or monitor the disarmament and demobilisation of the smaller groups, let alone the NPFL, with which the Nigerian government had recently established ties. The UN in 2002 and 2005 was much more successful in different environments. In each case, the rebel movement had the opportunity to use the fragility of security to promote its electoral aims, either by its effective military occupation of certain areas, by potential, implied or actual violence, or merely the possibility of a return to conflict. It allowed parties either crudely to bully and harass the electorate or somewhat less crudely to play the security card to win votes. The memory of Jonas Savimbi’s return to war after his defeat in the 1992 Angola elections would not be lost on some. Taylor and the NPFL were very efficient, and electorally successful, in using the threat of either their return to the bush or a collapse of the peace through the lack of a strong government, if they were not put in power. Conversely, the RUF/RUFP in 2002 wholly failed to learn from history. As far as security is concerned, the case can be made that its frailty altered the political viability of the candidates and hence the results in Liberia in 1997 and Sierra Leone in 2002, as there were candidates who were equipped to use it to their advantage; the NPFL and SLPP did just that. Importantly, the RUF/RUFP was also potentially positioned to benefit, but was unable to do so.

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Societal divisions: religion, ethnicity and civil society None of the cases can be said to be unaffected by the issue of ethnic or ethno-regional identity. This is as opposed to religious identities, which played a very limited role or none at all, at the most a role tied inextricably to ethno-regional identities, in any of the conflicts or elections. Sierra Leone’s experiences were all but free of religious influence. In Liberia, religion was an issue only in that Mandingos are predominantly Muslim. The traditional African society, the Poro, was indeed abused in the first conflict and manipulated during the elections, but was not part of a cleavage from which conflict might have emerged. On the other hand, ethnicity was certainly used as a mobilisation tool, if it was not the prime motivation behind the conflicts. The ethnic divide between combatant groups is most pronounced in Liberia. President Samuel Doe’s actions there in the mid- to late 1980s served to create conditions for civil war, but also had a strong bearing on the format of the ensuing wars. His ethnocentric leadership, favouring the Krahn and the Mandingos, and his attacks on the Gio and Mano in Nimba County, set up a polarisation between these two groups that still resonates strongly today. In 2000s Liberia, LURD was a Mandingo-led organisation, MODEL was predominantly Krahn, and the remnants of the Taylor government and military units were overrepresented among officials and combatants from Nimba County. However, Taylor’s huge majority in the 1997 election indicates crossethnic voting patterns, although it seems unlikely that many of the Krahn or Mandingos would have voted for him. Indeed, Taylor’s worst performances were in Grand Gedeh and Sinoe Counties in south-eastern Liberia, traditionally home to many Krahn. Sierra Leone’s ethno-political divides have been visible in elections since independence, but their effect on the war was one which often played a part behind the scenes, and which fluctuated dramatically over time. From an initial RUF attack aimed at the northern-based government, with some southern backing but a northern leader; to a mid-1990s scenario where the RUF faced both a northern-dominated army and southern-based Mende militias, through to the RUF-Sierra

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Leone Army alliance in the 1997–98 junta and post-junta period, and a southern-dominated government-in-exile and subsequent governmentin-situ. There are clear differences in the effect of ethnicity or ethnoregionalism on the conflicts and elections that must be taken into account. However, there seems little to indicate that a pattern of destabilisation exists here. Taylor was able to use his Gio and Mano support as an electoral base from which to build a winning total, whereas the RUF, despite its wartime anti-urban-elite rhetoric, singularly failed to carve out a constituency of any sort. Most importantly, the cleavages were not significantly altered from the first to the second elections in either state, yet utterly different outcomes ensued. It has been argued that civilian components outside the party political arena have had a great effect on the outcomes from peace processes and post-conflict elections. A number of political scientists and anthropologists have commented on local healing and conflictresolution practices.4 There is evidence in southern Sierra Leone that a locally inspired and subsequently NGO-funded system of peace monitors allowed the reintegration of ex-combatants and the settlement of issues, whether war-related or not, in the absence of a functioning judicial process.5 In northern Sierra Leone, the effective use of already established local strategies for reintegration, reconciliation and healing has been noted.6 To extend this further, one might compare the activities of Sierra Leonean civil groups in resisting two military leaderships in the 1990s and the attempted RUF coup in 2000, and the seeming powerlessness of similar non-military groups in Liberia.7 In Sierra Leone, a space was created outside the discourse of conflict where civilians could act. Many Sierra Leoneans are often proud of the considerable achievements of their civilian groups. On the other hand, a study by Moran and Pitcher of the effects on conflict and peace by ‘civil society’ organisations, particularly women’s groups, in the ‘basket case’, Liberia, and the ‘poster child’, Mozambique, concluded that both countries had strong but largely urban-based movements.8 It should be noted, first, that events have not been kind to the comparison, and it can be argued that Liberia is no longer an obvious basket case. Substantively,

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however, there are important points here. A comparison of either the actions or the structures of these groups is not considered by Moran and Pitcher as sufficient to explain the different outcomes in the two countries at that stage. These actions are necessary, but not sufficient. It is reasoned that any explanation for divergent outcomes of peace processes must also contain insights into the roles of leaders and the commitment of third parties. Here, there are certainly opportunities to research the contributions made by civil groups to the apparent ending of the various civil wars, and to the success or otherwise of elections in assisting this process, whether this is by concerted action against one side or by antiwar discourse and post-war cathartic practices. Further study may ascertain to what extent the healers and civilian groups were given licence to practice or allowed to protest by either the foresight or the ineffectiveness of the armed groups in question. For this analysis, evidence of the effect of civilian components on post-conflict election outcomes is not yet clear. Therefore, due to the absence of clear lines of cause and effect and the usual relative impotence of civilian groups, it will be assumed that civilian processes have played an important but only supportive role to the national and international political and military processes.

Two crucial factors International presence and discourse Much changed internationally in the decade and a half after 1990. In the immediate aftermath of the end of the Cold War, with much expected of UN efforts in the new global environment, the UN could mount a huge and lengthy civilian and military operation in Mozambique. After a number of failures, a rising schedule of crises that have been deemed suitable for UN response, and the consequent budgetary problems, the scale of operations is likely to remain a thorny issue in the near future. It may be that a smaller and less generously funded UN presence is not as well equipped to encourage a peaceful outcome, but it is probably more useful to look at what the UN and

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other international bodies and states said and did. The radical change in international conflict-resolution thinking, from predominantly realist and inclusive to chiefly liberal and criminalising, around the turn of the millennium – particularly after the devastating events of 11 September 2001 – has had a profound effect in Africa. Events in Sierra Leone and Liberia have been significantly affected by the transformation of the discourse and by the radical changes in ideological tools used to achieve broadly liberal ends. It is undeniable that circumstances have had a bearing on some international approaches. For instance, there are practical difficulties in outlawing resource-rich rebel groups, such as Savimbi’s UNITA in Angola, although sanctions were put in place in the late 1990s. At a later date still, the RUF/RUFP allowed the purveyors of the new international discourse a free reign by being singularly unable to stand up to its pressures. One might suggest that Tony Blair, and subsequently the promoters of the SLSC, notably the Americans, struck lucky in Sierra Leone in that they were able to pursue their agenda with few short-term obstacles placed in their way by an incapacitated RUF/RUFP. However, even allowing for pragmatism, the change in international approach to conflict is evident, and has already had considerable effect. Taylor was a beneficiary of a non-judicial process in 1997, but no attempts were made to restrict his dominance as the effective incumbent. No international funding for his less resource-rich military, or even civilian, opponents was offered. The sense that Taylor was allowed to win everything contributed significantly to the return to war. The RUF/RUFP entered the political arena at exactly the wrong time. The international response, despite the apparent peace, the considerable disarmament, and the transformation of the RUF to the RUFP, was to continue sanctions against the organisation and to establish the SLSC, which dwarfed, and withheld its detainees, from its supposed partner, the South African-styled TRC.9 Indeed, the entire Sierra Leonean opposition laboured under an international discourse that favoured the incumbent party. Liberia between 2003 and 2005 might be seen as a contrast again, and as more reminiscent of the 1990s. However, the so far largely non-judicial process, with the exception of Taylor in The Hague, is more a reflection of the critical need for amnesties and

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inclusive bargaining, and was pushed through in the teeth of opposition from a pro-trials lobby which included the vocal former SLSC Chief Prosecutor, David Crane. In all, the changing international focus has directly affected the candidates, the results and the subsequent contribution that the elections have made to stability. There are particular consequences that have affected the environment in which the elections have been held. It is noticeable that the inclusive Liberian Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) had considerable effects on the 2005 elections. Caught in a time where emphasis is placed on human rights and justice, the talks were much maligned for allowing rebels and discredited members of Taylor’s government (already under UN sanctions) a part in the negotiations and the ensuing coalition administration. At the same time, however, the CPA directly created an environment where there was no incumbent, or indeed ministers from the NTGL standing for election, and a relatively level playing field. Indirectly, the accord bequeathed a field of candidates from which rebel forces had voluntarily withdrawn. Civilian parties then filled the political space left by the former combatants, in elections that were not heavily prejudiced by outside influences.10 Although Terrence Lyons’ exhortation for ‘effective interim regimes constructed around sustained dialogue’ does not have much application here, the other considerable, if sometimes indirect, benefits can still be counted.11 Contrast this scenario with the peace deals in Liberia in 1997, which had no criminalising agenda but allowed Taylor to dominate. Opposition forces, allowed limited time and given few incentives, could not withstand the electoral onslaught of the wellresourced NPP, who still shared control of the security landscape with the international force, ECOMOG. Remarkably, although not without protest, courts were not allowed to stand in the way of the construction of an all-inclusive interim government which paved the way for the 2005 Liberian elections. In the Liberian case, as in many others, the liberal solution of justice in a post-conflict scenario is at best a potential threat to stability and at worst unworkable and dangerous. The elections included candidates from civilian walks of life and from different sides of the conflict. Zoe Pennue had worked in the Doe government’s military and was

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involved with LURD, while Prince Johnson had fought in Taylor’s NPFL and murdered Doe. Both had considerable local support and won as independents. Other winning candidates include those from the party of Alhaji Kromah, who led a first civil-war anti-Taylor rebel group, Adolphus Dolu (alias General Peanut Butter), who defended Nimba County as a commander in Taylor’s government army, and many other former Taylor people. All have significant local support and several would be indicted by a war-crimes trial. Applying any notion of a court to the Liberian post-election environment, at least in the short to medium term, would have served to undermine this peace, and was thus resisted.12 However, at the time of writing, trials are still far from dead as an idea. The Liberian TRC began its proceedings in January 2008 and published its final report in December 2009. Despite a bold attempt to document recent Liberian history and to make recommendations for changes in governmental and societal practice and a distinctly Liberian notion, the ‘Palava Hut Program’ – in which around 7,000 ex-combatants could face their communities in a bid to foster locallevel reconciliation – considerable concern was raised elsewhere in the report. The recommendations that 116 people allegedly responsible for gross human-rights violations and war crimes, including such highprofile actors as Prince Johnson, Dolu and Kromah, be investigated and prosecuted by an extraordinary criminal court, and 49 persons, including President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and former Senate leader Isaac Nyenabo, be barred from holding public office for 30 years, were disowned by two TRC commissioners and received with alarm in many quarters.13 The poor evidence backing up these recommendations, allied to their potentially destabilising effects, were enough to make the report itself a divisive issue and the recommendations unlikely to be followed through.14 If a decision for some form of justice might be taken inside a given country at a much later time, when circumstances are deemed internally appropriate, this point has not been reached in Liberia. The most noticeable change in discourse happened in Sierra Leone over just three years, between 1999 and 2002. During 1999 and in the aftermath of the 6 January rebel invasion of Freetown, the ruling

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SLPP were persuaded to the negotiation table partly by the rebel occupation of much of the interior, including many diamond fields, but also partly due to pressure from the UK and USA, in particular Jesse Jackson. In the Lomé Accord of July 1999, a coalition government and funds to transform the RUF into the RUFP were agreed. By the time of further negotiations in mid-2001, running up to elections in 2002, the coalition had fallen apart and the RUF was not in nearly as strong a military position. Importantly, though, in a complete shift from 1999 thinking, the RUF and the transforming RUFP were burdened with international sanctions and war-crimes courts. In contrast, the Civil Defence Force (CDF) leader and erstwhile Deputy Defence Minister, Sam Hinga Norman, was indicted by the SLSC alongside the RUF leaders, whereas his immediate superior, Defence Minister and President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, was allowed to run again for the top political post in the country unencumbered by judicial concerns. Direct examples of the articulation of the current criminalising agenda within a supposedly apolitical legalist discourse are particularly evident in the statements of two American international civil servants. Following former US president George W. Bush’s disconcerting assertions of a clear distinction between good and evil on many occasions after 11 September 2001, his notion was repeated by the SLSC Chief Prosecutor at the time, David Crane.15 The other American, the former UN representative in Liberia, Jacques Klein, was similarly bullish, i.e. not diplomatic in the traditional UN fashion, in his forthright condemnation of Taylor and other Liberian actors.16 Further, the former president of the SLSC, Geoffrey Robertson, was removed from the trials of three rebel leaders in March 2004, as he had pre-empted the court in already denouncing the RUF for ‘grotesque crimes against humanity’ in his book.17 These allegations are backed by various reports, but when written by a judge, the inherent blurring of the line between political and judicial becomes more apparent. Finally, to emphasise the ubiquity of the judicial discourse, an urgent call for a war-crimes court in Liberia was made by the Liberian international football legend and later presidential candidate, but at the time UNICEF ‘Goodwill Ambassador’, George Weah.18

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In addition, post-election stability has been compromised. In Sierra Leone, despite the timely collapse of the RUF/RUFP and the death of Foday Sankoh, the SLSC for a long time served as a destabilising influence on the country. The somewhat unnerving presence of Taylor was removed to The Hague. The tried and convicted CDF leaders, however, are seen in many quarters as heroes of the war, not villains, although they were most likely party to war crimes. The latent fighting strength of the CDF was ever-present in the background to the proceedings, despite the death in custody of the former leader, Norman, in February 2007. A part of Charles Margai’s relative electoral success in 2007 was attributable to the feeling in the south that the SLPP had betrayed Norman.19 The indictment of Johnny Paul Koroma was for a long time potentially destabilising. Clearly, he had little to lose: he had support in the army, had instigated coups in the past, had experience as a military head of state and is, at the time of writing, either dead or still on the run following an alleged coup attempt shortly before his indictment was issued. At the same time, he had been on board the peace process before. He was a member of the post-2002 parliament, served as Chairman of the Commission for the Consolidation of Peace between October 1999 and January 2002, and even played a significant part in military defence of the government during that time. Taylor, left untouched by justice in 1997, found himself indicted by this court in 2003, was incarcerated in The Hague in 2006 and went on trial in 2008, although his position as President of Liberia had not changed at the time of his indictment. In 2003, allowing Taylor to exit Liberia for protected exile in Nigeria assisted the peace process. Issuing an SLSC indictment played its part in increasing the pressure on Taylor to leave, but there were certainly other more immediate factors, such as the military situation, which would have been equally or more persuasive. Further, the timing of the indictment during a peace conference in Ghana served to precipitate Taylor’s departure from the host country, and to undermine the regional leaders who had organised the talks. Probably most importantly, the continued pressure from the SLSC and from the USA, which eventually led to Taylor’s extradition from Nigeria in March 2006, threatens other exile deals

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(Sierra Leone) Indicted by the SLSC for crimes against humanity

Foday Sankoh, former leader of the RUF (deceased July 2003) Issa Sesay, interim leader of the RUF (convicted April 2009) Augustine Gbao, former RUF Chief of Security (convicted April 2009) Morris Kallon, RUF commander (convicted April 2009) Sam ‘Maskita’ Bockarie, RUF commander (deceased May 2003) Johnny Paul Koroma, former leader of the AFRC (missing) Alex Tamba ‘Gullit’ Brima, AFRC commander, led the 6 January attack (convicted June 2007) Brima ‘Bazzy’ Kamara, former AFRC ‘honourable’ and West Side Boys leader (convicted June 2007) Santigie ‘Brigadier Five-Five’ Kanu, former West Side Boys commander (convicted June 2007) Sam Hinga Norman, former leader of the Kamajors and CDF (deceased February 2007) Moinina Fofana, Kamajor Director of War (convicted August 2007) Allieu Kondewa, Kamajor Chief Initiator (convicted August 2007) Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia (on trial in The Hague)

in the future, undermined Nigerian diplomacy, and applied unwanted stress on the fragile Liberian peace where Taylor’s former forces and politicians were needed to be on board. If, as seems likely – though it has been somewhat exaggerated – Taylor remained economically and politically connected through proxies to Liberia, thus breaking the terms of his exile, the case was not systematically proven and did not play a part in the muddled process in which the USA pressured the Liberian and Nigerian administrations to request and accede to an extradition. Due for completion in 2011, the trial itself relies heavily on often conflicting oral evidence: a particularly high-profile example was the subpoena in mid-2010 of British model Naomi Campbell whose testimony concerning diamonds she received in South Africa was entirely at odds with evidence from other witnesses. The outcome of the trial remains unclear at the time of writing, as do Taylor’s intentions if he is found not guilty. It is equally not clear that Sierra Leonean or Liberian society wants or needs a judicial process. A survey in Sierra Leone in 2004 reported that ‘participants feared that the Special Court, while desirable, was

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impractical and would have negative security and/or political consequences for Sierra Leone, and that the Special Court was unnecessary and irrelevant as reconciliation and rebuilding had begun in any case’.20 A similar point has been made, although in this case in relation to the TRC, that ‘social forgetting’ has long been a cornerstone of reintegration and healing in Sierra Leone.21 Although critical of society’s preoccupation with order in Liberia, John Yoder also sees ‘forgetting’ as a useful short-term conflict-resolution strategy.22 The idea of ‘not opening up old wounds’ held much currency in Liberia after the TRC recommendations were published in 2009.23 Tim Kelsall is critical of the failure of the SLSC to adjust to local culture: the court was severely hampered by ‘different ideas of social space and time, of causation, agency, responsibility, evidence, truth and truth-telling from those employed by international criminal courts’.24 Another report notes the loss of public support for the SLSC, partly due to the perception of ‘limited Sierra Leonean input’.25 While cheap by the standards of other tribunals, such as those concerning Yugoslavia and Rwanda, it has also been noted that the cost of the SLSC at around US$30 million per year – over the eight years of an endeavour (not counting the Taylor trial) that was initially planned to run for just three years – might have been better spent elsewhere.26 The SLSC is a hybrid model described as the second generation of international criminal justice. Established as a treaty between the Government of Sierra Leone and the UN in January 2002, it was designed to prosecute a much more limited number of cases, to rely to an extent on less expensive Sierra Leonean staff and to subsist on voluntary contributions.27 However, at the time of its establishment, the court was already confronted by a US$21 million shortfall for the first three years, and by 2005 all contributions had been exhausted, leading to the recruitment of a private fund-raising consultant.28 The SLSC has been criticised, on the one hand, for being a waste of money and on the other as being not so much ‘lean and mean’ but ‘anorexic’.29 Given the deaths and disappearances of arguably the four most important Sierra Leonean indictees, this is all for just eight convictions and one on-going trial. The four cases in this study should also be granted at least a passing assessment in terms of whether the stated aims of international

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bodies match the real ones. The stated short-term aims have, most often, concerned the need to end the carnage, provide humanitarian assistance, arrange elections and, latterly, impose justice. Real intentions, where they have diverged from the stated ones, have emerged and have impinged on the processes. Specifically, in Liberia it was clear to the Nigerians that a face-saving exit strategy would have to involve Taylor, and after seven years of conflict little was done politically to stand in his way. Shortly after, and in sharp contrast, the USA in particular acted covertly to subvert his regime. In the conflict that broke out three years later, the military assistance given to the Liberian rebel groups, LURD and MODEL, by Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire almost certainly came with the knowledge and probably the connivance of the US military, despite a UN embargo.30 Guinea has been a recipient of considerable US military aid. Further, the USA is particularly interested in isolated one-off courts where Americans can never be tried, as opposed to international bodies such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), where they could.31 In the SLSC, a good example of the former has been promoted. Sierra Leone has fitted into the requirements of the age across the Atlantic. The needs of the British government to be able to parade a success story led by its ally, President Kabbah, were also addressed with a resounding SLPP victory.32 In a sign of US priorities in Liberia and generally, just before the inauguration of the Bryant interim administration in October 2003, Liberia’s government signed an agreement that US citizens cannot be handed over to the ICC, ignoring the fact that many prominent Liberians, including some who have responsibility for armed rebel and government factions, hold US passports. The inordinate amount of pressure exerted on Liberia and Nigeria by the USA to have Taylor extradited has its roots in the ‘war on terror’, given Taylor’s alleged links with al-Qaeda, and the need to make the stumbling SLSC into a success story. In many ways, however, it is the advertised pursuit of the current international agenda that impinges more on the candidates, the results and the contribution of the elections to stability than any of the hidden agendas. The latent intentions appear only to enhance the considerable, but more evident, effects of the international presence, particularly on the former belligerent political forces.

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Political capacity At the same time, the levels of political capacity exhibited by the different rebel groups starkly exposed their ability to operate in a political process, particularly at the elections. It must first be acknowledged, however, that it is very difficult to define or quantify political capacity, and its meaning would indeed change from society to society. The requirements for a political party to function would certainly be different in a Western multi-party scenario, compared to a neo-patrimonial system or a one-party state. Consequently, at the most basic level, it is defined here as the ability of a political party to tap into a stratum of support that gives it some level of legitimacy, realised at the ballot box in terms of votes, and to negotiate adequately in the particular political environment.33 The manner of building political support may range from historical to ideological and, like civilian African political parties, would most probably include a large element of patronage; but using these tools would certainly need a level of political expertise. A final defining point, specifically with reference to rebel parties, is the requirement that the political wing is able to vie successfully with military elements and to keep the party in the political process. To be able to reach these objectives, the party would almost certainly need a core, and most likely other levels, of relatively competent, experienced officials who owe some allegiance to the political wing.34 It would be reasonable to consider whether the levels of external and internal resources available to ex-combatants at the crucial time running up to elections are most important in determining their political capacity, and key to their success or otherwise. The NPFL/ NPP had access to the profits from timber, rubber and other resources, and its virtual monopoly over Liberian media gave the political party a distinct electoral advantage over other former combatants and civilian parties. However, the RUF/RUFP had Sierra Leonean diamonds, and appeared still to maintain some control over large and lucrative diamond fields in eastern and southern Sierra Leone. Given that all the significant rebel groups in Sierra Leone and Liberia – except the two in Liberia in 2005 which played no part in the electoral process – had access to some resources to fund an electoral campaign, the reasons

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behind the success of some and not others at the ballot box does not wholly appear to lie here. The salient point is that the RUF utterly failed to benefit politically from its theoretical advantage in a more hostile international climate. On the one hand, the NPFL/NPP had built up and could draw on a number of able party cadres at different levels within the group, but particularly at the top. The party was thus well-placed to take advantage of whatever the circumstances had to offer. They could use the prevailing international conditions, the insecure environment, the resources available, and any ethnic or regional support base to gain the most, whether it be the presidency or a significant slice of the national cake, from their circumstances. Equally, they would have the capability to negotiate better terms concerning the electoral rules and procedures and the roles of international bodies. Finally, they would be in a better position to dominate, co-opt, lead or allow the activities of more informal elements, such as ethnic and traditional religious leaders, as well as society’s more formal manifestations in the form of civilian political parties and civil associations and leaders. Conversely, although many arms were still in the possession of individuals in both the RUF and CDF, the RUF/RUFP had appeared to lose its ability to act coherently, whether militarily or politically. The rebel group had suffered defeats at the hands of the British and the Guineans in 2000 and 2001 and a massive UN intervention had been deployed. However, these military defeats and the presence of the UN force, which had been humiliated by the RUF only months before, do not entirely explain the loss of military coherence of an organisation that still held large swathes of the countryside, including diamond fields, had recently conducted operations that took it a third of the way to the Guinean capital, Conakry, and remained a feared presence in the land. The RUF spent much of its existence in fear and loathing of educated people, and had effectively fought off attempts to increase its institutional political capacity. The movement proved institutionally incapable of winning over any significant proportion of a battered population, either in battle or at the elections, because of its appalling record against civilians, which it shared with the other groups considered here, but also because of its inability to negotiate,

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formulate a political stance, or campaign, even given its considerable access to resources. Its internal coherence and communication structures, and thus its political strength at election time, were virtually non-existent.35 Instead, the victorious SLPP appeared to hold most of the security cards. The party, with its apparent connections to the UN and the British, could use the security issue for itself, effectively claiming that if any further conflict broke out, it was Kabbah who could bring in the international muscle. The deficiencies of LURD and MODEL were never exposed to the rigours of the Liberian electoral process, although they proved able negotiators in securing a good settlement at the peace negotiations, including prominent ministries in the interim government. The exit of the two second-civil-war rebel groups from the electoral process allowed a larger political space for civilian parties, and a close and unusual postconflict election. The mantle of representing their constituencies passed to civilian parties, particularly those of Weah and Kromah but also that of Johnson-Sirleaf. The question as to why the rebel groups declined to participate is just as important as the repercussions of these decisions. In many ways, these must have been practical choices. The two groups, despite ousting Taylor, were mostly seen as ethnically bound, with support largely limited to two of the smaller ethnic groups, the Mandingos and Krahn, who are not so popular across all of Liberia due to their links to the Doe regime. Equally, though, the rebel leaders were in one sense bought off by two years in the corrupt interim government. The unevenness in the development of political capacity requires explanation. At the head of each rebel organisation that survived into the political arena stood a personality who dominated the movement and persevered through the periods of thick and thin. No doubt each of the groups had low and critical moments. However, from the overrunning of Taylor’s capital, Gbarnga, in 1994 to the early RUF retreat back to the remote forests of Kailahun, both pulled through the darkest hours with their leader intact. It must then be within the peculiarities of the leadership or the failure to recruit or retain capable personnel that an explanation may be found. The differences may first lie in the basic motivations or expectations of these leaders. Taylor created presidential structures and trappings

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in his movement and liberated areas, and showed no sign of deviating from the goal of executive power over the whole of the state. His political machine was built up in order to satisfy his ambition. The Liberian electorate, partly out of fear of his actions if he was denied access to the Executive Mansion, duly voted him in. Across the border in Sierra Leone, Sankoh never made such grand attempts at mimicking presidential paraphernalia or governmental structures. It is obvious though from his statements and actions that he also held intense presidential ambitions. Although under threat and physically distant during his two incarcerations, his position at the head of the movement proved to be unassailable, even on his deathbed. This ensured that Sankoh’s vice-presidential post in the uncomfortable SLPP/RUF cohabitation in 1999–2000 and the RUF’s time in this government were limited. The key difference then in explaining the travails of the two rebel leaders is Sankoh’s failing to build the capacity of the RUF as a political entity. He clearly possessed certain required abilities to lead a rebel army in the peculiar environment of contemporary African conflicts. Although the RUF was never militarily impressive, his competence in holding together a disparate group of mercenaries, diamond miners, unemployed disaffected youth and forcibly recruited children over a period of ten years through thick and thin is clear. Strong personal allegiances of individual fighters to Sankoh have often been noted, and his use of the BBC World Service, copied from Taylor, to issue directives, coordinate fighters and disseminate propaganda was often effective.36 He surrounded himself with capable African-battlefield commanders, such as Bockarie. He failed, however, to surround himself with equally capable political cadres, and indeed made sure that better-educated potential rivals were eliminated. Sankoh detested the elite, and rarely recruited them. He clearly suffered an educational inferiority with respect to his internal and external rivals. Education of rebel leaders, it has been noted, ‘is at least a necessary, if not a sufficient, condition for organisational effectiveness’.37 In the political arena, where Sankoh needed most assistance given his lack of education and political experience, he made sure no-one emerged. The RUF’s antiintellectualism, fostered throughout the war by Sankoh partly due to

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his own paranoia and perceived grievances but also as a binding force within the RUF, then helped to render the party politically inoperable, particularly with a presidential candidate with intellectual and political credentials. When political opportunities emerged in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2001–02, the RUF/RUFP in each case was found fundamentally lacking. In comparison, Taylor, despite not being from the top-level of Americo-Liberian society and harbouring related resentments, was well-educated and essentially of the elite. Unlike Sankoh, he was not fearful of or paranoid about intellectuals and could easily communicate at this level. Despite losing or eliminating many in the top echelons of his rebel force and ‘government’, he could rely on his network of expatriate Liberians and the decidedly mercenary nature of some of the Liberian political class which had emerged either in the patriarchal days of the Americo-Liberian governments or the predatory era of the Samuel Doe regime. Superficially, given their origins, stated aims and modus operandi, the two rebel groups appear similar. Even the leaders appear similar given the way they conducted their wars. The origins and the outlook of the two leaders, however, could not have been more different, and their respective political parties proved to be worlds apart.

Conclusions Important contributory factors in influencing the candidates, results and the contribution of the elections to stability must certainly include the size, time span and effectiveness of the international intervention and of the state. Particularly important features related to the intervention and the state were the prevailing sense of security and the choice of electoral and constitutional system. Security, or its absence, significantly shaped the results and the contribution of the elections to stability. The choice of electoral and constitutional system often amplified the results and provided no pre-arranged coalition governments. However, although these factors clearly played a part, they are in many ways dependent on the two crucial factors. To benefit from security or its absence or from the electoral system, any former military or

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opposition party needs to be in a position to take advantage of the prevailing domestic and international environments. The two crucial factors that affect the electoral and political outcomes of a post-conflict election period appear to have emerged from inside and outside the countries. The political capacity of the belligerents, particularly the rebels, seems to be vital to the outcome, and the methods and discourse employed by the international presence significantly help further to determine the path that the belligerents take, their success or failure at the elections, and the success or failure of those elections in bringing peace. Clearly, there are considerable opportunities opened up by an electoral process for rebel political parties and their supporters in a post-conflict environment. Taylor and the NPP took full advantage of their opportunity and succeeded in winning a landslide and a virtual carte blanche in power. On the other hand, in Sierra Leone in 2002 the poorly constructed RUFP was in no position to resist its criminalisation, and singularly failed to plan for or utilise the electoral opportunity. The limitations of the burgeoning judicial liberal agenda were then starkly exposed in 2003, given the necessity of a Liberian coalition government, which, for all involved barring the already indicted Taylor, required an amnesty. The rebel groups appeared to be satisfied with temporary and lucrative positions in the government as they played no part in the ensuing electoral process, which involved mainly civilians. An explanation for the different outcomes in terms of candidates, results and contribution to stability can thus be articulated. In 1996 in Sierra Leone, a close civilian race produced a promising, inclusive coalition government, but one which did not stretch as far as inclusion of a rebel group. The political incapacity and military persuasion of the RUF precluded its participation in the elections, and conflict continued. Liberia in 1997 produced a landslide result for Taylor on the back of poor security and a marginalised opposition. Important as is the political effectiveness of Taylor’s NPP in explaining the electoral result, in such an environment – completely dominated by one side – conflict returned after just three years. Another landslide in 2002 in Sierra Leone did not lead to a return to conflict, but equally did not significantly change the political methods that did much to

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create the environment for conflict. On this occasion, the marginalised opposition consisted of civilians and former rebels, the latter struggling with international justice and sanctions alongside its own political deficiencies. Another close race amongst civilians, echoing that in Sierra Leone in 1996, followed in Liberia in 2005. The difference in this most recent election is the choice by rebel groups, unaffected by sanctions and justice and with two years in an interim government, to disband and not transform into political organisations. Equally, the absence of an incumbent or dominating political presence, delivered by Taylor’s exile, the agreements of the CPA and the breadth of the NTGL, had wide-ranging effects in terms of the candidates and results. The resulting and remarkable balance of power across the parties in the House, Senate and Executive incorporates, at the least, wide representation from across the country and the Liberian political spectrum. Alongside a presidential winner chosen not on issues of incumbency or security and more on issues of experience and leadership, there is at least a greater chance of a platform for reconciliation, more even-handed government and hence stability.

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CHAPTER 8 POST-CONFLICT ELECTIONS OR POST-ELECTIONS CONFLICT

Sierra Leone and Liberia are certainly not the only countries in Africa to have experienced some form of colonialism, the presence of Creole communities, post-independence economic failure, civil war and postconflict elections. First, in this concluding chapter, evidence is gathered from further afield concerning the interlinking of colonial and Creole political legacies, the amplification of state-society ruptures and a conceivable link to the conflicts. In so doing, this provides more supporting evidence of particularly acute social and political problems as a causal factor in African conflict. Angola provides a particularly interesting parallel history. Given these conclusions on the main causes of conflict, the scope of the argument is then broadened out to ascertain whether the central importance of the two identified key factors in determining candidates, results and outcomes of post-conflict elections is relevant in other cases. An investigation of the Mozambican case, in terms of international discourse and actions and the political capacity of the rebel group, reveals interesting comparisons. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is also used as a recent comparative case and evidence from further states, including Burundi, Rwanda, South Africa and Namibia, is introduced. The final section situates the conclusions of this book in a wider African arena of politics and amongst theories of democracy outlined in the first chapter.

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A note on Creoledom In Sierra Leone, under-resourced British colonialism left a legacy of an over-centralised yet weak state, thoroughly reliant on and penetrated by elements of society and yet formally poorly integrated. At independence, the African elites were unable or unwilling to change this state of affairs. In Liberia, the colonial state was largely replicated, except with a black-settler Creole presence replacing the European colonial power. The centralisation and the paradoxical weakness of economic and political power were further enhanced by the presence of the dominant or highly influential Creole communities. Largely inadvertently, the Creoles in Sierra Leone and Liberia most probably played a part in creating a model of paternalistic, grossly imbalanced and ultimately detrimental elite-society relations, somewhat aligned with pre-colonial indigenous political patrimonial practices, and to which the subsequent regimes closely adhered. At this juncture an interesting comparative case is presented by Angola. The Angolan Creoles have their differences and similarities with their West African counterparts. Angolan Creoles are not all black, like the communities in Sierra Leone and Liberia and like the remainder of the populations of the three countries. Mestiços, those of mixed African and usually Portuguese stock, comprise a significant and influential bloc in Angola, and within the Angolan elite. As a consequence, some Angolan Creoles are visually distinct, as well as culturally discrete. However, the main language of the mestiços and the old black Creole families has been Portuguese for generations, and historically they have seen themselves as Angolans rather than of a specific ethnic group. In earlier times many thought of themselves as a part of Portuguese and Brazilian societies and their links with the Angolan interior were limited largely to trade. Creoles were allowed and indeed needed for a dominant role in Portuguese African settlements.1 For several centuries up to the early 1900s, a cosmopolitan and powerful Creole ‘aristocracy’ ran the administrations of Luanda, Benguela and other coastal towns.2 Similar to the experience of the Krios in Sierra Leone, their societal dominance was threatened as positions in the administration and business were taken by Portuguese immigrants

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during the twentieth-century colonial period, but their place in the small assimilado class, about 1 per cent of Angolans in 1960, assured them continued benefits. Occupying most of the top echelons of the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) throughout the independence struggle and beyond, many Creoles viewed other anti-colonial groups as tribalist and reactionary. The other movements portrayed the MPLA as not a real African organisation, an image that is still politically in use in recent times. After independence under a Creole-dominated MPLA regime, the hierarchy narrowed further at the top after internal bloodletting, and the urban predisposition became ever more marked. The economic integration of rural people in the Portuguese colonial administration had always been very weak. Due to the MPLA’s urban bias and its Marxism-Leninism, the civil war, rapidly rising revenues from oil, and levels of corruption that reached epidemic proportions, the pattern continued and was rendered further imbalanced as the government all but abandoned its efforts to build links with the countryside.3 As Christine Messiant notes, ‘the arrogance of dominance fed on an elitism grounded in disdain for the matumbo, the “ignorant native”, common among assimilados under Portuguese colonialism and also present in Marxist-Leninist avant-gardes’.4 Despite the partial racial dissimilarity, the Angolan Creoles are comparable in many ways to the communities in West Africa. An overwhelmingly urban community, and one which is better educated and far more politically and economically prominent than their numerical presence would suggest, their outlook on the rest of Angolans fluctuates between developmental paternalism and outright bigotry. The positions in colonial Angola occupied by the Creoles are thus not dissimilar to those of the Krios, and in post-colonial Angola, not dissimilar to Krios or Americo-Liberians. Arguably, the Angolan Creoles have maintained their dominant political status better than either of their contemporaries, and the political and economic gap between the centre and the periphery is greater still. There are, of course, other factors with which to explain the Angolan wars. Ovimbundu marginalisation ranks high, as does the presence of oil and diamonds.5 A crucial difference with the Sierra Leonean and Liberian conflicts is

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the beginnings of the Angolan civil war as an anti-colonial struggle and its continuation as a Cold War proxy conflict, before it took on characteristics more identifiable with its West African counterparts. However, there is an argument that the Angolan conflict, at least in post-colonial times, has always had many comparable aspects and that the exaggerated elite-society divide must be of at least equal importance in explaining its continuation after independence and the end of the Cold War. A further comparison could be made with the economic and political prominence of Cape Verdean Creoles and bermedjos (Guinean Creoles) in colonial and post-colonial Guinea-Bissau.6 Although this scenario is complicated by the Cape Verdean nationality of the former, many of whom were removed from political office in the 1980 coup, it is evident that both enjoyed high status in Guinea-Bissau.7 It might then be noted that the country gradually descended into the turmoil of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Importantly, the fact that all these cases of relatively large African Creole populations have all occurred in states that have descended in to civil war is not in itself statistically significant, but does lead one tentatively to conclude that a link is plausible.

Return to conflict or peace The Creole legacy arguably extended the divisive effects of weak, over-centralised, patron-cliental colonial and pseudo-colonial states in Sierra Leone, Angola and Liberia. Followed by the often desperate and sometimes predatory actions of post-colonial governments, this environment led to severe limitations on opportunity in a period of growing expectations and the alienation of large parts of society, concentrated in specific regions, ethnic groups and youth. At the same time, post-independence foreign interference or post-Cold War international withdrawal created a catalyst for civil conflict. Ranging from the use of training camps in the Libyan desert to the provision of mercenaries and launch sites, to hands-on sponsorship or supervision of invasion, the direct or indirect interventions provided the necessary sparks in a highly combustible environment.

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In each case, the domestic grievances that lay behind the conflict and allowed it to take root, and were in turn exacerbated by its longevity, sorely need to be addressed. The main, if not only, process available for the provision of space for a voice for the previously unheard, for the possible articulation of grievance, is the post-conflict election. These polls take place in debilitating environments where infrastructure and institutions have been devastated, grievances have been fuelled and created anew by the war, and divisions can potentially be further entrenched by the oppositional nature of electoral democracy. Elections with structural underpinnings that do not further hamper prospects for peace, instead enhancing the possibility of a shift from violent conflict to political engagement – such elections are crucial. However, the transformation of international discourse and approaches to conflict, coupled with the political inefficacy of rebel movements have provided a mutually reinforcing obstacle to peace through elections. The outcomes in terms of candidates, results and the contribution of the elections to stability have been fundamentally affected by the interconnections between these two factors. Where movements with considerable followings, or even those who are mere signatories to peace deals, are sidelined by international pressure, by considerations of justice or by their own internal political failings, the results can be a serious impediment to peace in either the short or the long term. In the short term, the political exclusion of a party from a potential or actual peace accord is clearly destabilising. In the longer term, a continued circumscription of political representation and an inarticulation of grievance – most probably centred on the issues of identity, youth and exclusion from opportunity – which fuelled the conflict, may be storing up trouble for the future. Two overarching issues then emerge if we wish to look at the conundrum of how and why, in post-Cold War times, African countries return to a state of relative stability and calm after years of destruction. First, there is the difficulty in deciding if and when the peace process has been successful. Second, despite the ubiquity of the notion of elections as a cap to a peace process, there are certainly questions as to whether there are too many risks involved in post-conflict elections. The alternatives to elections require some evaluation.

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Clearly, no state could ever be defined as absolutely stable. Relatively wealthy European states, with parliamentary democracies nestled within a continental political and economic structure were, only 60 years ago, immersed in destruction and war, and some of these countries emerged from dictatorial political regimes of the left and right in the last two (Eastern Europe) to three decades (Spain, Portugal and Greece). Many African states, including those under study here, have emerged from civil war and autocracy only in the last five to ten years. Violence in Africa could also be viewed as ‘the social and political pangs of development’, which many or perhaps most societies go through, and not always a deviance from progress, as it is usually portrayed.8 This does not, however, detract from the need for a conclusion to the conflict. One of the most contentious issues, then, is whether post-conflict elections do more harm than good. First, though, one must acknowledge that the likelihood of elections being scrapped as a method of determining the composition of governments after conflicts, in the current global political climate, is slim even in the medium term, and that comments on the procedures and outcomes of post-conflict elections will not soon become anachronistic. However, analytically, looking again at the conclusions reached above, there appear to be a considerable downside to the application of elections. The first Liberian and Sierra Leonean elections, as well as other polls elsewhere, such as in Angola in 1992, produced further conflict.9 Equally, while the more recent Sierra Leonean and Liberian polls have not been followed by violent upheaval, the causes of the war have yet to be addressed. Some have wondered whether there are real options to vote for: in peacetime African scenarios, each party is programmatically barely distinguishable from the others, lining up behind liberalising economic manifestos in order to access loans and aid, and the real choice is often on ethnic or regional grounds. In post-conflict elections, the options are narrowed by the need to put in place a government that looks most likely to maintain peace. Alongside the facsimile economic policies, a party must demonstrate either a capacity for security provision or closeness to those outside the country who are able to do so instead.

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The reasons to justify persisting with post-conflict elections need to be convincing, and hinge on the poverty of alternatives and the analysis of apparently successful processes or elements of processes. The history of un-elected interim governments of national unity is not littered with successes. Even in a situation where central government has broken down and has no power to stand in the way of a new authority, the new institution inevitably suffers from problems of legitimacy and in-fighting and is most probably only sustainable in the short term by the promise of decisive elections to come. The notions of national conferences or electoral processes beginning at local level may usefully serve to lengthen the period between accord and national polls, but would not avoid the need for a decisive election at the centre of power. Although African political dispensations are criticised for their concentration of power, paradoxically even a partial power vacuum is also rightly feared. It is thus to an analysis of the important elements of post-conflict election stories, using a wider range of examples, that we now turn.

The emergence of plausible political actors in post-conflict elections Political party resources and capacity Although it is not always the case, there are clear historical tendencies for landslides in post-conflict elections. Besides the Liberian (75 per cent) and Sierra Leonean (70 per cent) cases, one might include the clear-cut African National Congress (ANC) success in South Africa in 1994 (63 per cent) and Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s overwhelming victory in Algeria in 2004 (83 per cent). Where there are two or more parties that have contributed to the end to the conflict and have a stake in the continuance of peaceful conditions, or where there are no former belligerents involved, a landslide is less likely, although this scenario does not negate the possibility of sidelining other important actors. However, where one party dominates electoral proceedings by appearing to be the only voting option for peace, or is seen as the bringer of peace and the one most likely, by whatever means,

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to maintain this situation, this contender is likely to be rewarded with a landslide victory. At a time when reconciliation and attempts to address problems and articulate grievances that were caused by or were a cause of the war are crucial, the placing of practically all power in the hands of one party is unlikely to help in this process. William Zartman argues that ‘if warlords are allowed to form the new state, they assure the return of the system that brought about its own collapse’.10 An amendment might read: if any participant is allowed to form the new government in more or less totality, they assure the return of the system that brought about its own collapse. Finally, a landslide points towards a perceived lack of choice, a situation that may be exacerbated in the following years by the party in government. A possible result may be another instance of ‘choiceless democracies’.11 Although in this case the reference is not to ubiquitous economic policies imposed from abroad, the resulting potential for voter apathy and even disillusionment with respect to the whole democratic process is equally clear. There have been forms of international intervention that have reduced the possibility or decreased the magnitude of a landslide, alleviated the effects of insecurity, and contributed to a more level political playing field. In other words, the outcomes in terms of candidates and of their capacity to operate in a political arena, and potentially the results of and the contribution to stability of the elections, have been altered. Mozambique is an interesting comparison here. Renamo was largely a creation of the Rhodesian security forces in the late 1970s using disaffected Mozambicans or those implicated with Portuguese colonial activities to destabilise their own country, which was home to some of Rhodesia’s nationalists, and the new post-independence Frelimo government. After Zimbabwean independence in 1980, South Africa, under the belligerent P.W. Botha launched a programme of destabilising southern Africa, and took over the backing of Renamo. The rebel force rapidly earned itself a reputation for terror aimed at the civilian population and for destruction targeted at Mozambique’s infrastructure and services. The use of mutilation, executions and psychological torture to obtain compliance or involvement from civilians, adults and children alike, are well-documented. Similar to the RUF later,

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exemplary amputations, in Renamo’s case of ears, noses, lips and breasts, were used to control fighters and civilians alike.12 However, despite its history and reputation, between 1992 and 1994 Renamo benefited from a substantial UN Trust Fund – some US$17 million – designed to aid its transformation from a largely military force into a political party. It is not clear to whom this funding found its way, but as the party had few domestic resources and declining external support it most probably aided Renamo’s credibility as a political entity. Although Renamo could point to some support in particular parts of the country, its funded transformation into a political rather than a military entity coincided with considerable and largely unexpected success at the ballot box. At the time of the elections, the UN assessed that Renamo controlled 18.8 per cent of national territory and 7 per cent of the population. The election gave Renamo votes from well beyond this constituency. Joaquim Chissano’s 53 per cent against Dhlakama’s 33.7 per cent in the presidential race was a considerable winning margin. However, in the elections for the National Assembly, Frelimo’s 51.6 per cent translated to 129 seats in comparison to Renamo’s 44.8 per cent, equating to 112 seats, with the remaining nine taken by the only other placed party. Considering its origins, Renamo had pulled off an impressive feat. Widespread evidence of tactical voting emerged, and people in some areas were clearly encouraged by communities and church groups to vote Chissano for president and Renamo for legislature.13 This, arguably, was a vote for peace. Largely unarguably, the inclusive measures persuaded Renamo to remain within the process and take on the role as democratic opposition to Frelimo. No such international support was given to the civilian or rebel opposition in Liberia or Sierra Leone. It would, of course, have been difficult to apportion funds to the collapsing and internally and externally vilified RUFP, some of whose members were also hoarding cash and diamonds. Provision for resourcing the RUF’s transformation to a political party was included in the 1999 Lomé agreement, but instead RUFP members remained under UN sanctions, the threat of the SLSC hung over them, and international support was effectively weighted towards the incumbent and against all the opposition.14

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At this point, however, it must be noted that despite Mozambique’s decade and a half of peace and its several nationwide elections, the democratic dispensation remains in its infancy. Some of the failure to consolidate may be attributed to one of the reasons for the success of the initial elections in the first place. Renamo still operates under postconflict conditions, where its actions, particularly the boycotts, have been designed to extract political concessions from Frelimo and material funding from the state and the wider world.15 This has seemingly been a price worth paying. It is also a side effect that may have been somewhat alleviated through the additional provision of advisors and technical assistance, and the monitoring of the expenditure of funding. Despite state grants (totaling US$1.4 million per year between 1999 and 2004), Renamo has suffered from poor party capacity, but at the same time demonstrates that funding for a badly constituted political entity can at least keep this body and its inevitably disadvantaged constituency on board.16 In a different interpretation, Renamo was financially persuaded to remain in the political process, or, in other words, bought off. Here, the prime motivation of Renamo officials is access to international money. In Liberia, officials of the two rebel groups were content with the considerable spoils of interim government office, and did not directly enter the electoral race. As a result, abuse of government resources continued unabated, but the peace agreement held and the polls were conducted in a relatively secure and fair environment. Clearly, there has to be some payback for rebel groups, who despite their many faults have spent years in the bush fighting for this outcome. It is manifestly a more productive course for all concerned if the payback is a political opportunity, and that funding, from whatever source, is disbursed for and preferably used in the exploitation of this political opportunity. Given the already enormous costs of peacekeeping, and the moral difficulties in funding former rebels with abysmal human rights records (although such difficulties with Renamo were put aside), an extension of this relatively low-cost strategy in Mozambique is the central funding and at the same time, if and when possible, the fiscal limitation of all parties, much as is the case in parts of Europe and the Americas. This could be construed as a violation of national

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sovereignty, but could also be presented as a counter to some of the effects of an already heavily violated sovereignty in a very artificial situation. This action may be a shot in the arm for the serious political parties, or for those within parties who are politically serious and might otherwise not appear credible in the climate. A crucial aim is to persuade all concerned in the conflict that the benefits of peace outweigh the supposed gains of further fighting. Party political funding is thus a tangible benefit. The argument for the international funding of political parties across Africa is persuasive.17 Institutionalised, organised and legitimated parties have the potential to keep the personalisation of power and the marginalisation of parliaments in check.18 Funding, however, does not currently go beyond the provision of access to reference materials, office hardware and training workshops provided by organisations such as the international wings of the US political parties. Western political parties and governments have considerable fears about directly funding African political parties. Although parliament, judiciary, civil-society organisations and media are frequently targeted for foreign attention, political parties are one step too far. Party funding is often seen as interference, may induce party disconnection from the electorate, might lead to the creation of briefcase parties and could hand resources to anti-democratic entities. However, in an era when there is global disillusionment about political parties and the inordinate influence of money in politics, it is paradoxically the boosting of political parties in order for them to compete, and their funding so as to address imbalances in financial resources, that may help to overcome the malaise. There is a concurrent need for criteria for party participation and improved internal regulation of political financing. Few African states have comprehensive laws governing party financing, and even then implementation is usually very difficult.19 Funding, although notoriously hard to monitor and prone to being held hostage to political requirements in post-conflict scenarios, could be tied to some form of accountability and standard-setting, in tandem with an ‘official national strategy for the development of political parties’.20 This and all the points made here are exaggerated in fragile post-war elections.

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In 2003, both the European Union and the Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Americas came down firmly in favour of public funding. However, few African states fund political parties to a level high enough to make any difference.21 In their conclusion, Roger Southall and Geoffrey Wood assert that ‘the continued external funding of political parties, and especially of oppositions, seems an important requirement if democracy in southern Africa is going to survive’.22 A Dutch model contributed to positive results in post-conflict South Africa and Mozambique by providing funding to all parties, partly as a fixed sum and partly according to the number of seats held, administered through one independent body in the Netherlands.23 Given the reluctance of cash-strapped governments and incumbent parties in Africa to provide support for the opposition, outside public funding is probably more viable, especially in a post-conflict scenario. In this discussion, South Africa is different to other African states in that the ANC, National Party (NP) and Democratic Party could all tap into significant financial assistance from domestic business and overseas ideological funding. However, the smaller parties, including the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the Freedom Front with their critical followings, certainly gained financially and possibly electorally from the Dutch programme and from state funding. It is interesting to note that in Namibia in 1989, the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance took 29 per cent of the vote with South African government funding, and an expenditure of US$20 million, compared to SWAPO’s 57 per cent with foreign anti-apartheid backing and an outlay of US$18.5 million. In 1995, in a much more limited financial climate, SWAPO took an overwhelming 73 per cent of the vote.24 The instances of the provision of funding or technical assistance to rebel organisations are thin on the ground.25 Besides the clear example of financial input into Renamo, there was also an interesting attempt within Africa to provide technical assistance to the RUF in Sierra Leone in 1995–96.26 When the RUF, based deep in the Sierra Leonean bush, made a plea to international bodies for technical assistance in order to communicate with, understand the workings of, and engage in negotiations with the outside world, and to avoid, as they said, becoming ‘casualties of peace’, International Alert (IA) applied its connections

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and expertise in conflict resolution to the task.27 IA’s work included the provision of communication channels; assistance in the articulation of RUF demands; workshops on various aspects, including human rights; and advice and documentation. The result was a peace process culminating in the Abidjan Accord in November 1996, a document that included many of the IA-assisted RUF draft proposals. A Trust Fund to assist in the RUF transformation from military force to political party, a commission for the consolidation of peace, and a social forum were stipulated in the agreement. Two points must, however, be made about this initially partially successful story. First, the Abidjan Accord collapsed not long after the ink had dried; this has been blamed on Sankoh’s unwillingness to abide by it. Indeed, two of the RUF representatives in Abidjan gave Sankoh’s disposition towards the treaty as one of the main reasons for involvement in a failed internal coup in early 1997. However, it is important to note that some of the few educated RUF members had been able to come to the fore advocating a political route for the RUF.28 Others have blamed the failure of the Abidjan Accord partly on the lack of interest of the three guarantors, the OAU, UN and Commonwealth. There were no teeth shown by the guarantors to make the accord stick, probably because they failed to take the RUF seriously, and wanted to be seen as little as possible in the presence of those regarded as bandits; the emphasis was largely placed on disarmament, at the expense of building other parts of the accord.29 Second, the technical assistance given to the RUF was provided at a time before a peace treaty and not specifically with elections in mind. However, the principles are similar to those being considered here, in that the political capacity of a rebel group is built up in order for it to engage effectively in the political as opposed to military process. At the same time, other more politically minded and capable members may come to prominence within the organisation. This example, however, does make plain the risks involved in providing any sort of assistance to rebel groups with poor human-rights records.30 IA was vilified in some quarters for its perceived partisan actions, withdrew from Sierra Leone and subsequently felt it necessary to publish an institutional Code of Conduct, outlining an ethical framework and its stance

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on human rights and impartiality, so that any future allegations could be countered. However, and importantly, any programme of technical assistance to rebel groups after peace treaties have been signed ought not to suffer to such an extent, as the rebels will have already entered, however partially, into the political process. The forms of international intervention discussed here have all endeavoured to enhance the political capacity of parties, whether civilian or transforming military groups, in order that they may compete and potentially provide some outlet for marginalised or aggrieved sectors of society. It is the outcomes in terms of the candidates, and hence potentially the results of the elections, that may be varied in the interest of future stability. Constitutional engineering, on the other hand, is the art of adjusting just the results, or more precisely the way in which results are translated into the division of power, so that representation is maximised and the contribution of the elections to stability potentially increased. Constitutional engineering Constitutional engineering has been theorised and sometimes tested in many forms, but particularly in the designation of the balance of power between parliament and executive; in the adoption of pre- or post-election power-sharing deals; or in the consideration of different methods of translating votes into seats. In the first case, although attempts to mitigate the usually swollen power of the African executive can mostly be seen as beneficial, at least for reconciliation, this will have little effect if one party holds the presidency and dominates the parliament, while other parties are largely excluded. Here, though, evidence particularly from the contrary examples of Liberia in 2005, as well as Mozambique in 1994 – against that of Liberia in 1997 – suggests that at least having separate votes for presidency and legislature gives the voter the chance to vote two or even three ways, and to moderate the balance in power. It could be argued that a strong semi-autonomous executive shielded from multiple societal demands is just what is required where rapid economic development is desperately needed. Jerry Rawlings in Ghana

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and Yoweri Museveni in Uganda come to mind as examples of presidents at the head of relatively strong, military-backed regimes which have turned distressed countries around. There are, however, many other examples of military regimes that could have been developmental due to their semi-autonomy from societal pressures, but were nothing of the sort. Many proved to be weak and penetrated, or merely vehicles for the accumulation of wealth for those in power and for the sectors of society from which they emerged. Herein lies the dilemma. The government in a post-conflict state needs to have room to pursue programmes of reconstruction, but equally may need to be persuaded, and must also be seen to implement these programmes even-handedly. The presence of a well-represented legislature with some balancing powers appears to be mostly advantageous. Second, the instances of post-election power-sharing deals that have not been forced by the need to amass a majority in parliament are rare in Africa. The party that sees itself in pole position is unlikely to wish to share its victory. In Mozambique, the incumbent Frelimo managed to defy considerable pressure for such an agreed arrangement. Even in South Africa, the NP had left the government of national unity and vacated its vice-presidential and ministerial positions within two years. That said, a two-year cushion of bargaining within government during a crucial period most probably contributed to the subsequent stability. National unity governments do, however, underplay one of the prime elements of democracy, which is its oppositional nature. If a minority party is in government, the potential to oppose or criticise may be diminished, particularly at the point that it may have to leave. Equally, the ability of the minority party to represent its constituency may be compromised once ensconced in government, and to an extent beholden to the whims of the majority party. However, as a short-term arrangement aimed at conflict resolution and reconciliation, its inclusive benefits probably outweigh its limiting effects on democracy.31 Proponents of the consociational model of government for divided or plural societies extol the benefits of inclusiveness, bargaining and compromise that have been observed to ensue from some grand coalitions. At least there is the possibility of a continuing negotiating forum in a post-conflict scenario.32 Burundi offers a recent example: in

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a country particularly divided on ethnic lines and emerging from a civil war, a system was devised to assure ethnic proportionality in government institutions (actually 60/40 or 50/50 Hutu/Tutsi, neither of which is the demographic ratio), regardless of party affiliation. The results are that the two main parties are now multi-ethnic, and that ethnic compromise is needed to pass legislation. Further, since 2005 and despite the sporadic activity of one rebel faction and an election in 2010 with the incumbent as the only presidential candidate, a fragile peace has been maintained. There is then, albeit very cautious, grounds for optimism, particularly when looking across the border to Rwanda. However, some evidence also suggests that its success so far is attributable just as much to the depolarisation of Burundian politics during the lengthy and inclusive peace negotiations, and to the actions of the AU peacekeeping force and its former facilitator, current South African President Jacob Zuma.33 Equally, such a proportional system encourages the reification of political ethnicity if maintained in the long term. In some cases, a pre-arranged stipulation of automatic vicepresidencies and/or ministerial posts in the cabinet for the main opposition parties in an interim government of national unity, based on their share of the vote, may be a useful arrangement. In a scenario divided along hardened societal cleavages, a system whereby any parliamentary bill must obtain a degree of cross-party support, such as that adopted in the post-conflict Northern Ireland Assembly, or the existence of a straightforward minority veto for certain issues, might also prove beneficial. Importantly though, it makes little difference whether a consociational or majoritarian dispensation is envisaged, if an electoral result delivers a huge majority party that is able largely to disregard or easily to co-opt the minority parties. The third form of constitutional engineering has been subject to much deliberation globally. Italian elections passed from a proportional representation (PR) format to mainly single-member district (SMD) and back to PR in the space of 12 years. The debate over the appropriateness to Africa of PR or SMD electoral systems is also longstanding. Mozambique can be seen as one case where a particular system had an influence. Benefiting from the longer interim periods between

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accord and election, systems were considered with less pressure from circumstantial stresses. There was to be no coalition government, but a d’Hondt electoral system, the least proportional of PR formulae, was adopted, clearly influenced by the two main Mozambican excombatant parties who stood to gain the most. If the electorate voted mostly on ethnic or ethno-regional lines, then the d’Hondt system would produce safe electoral constituencies for the large parties, with smaller parties tending to be even more marginalised. Arguably, the advantage given to the two main players assisted the possibility of peace. South Africa’s mix of federalism and PR enabled two important minority parties, IFP and NP, to win key regions in 1994. However, one of the fundamental problems of African elections is not, as has often been argued, party proliferation and deadlocked parliaments, but is instead primarily a lack of competition and competitiveness, brought on by one-party dominance.34 There is then a strong tendency for entrenchment of one party, with the probable accompaniment of the arrogance of power and marginalisation of other parties. The first incarnation of the APC in Sierra Leone is an obvious case in point. If this entrenchment and arrogance is a threat to stability and democratic consolidation in peacetime Africa, then it is all the more so in a post-conflict scenario, with its weak institutions and desperate need for reconciliation. The emergence of dominant party systems appears to happen irrespective of the electoral system, be it PR, SMD or some variation of the two. With little impact on one-party dominance from tried electoral engineering, a radical version of an Arend Lijphart system proposed by Matthijs Bogaards, for instance, involves a minority premium and majority ceiling.35 This system legally pre-arranges the balance between majority and minority parties. The majority party would receive, for example, a pre-set 55 per cent of the seats, and the rest either allocated proportionately or, if one strong opposition party is required, the leading minority party apportioned the most, say 35 or 40 per cent. Despite the distortion between votes and seats, there are several potential benefits, particularly in a post-conflict scenario. There is no possibility of a landslide, and the result is not winner-takeall. Depending on local considerations (which would inform the choice

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of percentages), the instances of non-representation and marginalisation could be reduced. Clearly, on the occasions where there are three or more belligerents, the notion of one strong opposition party will marginalise the third- and fourth-placed parties, and in such cases the minority premium would need to be altered. Once in place, the opposition has a base from which to work towards the next election, and the loser of that next election, which may be the party in government, knows that it may at least have the minority premium. Under a Bogaardsian electoral arrangement, landslides in Liberia in 1997 and Sierra Leone in 2002 would have been significantly reduced, and wider representation achieved. Questions do however remain: first, whether those parties in leading positions would ever accept such an imposition, and second, whether even these balances would have reined in the considerable autocratic tendencies of an electoral winner like Taylor. One might also observe that few benefits would have arisen in Liberia in 2005, and that the results in Mozambique would have changed little under this proposal. Evidence from these two cases should then lead us to note that any arrangement should be subject to the particular electoral environment in each. There are numerous tried and untried concepts of constitutional and electoral engineering which, given the specific conditions of any case, may be applied to manipulate the manner in which power is balanced, divided and shared, and in which votes are translated into seats. This is then the altering of the outcome in terms of results in order to maximise representation, and the likelihood of reconciliation and stability in a post-election dispensation. However, the largest difference to the outcomes in terms of candidates, results and the contribution of the elections to stability – and indeed the probability of the elections taking place at all – may often be made outside the electoral arena altogether. Justice The approach of the attendant international bodies to the belligerent forces is crucial. International governmental and non-governmental agencies have significant influence on whether a belligerent is co-opted,

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marginalised or criminalised in the peace process. This is particularly so in their approach to justice. In recent times, the ascendancy of the notion of legalistic approaches to post-conflict scenarios has been marked. Courts similar to the Sierra Leone model have been established concerning Cambodia and Lebanon and proposed in Iraq, Liberia, the DRC, Uganda and Sudan, although there is resistance from domestic actors opposed to any trials, and from some European countries in favour of the ICC. Since its first case, beginning in 2006, the ICC has also been active in Africa. ‘Tribunals’, announced Kofi Annan, ‘reflect a growing shift in the international community, away from a tolerance for impunity and amnesty and towards the creation of an international rule of law.’36 Further, he asserted, ‘the consolidation of peace in the immediate post-conflict period, as well as the maintenance of peace in the long term, cannot be achieved unless the population is confidant that redress for grievances can be obtained’, in this case redress of a legal kind.37 Much is made of the need to avoid the costs of impunity. Human-rights abusers should not be allowed to get away scot-free and an example should be made for future potential abusers. It is not, however, as simple as that. The question of when it is appropriate and when inappropriate to hold a trial needs to be asked. The application of courts so far has been somewhat arbitrary. The apparent impunity of prime ministers of the US ally, Israel, is a case in point, and there are clearly political, not judicial, motivations for the scarcity of calls for justice in this conflict. Conversely, all ICC arrest warrants so far have targeted Africans. The intense US and EU efforts to bring Charles Taylor to the SLSC, irrespective of the political fallout, are indications of US concerns over Taylor’s alleged al-Qaeda diamond deals and of the need to make the stand-alone SLSC a success. Other regional leaders involved in similar or the same conflicts, such as the Burkinabe and Ivorian presidents, have not been touched. The US resistance to any court that could conceivably try Americans, particularly the ICC, led to enormous pressure on many smaller countries to sign waivers for US citizens on their soil. Attempting to present post-conflict justice as apolitical is severely undermined by a whole raft of political questions as to where a court is established and who is to be brought before it. The proceedings against Slobodan Milosevic became almost a show

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trial, especially if one notes that the venue is in a country that bombed Yugoslavia and that the prosecutors, judges and funding also come from countries that participated in the bombardment. Several indictees in different trials, including Taylor, Milosevic and Sierra Leonean excombatants, have at times refused to recognise the courts. It would be right to ask whether different outcomes were possible from relatively successful peace processes where alleged human-rights abusers were included in the deal. Counterfactually, is it possible that fighting would have been further prolonged in Mozambique, South Africa, Burundi or Northern Ireland if leaders of Renamo, ANC, IFP, NP or the Freedom Front, Conseil National pour la Défense de la Démocratie et Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie (CNDD-FDD), or IRA/Sinn Fein, had been presented with the prospect of trials instead of elections? There is no provable link between war-crimes trials and peace, and amnesties have been critical to many negotiations that have produced successful transitions. Courts may well be less appropriate if the hard-won peace settlement, or the pending negotiations and the potential or actual signatories to the deal, are threatened by a judicial element. Further, the trials in The Hague of Serbian leaders and the demands on the Serbian state inspired the assassination of the Prime Minister, Zoran Djindjic.38 The arrest warrant for General Wiranto issued by the UN Tribunal for East Timor in May 2004 for crimes against humanity was also a matter of concern, as he was one of the favourites for the Indonesian presidential election in July (eventually coming a close third). Equally, Iraqi trials, which resulted in the death penalty for Saddam Hussein and others, raised the level of tension in this divided state. Events in early 2005, including the arrest for war crimes of the prime minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, and the Rwandan demands for trials of the main ethnic Hutu rebel group, who announced their intention to return home and form a political party, cannot be seen as constructive for the immediate aim of peacebuilding. The indictments by the ICC of a former Sudanese government minister and a government-aligned faction leader in 2007, and subsequently of President Omar Al Bashir in 2009 have already begun to divide opinion in Africa and may well have detrimental

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effects on future peace deals. Particularly poignant is the case of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda, where a peace deal has been hamstrung by the ICC’s indictment of the LRA leaders. Many civilian northern Ugandan groups have long opposed ICC involvement, believing it would only prolong the conflict.39 Conversely, much is often made of the supposed connection between the general Liberian amnesty in 1996–97, Taylor’s electoral victory and the return to war.40 It must be asked, however, whether there would have been any break at all in the war without the amnesty. Centring conflict-resolution discourse on legal priorities rather than finding political solutions has its problems. It has been observed that giving overriding priority to the rights of individuals in a law court may well involve the sacrifice of the greater welfare of all.41 There is certainly little attention paid to the difficulties of applying judicial mechanisms in low-income post-conflict societies, and to their shortcomings in these politically and materially stressed contexts.42 The effective criminalisation of most, if not all, combatants also has the effect of delegitimising violent change and of downplaying domestic and international causes of the conflict. Combatants are routinely regarded as fighting with mercenary intentions, which automatically relegates notions of, on the one hand, internal political and economic grievances and on the other the global inequality of nations to minor causal factors. The chances of finding political solutions to the conflict in this environment are not exceptionally good. Finally, in practical terms, the lack of evidence, the difficulty of establishing command structures, the differences from domestic criminal law which have led to arguments such as that over the proportionality of violence, and the complexity of cases have proved to be huge stumbling-blocks. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), established in 1993 and 1994 respectively, are still running and have been described as ‘expensive, enormous, slow, inefficient and ineffective’.43 With an already extended finishing date of the end of 2010, the ICTR expects to spill over into 2011 – by mid2010 it had completed just 42 cases, with 35 still outstanding or subject to appeal.44 At the same time, the financial investment in courts,

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particularly the ICTY and ICTR, has been extensively criticised and often seen as poor value for money. By the end of 2007, the ICTR had already reached the $1 billion mark, and the SLSC, though much cheaper, has equally not been spared criticism. Instead, there are arguments for the application of strategies of justice. Even Annan concedes that ‘transitional justice processes . . . are as much political questions as technical ones’.45 Leslie Vinjamuri argues that entirely legalistic approaches miss ‘important opportunities to use the tools of justice strategically to enhance the legitimacy and effectiveness of coercive diplomacy, shorten war and consolidate post-war peace’.46 She rightly observes that ‘stability is a necessary prerequisite for the protection of human rights’ and this must take priority.47 If amnesties are required, then so be it. Despite claims of legal universalism, there are many recent examples, such as in Liberia, Burundi, the DRC or Côte d’Ivoire, where legal requirements have been put to one side. Vinjamuri’s contention is that courts will sometimes be effective. However, even in the unlikely circumstances when the threat or the consequences of arrests and trials do not serve directly to undermine an actual or potential peace in the country concerned, and possibly elsewhere in the future, the process would be viewed by some as an outside project with objectives divorced from the well-being of the country, and compared by others to trials that are not taking place elsewhere. The notion that post-conflict trials can be depoliticised is shot through by the political actions, omissions and rhetoric of the arbiters of justice. Despite the establishment of the ICC in 2002, and considerable activity afterwards, there may now be declining public and governmental interest in time-consuming and expensive trials, which may accelerate if, as seems possible, the number of convictions remains very low. Without the notion of justice in immediate post-conflict situations, progress is more likely towards a political solution that is premised on the attainment of stability and on an accommodation that is ‘sufficiently just’.48 Peace may necessarily require ‘a series of dishonourable bargains’.49 There are other hybrid and non-punitive processes to consider. It is often suggested that African legal processes are more participatory, consensual and restorative, and more open to wider evidence.50 Community-based Gacaca courts in post-genocide Rwanda were billed

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as a ‘traditional’ and participatory halfway house between reconciliatory processes and retributive justice. Established in 2002 by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) government, 11,000 courts processed an astonishing one million cases. Judges were locally elected and punishments often light involving community service.51 However, parameters excluding any crimes committed by the RPF were included, leading some to the conclusion that this was victor’s justice.52 Equally, it has been noted that the process is neither traditional nor participatory, as it is codified on a national basis, is closely monitored by government and is not taken seriously by many participants.53 Finally, the courts were more retributive than restorative, being regarded favourably as such by the ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, have incriminated a large section of the Hutu population and caused considerable trauma.54 In contrast in northern Uganda, the ‘traditional’ reconciliation ceremony, mato oput, has been praised as culturally sensitive and more effective than an ICC approach in addressing the LRA legacy, but also criticised as being a romanticised notion of local justice.55 TRCs have been propagated with some degree of success in South Africa and Sierra Leone. The approach of the Chairman of the South African TRC, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and his emphasis on religious redemption married with supposed ‘traditional’ African notions of ubuntu (restoration to the community) rather than punishment, has been criticised as being remote from public thinking.56 However, opinion polls appear to bear out a preference for amnesty, and it is certainly far from clear that there would have been any stability at all if a process based on punishment had been established.57 The notion of trial and punishment was not encapsulated in the South African TRC except in the case of non-compliance in giving testimony. The TRC did indeed forward a list of such cases to the National Prosecuting Authority, but the South African government has since, tellingly, attempted a controversial second round of amnesties through disclosure and cooperation. In a different environment from that in South Africa, perpetrators’ fears of being turned over to the SLSC undermined the Sierra Leonean TRC, and led many to stay away.58 However, somewhat similar to the South African case, evidence is emerging that while the Sierra Leonean TRC may have been short on the revealing of truth, it did serve to

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some extent as a ritual of repentance and forgiveness, which might lay some foundations for reconciliation.59 On the other hand, the Liberian TRC was not overshadowed by a court, but in its report advanced down a legalistic line and advocated exactly such a court. It remains to be seen whether the report will be more detrimental to the painstakingly constructed Liberian political peace process or the wider concept of TRCs.60 There is often little scope, as in Mozambique in 1992–94, Liberia in 2003–05, Burundi in the years preceding 2005, and Côte d’Ivoire from 2005 onwards, to pursue justice, as those who would be indicted are urgently needed as part of the political solution to the conflict; but the pressure to implement courts still remains in all processes, even – at the time of writing – in Liberia. The decision whether to emphasise the legal or political avenues as a solution to the conflict fundamentally affects both the chance of there being a peace process and an election, and subsequently the candidates who take part. In all probability, this then has a follow-on effect on the results, and a highly detrimental consequence on the contribution of the elections to future stability. New political actors There are two aspects that underpin all three of the arguments above (political party resources and capacity, constitutional engineering, and justice). First, as already outlined, is the requirement for incentives – and the removal of disincentives – for rebel groups to join and remain in the political process. Second is the plausibility of these new political actors as candidates in the elections. There is a fundamental requirement that the rebels turned politicians abide by the democratic rules of the game, but there is the equally important point as to whether they have the required capacity to operate in the non-military world of political competition. It is the second point that is most vexing, particularly if the answers are decidedly in the negative. At that point, the options for the rebel group and for those who wish to see an electoral result that has some chance of articulating grievance are significantly narrowed. As Christopher Clapham has noted, ‘if insurgency can be related readily to the problems of African statehood, its relationship to any viable solutions to those problems is much less clear’.61

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Notable cases where rebel groups have established themselves in the political arena have emerged, and are still appearing. In the 1980s and early 1990s, the Ugandan National Resistance Army, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front in Ethiopia and the RPF all seized and held state power, although not through electoral processes. More recently, the former rebel group, CNDD-FDD, achieved a significant electoral victory in Burundi in 2005 and maintained power through to further elections in 2010.62 The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), a former insurgent force still listed as terrorists, became the largest party in the Nepalese Constituent Assembly in elections in 2008. In another case, that of Renamo in Mozambique, the rebel group took several interesting steps which serve to illuminate this issue. A long-term crucial dynamic within a movement with unpromising origins was its apparently deliberate policy to bolster the quality of its political cadres. The 1984 Nkomati Accord acted as a wake-up call to Renamo, at that point a primarily military organisation.63 The South Africans were not pulling out, but their support might not always be as comprehensive. The same South Africans were also keen, for the purposes of their own international propaganda, that Renamo became a political, as well as a military, project. Studies have shown that there was ‘a concerted effort . . . to draw in people who could contribute to the organisation’s political and administrative development’, and it was from 1984–86 that ‘most of those who form Renamo’s political and administrative core were recruited’.64 These ‘recruits’ were often at a higher educational level than existing members, having been ‘captured’ during raids on secondary schools. Further, between 1989 and 1991, some 100–200 secondary- and preuniversity-level students were attracted to Renamo with the promise of scholarships. The fact that these incentives often did not emerge, creating an entirely different problem for Renamo when it could not absorb all of these people into its organisation, does not detract from the attempt to recruit educated staff. In Renamo’s ‘liberated’ areas, attempts were made to install more credible administration. Renamo’s First Congress in June 1989 was a milestone in terms of its political structure. Abroad, efforts were

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made to influence external opinion by the setting-up of foreign offices. External representatives, who were often not Mozambican citizens, were replaced with those who had served Renamo in the bush. Political representation generally was taken more evenly from across the country, and the core of officials who would take the party into negotiations and elections was solidified at the top of the party. After 1992, when Renamo was establishing itself in Maputo, two top officials, Raul Domingos and Vicente Ululu, were sent by Dhlakama to recruit educated people to fill posts. This is also the time when Renamo’s clandestine urban supporters, often educated, emerged to take up positions.65 Most of Renamo’s parliamentarians were in fact post-war recruits who had had nothing to do with the war. Even if maximum credit is given to the destabilising policies of the Rhodesian and South African militaries in instigating and propelling the war, this does not explain the support that Renamo found and built up inside Mozambique, nor the group’s political success after it had lost its main international backers. With its policies of recruitment and organisation, Renamo was able at least to approach the post-accord period with a reasonably competent and apparently coherent political front. Finally, Renamo considered in 1994 that it could never achieve Frelimo’s legitimacy, and Afonso Dhlakama was consequently content with a share of the spoils. This is in sharp contrast to Taylor or to Jonas Savimbi in Angola: both appeared to aspire to nothing short of total power. To underline the issue of political capacity, both Taylor and Savimbi dominated their respective rebel groups, but Savimbi did not have Taylor’s political acumen and failed to build UNITA into a functioning political machine. Savimbi’s loss of key cadres at crucial moments from an organisation that already struggled in terms of formal education and administrational experience, and his increasingly ferocious election speeches – often delivered only in Umbundu – showed a malfunctioning party and campaign and led to defeat in an election that he had been predicted to win.66 Although again Dhlakama maintained an imperious position in Renamo, he recognised Renamo’s limitations and at the same time sought out some expertise around him to attain his realisable goals.

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A note of caution, however, must be added: Renamo is not and never was a well-oiled, coherent, representative political machine; it is and was quite the opposite. The point here is only to highlight, in stark contrast to the RUF, the seemingly deliberate and reasonably successful attempt to produce a minimally functioning political entity which could negotiate competently on the world stage. Renamo was able to attract voters on the basis not simply of ethno-regionalism but also on that of a politically conservative and anti-Frelimo platform, and a UN Trust Fund designed to facilitate its transformation from a military to a political organisation. Renamo, unlike the RUFP, was able to use considerable anti-government sentiments and the incomplete security to its advantage at the ballot box. If there is a post-conflict election success-story in Africa, it is Mozambique. Despite the problem of defining a conclusive moment, and the many and grave reservations concerning the consolidation of the democratic system and the capacity of the only relevant opposition party, it has to be said that the Mozambican process is rightly regarded as a success, if only because there has been over a decade and a half of unbroken peace, with several national elections. The nonjudgemental environment, the UN Trust Fund, the d’Hondt electoral system and the political capacity-building within Renamo have all played their part in reaching this point. If conflict were to break out again, the ambivalent political outcome of the peace process would be blamed, but at the same time we would also be looking at factors that have largely impinged afterwards, such as economic liberalisation and spiralling corruption. In other words, Mozambique has moved on. This cannot be said of any of the other countries reviewed here, hence the necessarily provisional nature of the conclusions. In the cases presented to us, most obviously by the RUFP but also by some of the former military groups in Liberia, the elimination of disincentives and inclusion of incentives has least potential for a political payback. Here, the financial incentives appear most as a buying-off of the former military group’s upper echelons. This is certainly a moral dilemma, and to an extent also a practical one. Those who benefit may be legitimised and treated as credible interlocutors, without the parallel intention or likelihood of creating a political entity that in any way

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represents a constituency. Some would agree with the Liberian activist turned government minister Samuel Kofi Woods, who asserted that ‘the sanctity of government is decimated and justice cannibalised when peace agreements legitimise alleged perpetrators of human rights abuses and crimes against humanity’. He argued that ‘these are brutal wars fought by mobs and criminal gangs who have discovered the fragility and incohesiveness of the nation state and seek to seize political power to further plunder and legitimize crime’.67 There is also the attendant problem of political party proliferation. However, if, at a minimum, the incentives keep the former military group in the political process, at least for the requisite period of time, and are distributed around all political parties that fit a set of criteria, then the onus for the articulation of grievance can pass to the civilian parties, who are also, themselves, beneficiaries. Notwithstanding the difficulties and allegations of partiality and lack of respect for human rights aimed at the UN and IA, there appear to be some positive aspects, although some outcomes may have been temporary or qualified, emerging from the examples of rebel-group assistance in Mozambique and Sierra Leone. It is indeed questionable whether the RUFP in 2002 could ever have organised to represent its supposed constituency of marginalised youth, even with funding and technical assistance. Equally, in Liberia in 2005 the virtual absence of former rebel groups, bought off by two years in government, led to a relatively open contest that delivered a presidency and two legislative houses with wide political-party representation. Other non-combatant parties may of course have benefited from assistance in any of the cases. Equally, it is unclear how much a pre-election power-sharing deal or constitutional engineering could benefit a politically impoverished party. Indeed, there are many normative considerations to be made when considering the potential effects of constitutional and electoral engineering on party political capacity and on the results of elections. There is certainly no guarantee that small and transforming rebel political parties in opposition would be sufficiently boosted in terms of political capability, electoral support or their ability (or desire) to represent a constituency. However, incentives in some form, and the removal

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of disincentives, appear to have already had some effect, and hold the promise of further contributing to the prospect of post-election stability. Most importantly, there are a growing number of examples of rebel groups who have managed the difficult but crucial transformation from military insurgency to serious mainstream political party. A comparison with another developing scenario In any attempt to alleviate destabilising problems in post-conflict elections, it is recognised that factors such as minimal security and a functioning elections administration must be in place. However, it is contended here that judicious consideration of electoral engineering and, above all, the primacy of political solutions will enhance the outcomes in terms of candidates, results and the contribution of the elections to stability, and may reduce the likelihood of a return to war.68 There are, however, never going to be neat solutions, and there still remains, if the above analysis is to be believed, one serious flaw: party funding, electoral engineering and political solutions will be blunt instruments where the belligerent group has only limited political capacity or preparedness. If, as in the case of the RUFP and the rebel forces in 2000s Liberia, the group loses much of its military capacity at the right time, then the threat from that group is diminished and the threat from its constituency may well be channeled into other opposition parties. Alternatively, particularly given the assistance in building political capacity, a transforming rebel force may at least be uplifted to minority opposition status. However, if in a worst-case scenario, such as Savimbi’s UNITA in Angola, the group has not lost its military capacity but has limited political capacity, the return to war seems likely in any scenario, even given a rebel force victory. These concerns are currently being played out in the DRC. The state existed in a precarious but semi-peaceful condition for four years under a broad coalition government, awaiting elections which were eventually held on 31 July 2006. An inclusive political solution was applied, where former belligerents held positions of power in a coalition with those from the former government. The Dialogue Intercongolais held in South Africa during 2002 emerged with a ‘One plus Four’ arrangement

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where executive power rested with President Joseph Kabila, assisted by four vice-presidents nominated (one each) by the government; two rebel groups: the Goma faction of the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie (RCD) and of the Mouvement pour la Libération du Congo (MLC); and unarmed opposition parties. The issue of justice was kept at bay, further emphasising the difficulties and inconsistency of its application. The Congolese transitional government did authorise the ICC to inquire into human rights-abuses throughout the country, but the remit was limited to those committed after 1 July 2002, and the court’s investigations brought charges in 2006 against an Ituri militia leader. These actions did not involve participants in the government or others who could potentially hold the peace process to ransom. The proliferation of belligerents and political parties was considerable. The largest non-government forces were firstly the Rwanda-backed RCD in the east and secondly Jean-Pierre Bemba’s MLC, backed by Congo-Brazzaville and Uganda, in the northwest. The MLC had more popular political support than the eastern force. Further stress on the system resulted from a multiplicity of militias, the most prominent being the Kabila-allied Mai-Mai and groups in Ituri province. The involvement of foreign governments, particularly Rwanda and Uganda, whose concern for security on their borders had led to two previous invasions and continued support for belligerents, complicated the position beyond similar conflict scenarios elsewhere. There was then Kabila, the incumbent with considerable support in the national army and the main civilian parties, the Union pour la Democratie et le Progrès Social of Etienne Tshisikedi, which maintains backing in Kasai and Kinshasa, and the Parti Lumumbiste Unifié of Antoine Gizenga. The first multi-party election in 40 years, in a huge country with almost no infrastructure, was a logistical nightmare. A reasonable timeframe was allowed for election preparations, although polling day was subsequently postponed six times. In the end, the registration of 25.6 million voters and a 70 per cent turnout were impressive achievements. Discussions concerning electoral engineering were minimal. In the circumstances, however, the election of 500 members of the lower house, the National Assembly, from 169 districts through open lists was a reasonable solution, although over a third of the electoral

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districts (62) have only one seat, so were decided on a first-past-thepost basis.69 The system also did little to enhance political parties’ strengths.70 Countering charges of fraud and rigging, which duly emerged, was incredibly difficult. At a minimum, the incumbent and, to a lesser extent the MLC, were clearly at an advantage with their access to resources, media and security. The process was further hamstrung by Tshisikedi’s boycott and the disintegration and continued fighting of elements of the RCD. Former belligerents retained parallel chains of command in the security forces charged with securing elections, and Bemba maintained his own security.71 First-round presidential results were contested, and provoked violence in Kinshasa, predominantly between government forces and Bemba’s militias, but gave Kabila a lead with 45 per cent, necessitating a run-off. The results showed two main regional blocs of support: Kabila swept the Swahili-speaking east and Bemba emerged in second place with 20 per cent, taking Kinshasa, the Bas Congo and the central provinces of Equateur and the Kasais. The veteran Gizenga collected 13 per cent of the vote, mainly from his home province of Bandundu, and Nzanga Mobutu, son of former president Mobutu Sese Seko came fourth with 5 per cent, mostly garnered from Equateur. For the second round, Gizenga and Mobutu announced their support for the incumbent. Kabila secured a second-round victory with 58.05 per cent, but in a poll whose integrity was challenged by Bemba’s party and in a country divided east-west with little support for Kabila in the capital.72 Legislative results followed a similar but more fractured pattern. The Parti du Peuple pour la Reconstruction et la Démocratie (PPRD), associated with Kabila, is the only party to be represented in all 11 provinces, and leads in six of them, but won only 111 of 500 seats overall. The MLC is represented in nine provinces and leads in four, but emerged with just 64 seats overall. PALU came third with 34 seats, and the lead in Bandundu province. The remaining 291 seats across the country are shared between a remarkable 74 other parties and 63 independents. Bas-Congo province has 15 political entities sharing 24 seats. Even Liberia could not match this election for localised and fractured voting patterns. However, the legislative voting does follow,

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to some extent, the presidential results. Only in Bas Congo did a party, PPRD, emerge ahead, and a candidate, Bemba, from a different party win the first presidential round. Further, the fracturing appears slightly less pronounced when considering that the coalition backing Kabila, the Alliance de la Majorité Présidentielle (AMP), claimed 224 seats in total and Bemba’s alliance, the Regroupement des Nationalistes Congolais (RENACO) took around 100. The RCD, seen by many as a foreign proxy but having at one time controlled a third of the country, were the big losers, with just 15 seats. As the east is still the region of greatest instability and has been the flashpoint for the last two civil wars, it is a matter of some concern. In such a large and fractured country, an election result promoting reconciliation would always be difficult. However, the peace deal allowed combatant leaders to be part of what proved to be a corrupt interim administration as well as electoral candidates. None of the opposition was able to come close to the benefits available to Kabila as incumbent president, and Bemba’s MLC was the only rebel organisation which could compete on a political basis. No provisions were made for post-election power-sharing or arrangements that would augment representation. The prime minister and the president effectively share executive power in the new dispensation. The concern for the future will clearly be for the promotion of equitable development, but it may be superseded by the immediate need to keep everyone on board.73 Despite a reasonably promising inclusive base and a range of representation in the assembly, the elections may still fail to deliver at the last hurdle.

African democracy in peace and war The differences and similarities between peacetime and post-conflict elections Post-conflict elections are rightly seen as extreme cases. Security is of prime concern to the organisers and electorate alike, disarmament and demobilisation are crucial factors. The difficult transformation of predominantly military organisations into political parties, and in some cases, the existence of precarious interim governments,

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exert extra demands on an already overloaded system. The collapse of institutions and infrastructure creates a poor environment within which to ensure adequate voter registration, access to the polls, and free and fair elections. The presence of international bodies further distorts the electoral playing field in terms of the variable provision of security and electoral infrastructure, sometimes barely disguised biases and increasingly frequent attempts to impose post-conflict justice. However, there are some interesting issues that remain within African elections, whatever the circumstances. Indeed, the high stakes are not limited to post-conflict elections, as many African countries between South Africa and the Sahara are weak, patron-cliental, politically and economically over-centralised and poor, with gross gaps in wealth and opportunity and with little political voice emanating from important sectors of society. These states are thus prone to exactly the same kind of conflict. Establishing a need for considerations similar to those suggested for post-conflict elections would appear to be a worthwhile exercise. The main differences for peacetime African elections must be that security is not such a stark issue, there are no military groups to include or exclude, and the need to address grievances is not so immediate. An indigenisation of democracy? In essence, the argument here is to study and consider democratic practices for the post-conflict scenario so that reconciliation and peaceful co-existence become more likely, and to maximise any potential for positive change that has emerged from the conflict. In so doing, it is contended that ex-combatants turned politicians need to be included, that political parties should be bolstered and that constitutional engineering, if carefully adopted, may be beneficial. All these conclusions help to widen representation, in order that reconciliation and the addressing of grievances are more likely. This may well all prove useful in a post-conflict environment, but the considerable amount of work undertaken on the role that democracy does or does not play in the economic development of states, and indeed the very viability

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of the particular Western strand of democracy currently exported to Africa, need also to be taken into consideration.74 Far removed from the Western import encompassing notions of the ‘liberal self’, ‘civil society’ and the separation of the public and private, it has been argued that an indigenisation of democracy has taken place in Africa which has fundamentally affected the ways in which democracy is understood and practised.75 Indeed, it is considered by some that we have witnessed the re-patrimonialisation of African politics, and the subordination of the Weberian state to societal norms more in line with precolonial political structures and in which the colonial era was merely a rather ineffective interlude.76 To many this form of neo-patrimonialism, where resources are re-distributed in an inefficient, inegalitarian and consumptive manner in return for political support, has precluded political stability and economic development within African states, which, defying the predictions of the dependency school of development thinking, has characterised the paths of several formerly impoverished countries in Southeast Asia.77 The idea that economic development is a requirement for the possibility of effective democratic governance, although challenged by later thinking that democracy can lay the foundations for development, remains a strong argument. The cases of South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore are often juxtaposed with most African states, which began the independence period in a similar economic position, but failed even to come close to their impressive subsequent economic performances. Much of this success is attributed to strong states and developmental governments that were, for various historical and structural reasons, insulated from societal demands. Democracy played no part in the unfolding of these pictures, and only emerged after a considerable strengthening of state and economy.78 The two African examples that could conceivably match their Asian counterparts, Botswana and Mauritius, have both achieved their economic status with democratic governments, but again their success has been attributed more to the strength of the state and the insulation of its bureaucracy than to democratic practices. Democracy, it is argued, merely serves to reduce state power and further open it to societal influence, particularly through non-productive,

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consumptive patron-client networks.79 This is especially so during the electoral period, as an immediate and easy means of maintaining support. The pre-colonial patrimonial history of African society, coupled with a colonial experience which often bolstered local hierarchies and did little to foster ideas of Weberian governance, led to a dominant but ultimately weak post-independence state, modelled on a repressive and unrepresentative colonial example, into which societal demands thoroughly penetrate. The peculiar dominance of African governments in resource distribution links up with the desperate need of a poor society to believe there is a way into the distribution network. Out of this environment emerges a neo-patrimonial system where politicians and their voters are locked into a distributional embrace. The barriers between public and private resources are thoroughly broken down. The voters choose their politician in the hope that he or she will deliver the goods, be they personal or communal. The politician is then obliged to reciprocate, without crossing the line of personal consumption of resources, or risk the wrath of the electorate at the next poll. However, as long as the politician to a certain degree fulfils this duty, he or she is then in a prime position to use similar largely unregulated channels for the enrichment of self and of the clientele near the top of the chain. This enfeebled yet dominant state, which has been prefixed with ‘weak’, ‘quasi’, ‘predatory’, ‘vampire’ and ‘shadow’ amongst other epithets, has been shown to be developmentally largely ineffective. Its leaders have been charged with creating an ‘instrumentalisation of disorder’, a useful tool in effecting the state’s other, patron-client activities.80 Democracy has then few attributes that can conceivably address these problems, and ideas of accountability are swallowed up by the logic of patron-clientelism. There is, further, the consideration that elections, by their very oppositional nature, include and exclude certain constituencies, which are often based on ethno-regional cleavages, and increase the likelihood of violence. Although ethno-regional coalitions are often required to win elections, there are still winners who take all, and losers who take nothing into a period of mostly inactivity in opposition. This, in turn, leaves those who voted for the opposition or at the margins of society effectively disenfranchised and bereft of opportunities in a harsh

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economic environment. Where this scenario accompanies a general fall in the standard of living, educational and work opportunities, and the national infrastructure, then conflict becomes more likely. In response, it can be argued that just because democracy and development have rarely coincided before does not mean that it will not happen in future. A case could also be made that a stronger state may emerge from a democratic period, as it has to some extent in Botswana and Mauritius.81 Democracy does not lend itself to the insulation of a strong state, but such an insulated state has barely emerged in sub-Saharan Africa, under a variety of styles of government. Where African governments have shown a degree of autonomy from societal forces, such as in Ghana under the quasi-military and initially fairly popular regime of Jerry Rawlings, the results have still not been spectacular. The level of infiltration of societal mores into state policy and resource distribution is clearly likely to be high in all political circumstances. There are also many cases of regimes in Africa, unchecked by any form of democratic accountability, that have resorted to pathological patron-clientelism, which in turn has reduced the state to rubble. Sierra Leone and Liberia come to mind. It could be suggested that the crudest benefits from electoral democracy are the reduced likelihood of this outcome, given the possibility of removing worst-case leaders.82 The Liberian leader Samuel Doe would have been removed in 1985 if it had not been for gross rigging of the electoral process. The political space is also opened up so that critics, although they have limited resources and independence, can be heard, and governments are forced at least to explain their actions. There is also the accompanying argument that the logic of democratic accountability encourages governments and political parties to think in terms of development as well as of patronage. Education, health and the roads are vote-winners alongside neo-patrimonial resources, while noting, however, that education, health and the roads can also be used as patron-client capital. It is inescapable that democracy erects some obstacles to reasonably even-handed development, which is particularly important in a postconflict situation, and increases some tendencies to conflict. Crucially, though, the imperative in a country emerging from conflict must be reconciliation. Without reconciliation, the chances of peace are far less

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likely, and the chances of development even less so. The widening of political representation, despite its potential effect on the ability of the state to effect policy and the continuance of patron-client politics, is thus on balance beneficial. Further, democratic selection lends a degree of legitimacy to a new government, which can have the effect of allowing some latitude for action, particularly during a potential honeymoon period of relative freedom from societal, chiefly patronclient, influences. This is particularly so if government legitimacy is enhanced by inclusivity and then by inclusive actions. An executive that is not so inclined, may, with a reasonably strong legislature, be pressured into change, or removed later at the ballot box. Events in Liberia and Sierra Leone over the next few years will certainly provide us with more data on this vexing issue. Clearly, there are many areas of African governance and institutional structure that require considerable improvement. The question, here, however, is whether we can apply the post-conflict electoral theory developed above to prevent conflict in still relatively peaceful societies which employ democratic elections. The problem of the articulation of grievances and the plausibility of political actors is not confined to countries emerging from conflict. On a state-by-state basis, it may be worth exploring whether the widening of representation and its political benefits should be valued above the possible economic benefits of a conceivably stronger and more insulated state. Future civil conflicts, as with their predecessors, will be driven more by historical and current grievances in stressed societies, rather than by the usual suspects in the form of rebel-bandits, malevolent external forces or precious minerals in the ground, which will, more likely than not, merely exploit or be exploited in the prevailing conditions. Political considerations, edged into the background of recent attempts at conflict resolution by current legal and moral imperatives, need to be reasserted at the forefront of new endeavours, whether aimed at the prevention or the curtailment of civil conflict.

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NOTES

Chapter 1 Introduction 1. Clearly, this agenda changes across time and organisations, but it is the predominant discourse that is of interest here. 2. Iraq, however, may have done considerable harm to the idea of intervention, whether military, electoral or humanitarian, and notions of sovereignty are now promoted from some quarters in opposition to the US/UK doctrine (MacFarlane, S.N., Thielking, C.J. and Weiss, T.G., ‘The responsibility to protect: is anyone interested in humanitarian intervention?’. Third World Quarterly, 25/5 (2004), p. 977–92). Indeed, in the post-Bush, post-Blair era and with the concurrent rise of China and India, one might see a return to more realist thinking, but this is far from the case yet. 3. Quoted in Associated Press, 2 June 2004. 4. UN Security Council, The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-conflict Societies (New York: UN, 23 August 2004), p. 14. 5. Robertson, G., Crimes Against Humanity: The Struggle for Global Justice (New York: New Press, 2000); Branch, A., ‘International justice, local injustice’. Dissent (Summer 2004), p. 22–6. 6. Duffield, M., Global Governance and the New Wars: The Merging of Development and Security (London: Zed Books, 2001), p. 129. 7. Hunt, T., ‘In the scales of history’. The Guardian, 6 April 2002; Huyse, L., ‘The international community’. In Reconciliation after Violent Conflict: A Handbook (Stockholm: IDEA, 2003), p. 165. 8. Philipson, L., ‘Engaging armed groups: the challenge of asymmetries’. In Ricigliano, R. (ed.) Choosing to Engage: Armed Groups and Peace Processes (London: ACCORD, 2005). 9. Duffield, Global Governance, p. 130.

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10. Slim, H., ‘Doing the right thing: relief agencies, moral dilemmas and moral responsibility in political emergencies and war’. Disasters, 21/3 (1997), p. 38. 11. Olsen, G.R., ‘Europe and the promotion of democracy in post-Cold War Africa: how serious is Europe and for what reason?’. African Affairs, 97/388 (1998) p. 343–67. 12. Gowan, P., The Global Gamble: Washington’s Faustian Bid for World Dominance (London: Verso, 1999). 13. Gibbs, D., ‘The United Nations, international peacekeeping and the question of “impartiality”: revisiting the Congo operation of 1960’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 38/3 (2000), p. 359–82. 14. von Clausewitz, K., On War (London: Viking Penguin, 1982, first published 1832). 15. An extreme version is Robert Kaplan’s thesis; in an article which became influential in some circles he puts forward a neo-Malthusian global future where environmental degradation, cultural and religious schisms, the undermining of cultural values and the inapplicability of nation states will lead inexorably to widespread low-level conflicts. (‘The coming anarchy: how scarcity, crime, over-population and diseases are rapidly destroying our planet’. Atlantic Monthly, February 1994, p. 44–76. 16. Van Crefeld, M., Transformation of War (London: Free Press, 1991); Reno, W., Warlord Politics and African States (Boulder, CO: Rienner, 1998). 17. Kalyvas, S, ‘ “New” and “old” civil wars: a valid distinction?’. World Politics, 54 (2001), p. 109; see also Cramer, C., Civil War Is Not a Stupid Thing: Accounting for Violence in Developing Countries (London: Hurst, 2006), p. 76–80. 18. Ibid. 19. Chabal, P., Amilcar Cabral (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983). 20. Davidson, B., The African Genius (Oxford: James Currey, 1969), p. 22; Davidson, B., No Fist Is Big Enough to Hide the Sky: The Liberation of GuineaBissau and Cape Verde (London: Zed Books, 1981), p. 73. 21. Buijtenhuijs, R., ‘Peasant wars in Africa: gone with the wind?’. In Bryceson, C., Kay, C. and Mooij, J. (eds.), Disappearing Peasantries? Rural Labour in Africa, Asia and Latin America (London: Intermediate Technology Publications, 2000). 22. Ellis, S., ‘The old roots of Africa’s new wars’. Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft (February 2003), p. 29–43. 23. Mary Kaldor is a leading advocate of this thinking, based on a Bosnia paradigm; see her New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era (Cambridge: Polity, 1999). 24. Ibid, p. 8. 25. Lemarchand, R., Burundi: Ethnic Conflict and Genocide (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 3.

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26. Cramer, C., ‘Homo Economicus goes to war: methodological individualism, rational choice and the political economy of war’. World Development, 30/11 (2002), p. 1854. 27. Kaldor, New and Old Wars, p. 9. 28. Ibid, p. 53. 29. David Keen, in The Economic Functions of Violence in Civil Wars (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), emphasises the changes since the end of the Cold War; Paul Collier, however, derives his conclusions from analysing wars around the globe since 1965, using quantitative methods. See his article ‘Doing well out of war: an economic perspective’. In Berdal, M. and Malone, D. (eds.), Greed and Grievance: Economic Agendas in Civil Wars (Boulder, CO: Rienner, 2000), and, with Anke Hoeffler, his Justice-seeking and Loot-seeking in Civil War (Washington, DC: World Bank, 1999). 30. Hirshleifer, J., ‘The dark side of the force’. Economic Enquiry, 32, p. 1–10; see Cramer, ‘Homo Economicus’, for an overview of the arguments. 31. Collier, ‘Doing well out of war’. 32. Ibid, p. 91. 33. Ibid, p. 93–4. 34. Herbst, J., ‘Economic incentives, natural resources and conflict in Africa’. Journal of African Economies, 9/3 (2000), p. 276; Michael Ross concludes that ‘“lootable” commodities like gemstones and drugs do not make conflict more likely to begin, but they tend to lengthen existing conflicts’. See his article ‘What do we know about natural resources and civil war?’. Journal of Peace Research, 41/3 (2004), p. 337. There is, however, much evidence that resourcewealthy states perform less well than their counterparts; see Ross, M., ‘The political economy of the resource curse’. World Politics, 51 (1999), p. 297–322, for an overview of the negative effects of resource abundance on states. 35. Collier, ‘Doing well out of war’, p. 105. 36. Kalyvas, ‘ “New” and “old” civil wars’, p. 104; Korf, B, ‘Cargo cult science, armchair empiricism and the idea of violent conflict’. Third World Quarterly, 27/3 (2006), p. 459. 37. Herbst, ‘Economic incentives’. 38. Clapham, C., ‘Introduction: analysing African insurgencies’. In Clapham (ed.), African Guerrillas (Oxford: James Currey, 1998), p. 13. 39. Richards, P., Fighting for the Rainforest: War, Youth and Resources in Sierra Leone (Oxford: International African Institute, 1996). 40. Idem, ‘Green Book millenarians? The Sierra Leone war within the perspective of an anthropology of religion’. In Kastfelt, N. (ed.), Religion and African Civil Wars (London: Hurst, 2005a).

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41. Kalyvas, ‘ “New” and “old” civil wars’. 42. See also Van Acker, F., ‘Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army: the new order that no-one ordered’. African Affairs, 103/412 (2004), p. 335–57. 43. Hobsbawm, E.J., Bandits (London: Penguin, 1972). 44. Mkandawire, T., ‘The terrible toll of post-colonial “rebel movements” in Africa: toward an explanation of the violence against the peasantry’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 40/2 (2002), p. 181–215. 45. Ellis, S., ‘Violence and history: a response to Thandika Mkandawire’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 41/3 (2003), p. 457–75. 46. Richards, P., ‘To fight or to farm? Agrarian dimensions of the Mano River conflicts (Liberia and Sierra Leone)’. African Affairs, 104/417 (2005b), p. 571–90. 47. Hoffman, D., ‘The civilian target in Sierra Leone and Liberia: political power, military strategy and humanitarian intervention’. African Affairs, 103/411 (2004), p. 211–26. 48. Van Acker, ‘Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army’. 49. Manning, C., ‘Constructing opposition in Mozambique’. Journal of Southern African Studies, 24/1 (1998), p. 170. 50. Jackson, R., ‘Violent internal conflict and the African state: toward a framework of analysis’. Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 20/1 (2002), p. 29–52. 51. Migdal, J., Strong States and Weak Societies (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988). 52. Chabal, P. and Daloz, J.-P., Africa Works: Disorder as Political Instrument (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1999); see below for more on this subject relative to democracy. 53. The concept of state bifurcation is taken from Mamdani, M., Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996). 54. Cramer, ‘Homo Economicus’, p. 1857; see also Reyntjens, F., ‘The privatisation and criminalisation of public space in the geopolitics of the Great Lakes region’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 43/4 (2005), p. 587–607. 55. Duffield, Global Governance, p. 115. 56. Cramer, Civil War Is Not a Stupid Thing: Exploring Growth, Distribution and Conflict Linkages (London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 1997). 57. Clapham, ‘Introduction’, p. 5. 58. Cramer, Civil War (1997), p. 14. 59. For a good overview see Ballentine, K., ‘Beyond greed and grievance: reconsidering the economic dynamics of armed conflict’. In Ballentine and Sherman, J. (eds.), The Political Economy of Armed Conflict: Beyond Greed and Grievance (Boulder, CO: Rienner, 2003).

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60. Keen, D., ‘Incentives and disincentives for violence’. In Berdal and Malone Greed and Grievance, p. 39. 61. Kuzio, T., ‘Transition in post-Communist states: triple or quadruple?’. Politics, 21/3 (2001), p. 169–78. 62. E.g. Lipset, S., Political Man (New York: Anchor Books, 1960); Moore, B., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966); Huntington, S., The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991). 63. Some accounts of the time are very prescriptive, others less so. Barrington Moore based his work on the study of historical dynamics and sequences, with which he endeavours to explain the rise of democracies and dictatorships. See Rueschmeyer, D., Stevens, E. and Stevens, J., Capitalist Development and Democracy (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1992), for an overview and an analysis of the pessimistic and optimistic strands of this debate. 64. Jeffries, R., ‘The state, structural adjustment and good government in Africa’. Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, 31/1 (1993), p. 20–35; Kuzio, ‘Transition in post-Communist states’, with its emphasis on a priori state-, nation- and market-building; Chabal, P., ‘The quest for good government and development in Africa; is NEPAD the answer?’. International Affairs, 78/3 (2002), p. 447–62. 65. Sub-Saharan Africa: From Crisis to Sustainable Growth (Washington, DC: World Bank, 1989); Anyang Nyong’o, P., ‘Democratization processes in Africa’. Review of African Political Economy, 54, (1992), p. 97–102. 66. van Binsbergen, W., ‘Aspects of democracy and democratisation in Zambia and Botswana: exploring African political culture at the grassroots’. Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 13/1 (1995), p. 3–33. 67. Ihonvbere, J., ‘Where is the Third Wave? A critical evaluation of Africa’s non-transition to democracy’. In Mbaku, J.M. and Ihonvbere (eds.), Multiparty Democracy and Political Change: Constraints to Democratisation in Africa (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998). 68. See Bratton, M., and van de Walle, N. (eds.), Democratic Experiments in Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), for variations in democratisation. 69. Young, T., ‘Elections and electoral politics in Africa’. Africa, 63/3 (1993), p. 299–312. 70. E.g. Jeffries, R. and Thomas, C., ‘The Ghanaian elections of 1992’. African Affairs, 92/368 (1993), p. 331–66; Jeffries, R., ‘The Ghanaian elections of 1996: towards the consolidation of democracy?’. African Affairs, 97/387 (1998), p. 189–208; Kees van Donge, J., ‘Reflections on donors, opposition

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71. 72.

73. 74.

75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81.

82.

83.

84.

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and political will in the 1996 Zambian general elections’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 36/1 (1998), p. 71–99. Museveni, Y., Sowing the Mustard Seed (London, Macmillan, 1997). Boone, C., ‘ “Empirical statehood” and reconfigurations of political order’. In Villalon, L. and Huxtable, P. (eds.), The African State at a Critical Juncture – Between Disintegration and Reconfiguration (Boulder, CO: Rienner, 1998). Jeffries and Thomas, ‘The Ghanaian elections of 1992’; Jeffries, ‘The Ghanaian elections of 1996’. See particularly Mattes, R. and Gouws, A., ‘Race, ethnicity and voting behaviour: lessons from South Africa’. In Sisk, T. and Reynolds, A. (eds.), Elections and Conflict Management in Africa (Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace, 1998); but see also Diamond, L., Prospects for Democratic Development in Africa (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution, 1997), for a more cautious assessment. Ayers, A., ‘Demystifying democratisation: the global constitution of (neo) liberal polities in Africa’. Third World Quarterly, 27/2 (2006), p. 321. See e.g. Kasfir, N. (ed.), Civil Society and Democracy in Africa: Critical Perspectives (London: Cass, 1998). Young, T. ‘ “A project to be realised”: global liberalism and contemporary Africa’. Millennium, 24/3 (1995), p. 527–46. Karlstrom, M., ‘Imagining democracy: political culture and democratisation in Buganda’. Africa 66/4 (1996), p. 485–505. van Binsbergen, ‘Aspects of democracy’. Ake, C., The Feasibility of Democracy in Africa (Dakar, CODESRIA, 2000). Ferme, M., ‘The violence of numbers: consensus, competition, and the negotiation of disputes in Sierra Leone’. Cahiers d’Études africaines, 150/38–2-4 (1998), p. 557. E.g. Goulbourne, H., ‘The state, development and the need for participatory democracy in Africa’. In Nyong’o, P.A. (ed.), Popular Struggles for Democracy in Africa (London: Zed Books, 1987); Ake: The Feasibility of Democracy; Good, K., The Liberal Model and Africa: Elites against Democracy (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002). See Karlstrom, Imagining democracy; Golooba-Mutebi, F., The dynamics of local democracy in Uganda, 1985–1996 (London: Institute of Commonwealth Studies, 1998); and Carbone, G., No-Party Democracy? Ugandan Politics in Comparative Perspective (Boulder, CO: Rienner, 2008). Osaghae, E., ‘The role of civil society in consolidating democracy: an African comparative perspective’. Africa Insight, 27/1 (1997); Glickman, H., ‘Ethnicity, elections, and constitutional democracy in Africa’. In Sisk and

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85. 86. 87. 88. 89.

90.

91. 92. 93.

94. 95. 96. 97.

98. 99.

100. 101.

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Reynolds (eds.), Elections and Conflict Mangement; Ottaway, M., ‘Ethnic politics in Africa: change and continuity’. In Joseph, R. (ed.), State, Conflict, and Democracy in Africa (Boulder, CO: Rienner, 1999). Young, C., ‘The Third Wave of democratisation in Africa: ambiguities and contradictions’. In Joseph (ed.), State, Conflict, and Democracy. Young, C., ‘Revisiting nationalism and ethnicity in Africa’. (Los Angeles, CA: James S. Coleman African Studies Center, 2004). Horowitz, D., Ethnic Groups in Conflict (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1985). Mkandawire, T., ‘Crisis management and the making of “choiceless democracies” ’. In Joseph (ed.) State, Conflict, and Democracy. See Olukoshi, A., ‘Economic crisis, multipartyism and opposition politics in contemporary Africa’. In Olukoshi (ed.), The Politics of Opposition in Contemporary Africa (Uppsala: Nordiska Africainstitutet, 1998). Lindberg, S.I., ‘ “It’s our time to chop”: do elections in Africa feed neopatrimonialism rather than counteract it?’. Democratization, 10/2 (2003), p. 121–40. Jeffries, ‘The Ghanaian elections of 1996’. Ellis, S., ‘Tuning in to pavement radio’. African Affairs, 88/352 (1989), p. 321–30. Hayward, F., ‘A reassessment of conventional wisdom about the informed public: national political information in Ghana’. American Political Science Review, 70 (1976), p. 433–51. Schaffer, F., Democracy in Translation: Understanding Politics in an Unfamiliar Culture (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998), p. 139. Schatzberg, M., Political Legitimacy in Middle Africa: Father, Family, Food (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2001). Ibid. van de Walle, N., ‘Presidentialism and clientelism in Africa’s emerging party systems’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 41/2 (2003), p. 297–321. Quoted in Jackson, M., In Sierra Leone (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004), p. 164–5. Crook, R., ‘Winning coalitions and ethno-regional politics: the failure of the opposition in the 1990 and 1995 elections in Côte d’Ivoire’. African Affairs 96/383 (1997), p. 215–42. van de Walle, N., African Economies and the Politics of Permanent Crisis, 1979– 1999 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), p. 261. Both sides of the argument are detailed by Joel Barkan and Andrew Reynolds, in Sisk and Reynolds (eds.), Elections and Conflict Management; Katz, R.S.,

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102. 103. 104. 105.

106.

107.

108. 109. 110.

111.

112. 113. 114. 115.

116.

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‘Democratic principles and judging “free and fair” ’. Representation, 41/3 (2005), p. 161–79. Lijphart, A., Democracy in Plural Societies (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1977). Idem, Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999). Bogaards, M., ‘Crafting competitive party systems: electoral laws and the opposition in Africa’. Democratization, 7/4 (2000), p. 163–90. Self-determination can be an almost insurmountable problem, but as secessionism has not been a factor in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the prize of central power being of the utmost priority, the issue is not considered here; it is merely noted that it can assume considerable proportions, such as in post-conflict Ethiopia. Kumar, K. and Ottaway, M., ‘General conclusions and priorities for policy research’. In Kumar (ed.), Postconflict Elections, Democratization & International Assistance (Boulder, CO: Rienner, 1998). Zartman, I.W., ‘Putting things back together’. In Zartman (ed.), Collapsed States: the Disintegration and Restoration of Legitimate Authority (Boulder, CO: Rienner, 1995). Rothchild, D., ‘Ethnic insecurity, peace agreements, and state building’. In Joseph, State, Conflict, and Democracy. Ottaway, M., ‘Democratisation in collapsed states’. In Zartman (ed.), Collapsed States. Adedeji, A. (ed.), Comprehending and Mastering African Conflicts: the Search for Sustainable Peace and Good Governance (London: ACDESS and Zed Books, 1999). Sawyer, A., ‘Violent conflicts and governance challenges in West Africa: the case of the Mano River Basin area’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 42/3 (2004), p. 437–63. Kumar and Ottaway, ‘General conclusions’. Ottaway, ‘Ethnic politics’ Zartman, ‘Putting things back together’. Terrence Lyons, for instance, does focus on the demilitarisation of politics, i.e. on interim institutions, demobilisation and the transformation of military organisations, but does not take into account the role of international discourse and justice. See his Demilitarizing Politics: Elections on the Uncertain Road to Peace (Boulder, CO: Rienner, 2005). Clapham, C., Liberia and Sierra Leone: An Essay in Comparative Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976); Richards, P., ‘Rebellion in Liberia and Sierra Leone: a crisis of youth?’ In Furley, O. (ed.), Conflict in Africa (London: I.B.Tauris, 1995); Reno, Warlord Politics.

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Chapter 2 The Long Road to Conflict in Sierra Leone and Liberia 1. Harper, T.N., ‘Learning to talk: the lingua franca of colonialism’. In Hopkins, A.G. (ed.), Empire, Diaspora and the Languages of Globalism, 1850– 1914 (London: Pimlico, 2002), p. 151. 2. ‘Creole’ is not defined here in any racial terms. Creoles are taken to be a reasonably cohesive social group which is acknowledged, in the cases considered here, as African, but is striking in its cultural and linguistic difference from the mass of the population, and in the fact that its mores are partially derived from the colonial metropole or from another non-African society. It is also seen as substantially, although not completely, different from white settlers in southern Africa, in that divisions in society have never hardened to anything like the same degree and in that many, though not all, white settlers had a motherland to which they could return. 3. Akus, formerly Yoruba-speaking liberated Africans, are sometimes regarded as an entirely separate group to Krios because of their differentiated culture and religion. 4. Although Barbara Harrell Bond and David Skinner, in their article ‘Misunderstandings arising from the use of the term “Creole” in the literature on Sierra Leone’. Africa, 47/3 (1977), p. 305–20, suggest that Creoles did not become politically or socially unified until the 1960s; conversely, Arthur Porter, in his Creoledom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963), suggests that Krios had largely integrated by the 1960s; many others, however, see considerable important and longstanding distinctions. 5. Wyse, A., H.C. Bankole-Bright and Politics in Colonial Sierra Leone 1919–1958 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 16. 6. One particular conversation with an elderly Krio man revealed to the author some very favourable opinions about the British monarchy, and several facts about the Queen’s birthday celebrations that the author, a British subject, was completely unaware of (Freetown, 3 June 2002). 7. Caulker, P., The Autochthonous Peoples, British Colonial Policies, and the Creoles in Sierra Leone: The Genesis of the Modern Sierra Leone Dilemma of National Integration (Ann Arbor, MI: Temple University, 1976), p. 3. 8. Fyfe, C., A Short History of Sierra Leone (London: Longman, 1979), p. 100. 9. Wyse, H.C. Bankole-Bright, p. 29. 10. Cohen, A., The Politics of Elite Culture: Explorations in the Dramaturgy of Power in a Modern African Society (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1981), p. 129–36. 11. Ibid, p. 190,

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12. Fyfe, C., ‘1787–1887-1987: reflections on a Sierra Leone bicentenary’. In Fyfe (ed.), Sierra Leone 1787–1987: Two Centuries of Intellectual Life (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987), p. 417; Wyse, H.C. Bankole-Bright, p. 29. 13. Keen, D., Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone (Oxford: Currey, 2005), p. 125. 14. Kilson, M., Political Change in a West African State: A Study of the Modernization Process in Sierra Leone (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966), p. 40. 15. Abraham, A., Mende Government and Politics under Colonial Rule (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 244–65. 16. Fanthorpe, R., ‘Locating the politics of a Sierra Leonean chiefdom’. Africa, 68/4 (1998), p. 558–83. 17. Cartwright, J., Political Leadership in Sierra Leone (Toronto: Toronto Press, 1978), p. 61. 18. Fanthorpe, R., ‘Neither citizen nor subject? Lumpen agency and the legacy of native administration in Sierra Leone’. African Affairs, 100/400 (2001), p. 363–86. 19. Tangri, R., ‘Conflict and violence in contemporary Sierra Leone chiefdoms’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 14/2 (1976), p. 311–21. 20. Kilson, Political Change, p. 59. 21. Ibid, p. 233. 22. Cohen, The Politics of Elite Culture, p. xix. 23. Wyse, A., The Krio of Sierra Leone: An Interpretive History (London: Hurst, 1989), p. 116. 24. Cartwright, Political Leadership, p. 93. 25. Ibid, p. 95. 26. Mamdani, Citizen and Subject. 27. Few have much to say about this interplay, but a reading of Yoder, J.C., Popular Political Culture, Civil Society, and State Crisis in Liberia (New York: Mellen, 2003), or of Bayart, J.-F., The State in Africa: The Politics of the Belly (London: Longman, 1993) would suggest either a convergence of political logic or a re-assertion of pre-colonial patterns of rule. 28. Fyfe, ‘1787–1887-1987’, p. 417. 29. See Mamdani, Citizen and Subject, p. 25–7, for an analysis of the results of radical and conservative postcolonial government policies on the colonial bifurcation of the state. 30. Levitt, J., The Evolution of Deadly Conflict in Liberia: From ‘Paternaltarianism’ to State Collapse (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic, 2005). 31. Author’s observations, Virginia and Monrovia, September–November 2005.

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32. Sawyer, A., Beyond Plunder: Toward Democratic Governance in Liberia (Boulder, CO: Rienner, 2005), p. 14. 33. Yoder, Popular Political Culture, p. 82. 34. Burrowes, C.P., The Americo-Liberian Ruling Class and Other Myths: A Critique of Political Science in the Liberian Context (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University, 1989), p. 44. 35. Gershoni, Y., Black Colonialism (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1985), p. 61–3. 36. Ibid, p. 102. 37. Clower, R., Dalton, G., Harwitz, M. and Walters, A.A., Growth without Development: An Economic Survey of Liberia (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1966), p. 4, 10. 38. Ibid, p. 23. 39. Liebenow, J., Liberia: The Quest for Democracy (Bloomington, IN: University of Indiana Press, 1987), p. 63. 40. Clower, Growth without Development, p. 99. 41. Liebenow, Liberia, p. 78. 42. Ibid. 43. Sawyer, A. and Mayson, D.T., ‘Labour in Liberia’. Review of African Political Economy, 7/14 (1980), p. 6. 44. Clower, Growth without Development, p. iv, 75. 45. Liebenow, Liberia, p. 6. 46. Fahnbulleh, H.B., Jr., The Diplomacy of Prejudice (New York: Vantage, 1985). 47. Liebenow, Liberia, p. 92. 48. Clower, Growth without Development, p. 12. 49. See Sawyer and Mayson, ‘Labour in Liberia’; Gifford, P., Christianity and Politics in Doe’s Liberia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993). 50. Burrowes, The Americo-Liberian Ruling Class. 51. In their autobiographies, the US Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and James Baker managed not one mention of Liberia. See Pham, J.-P., Liberia: Portrait of a Failed State (New York: Reed, 2004), p. 195. 52. Liebenow, Liberia, p. 170, quoting statistics from Tolbert’s own Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs. 53. Sawyer and Mayson, ‘Labour in Liberia’, p. 13. 54. Clapham, Liberia and Sierra Leone, p. 97. 55. Burrowes, The Americo-Liberian Ruling Class. 56. Yoder, Popular Political Culture, p. 85; Levitt (in The Evolution, p. 246), however, ranks the ‘diametrically opposed principles on which settlerindigenous societies were founded’ first in his list of causes of the early Liberian conflicts.

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57. Yoder, Popular Political Culture, p. 93. 58. Sawyer, Beyond Plunder, p. 19. 59. Reno, W., Corruption and State Politics in Sierra Leone (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). 60. Hayward, F., ‘Sierra Leone: state consolidation, fragmentation and decay’. In Cruise O’Brien, D., Dunn, J., and Rathbone, R. (eds.), Contemporary West African States (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989). 61. Fanthorpe, ‘Neither citizen’, p. 381; Tangri, R., ‘Central-local politics in contemporary Sierra Leone’. African Affairs, 77/307 (1978), p. 165–73. 62. Richards, P., ‘Green Book millenarians? The Sierra Leone war within the perspective of an anthropology of religion’. In Kastfelt, N. (ed.), Religion and African Civil Wars (London: Hurst, 2005a), p. 123. 63. Forna, A., The Devil that Danced on Water: A Daughter’s Memoir (London: Flamingo, 2002). 64. Reno, Corruption. 65. Jackson, R. and Rosberg, C., Personal Rule in Black Africa: Prince, Autocrat, Prophet, Tyrant (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1982). 66. Hayward, F. and Kandeh, J., ‘Perspectives on twenty-five years of elections in Sierra Leone’. In Hayward, F. (ed.), Elections in Independent Africa (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1987); Fisher, H., ‘Elections and coups in Sierra Leone, 1967’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 7/4 (1969), p. 611–36. 67. Cartwright, Political Leadership, p. 73. 68. Ibid. 69. Hayward and Kandeh, ‘Perspectives’. 70. Mandingos were privileged by Liberian governments as far back as the King administration in the 1920s (Yoder, Popular Political Culture), but it was with Tubman and then Doe that their advantages particularly grew. 71. Konneh, A., Religion, Commerce and the Integration of the Mandingo in Liberia (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1996), p. 138. 72. Liebenow, Liberia, p. 208. 73. Ibid, p. 303. 74. Clapham, C., ‘Liberia’. In Cruise O’Brien et al (eds.), Contemporary West African States, p. 106. 75. Well documented in Berkeley, B., Liberia: A Promise Betrayed (New York: Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, 1986). 76. Ibid, p. 7. 77. Ibid, p. 107. 78. Liebenow, Liberia, p. 288. 79. Berkeley, Liberia, p. 103–4. 80. Liebenow, Liberia, p. 293.

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Ibid, p. 295; Berkeley, Liberia, p. 117. Clapham, ‘Liberia’, p.106; Berkeley, Liberia, p. 117. Ibid, p. 167–8. Quoted in ibid, p. 6. Quoted in Liebenow, Liberia, p. 305. Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report (Freetown, October 2004). Jackson and Rosberg, Personal Rule in Black Africa.

Chapter 3 Sierra Leone – War and Peace 1. Norman was later to lead the combined Civil Defence Force (CDF) and to become first Deputy Defence Minister, then Interior Minister, before being indicted by the Sierra Leone Special Court (SLSC) in 2003. 2. Fithen, C., ‘Rebellion, resistance and resources’. (Oxford: ‘State Conflict and Intervention in Sierra Leone’ conference, May 2000). 3. Koroma came back to the SLPP government side in late 1999, and subsequently became Chairman of the Commission for the Consolidation of Peace and after the 2002 elections a member of parliament. He disappeared in January 2003 immediately prior to his indictment by the SLSC. 4. Gberie, L., A Dirty War in West Africa: The RUF and the Destruction of Sierra Leone (London: Hurst, 2005), p. 7 5. Partnership Africa Canada, The Heart of the Matter: Sierra Leone, Diamonds and Human Security (Ottawa: PAC, 2000). 6. Ibrahim Kamara, quoted on Sierra Leone Web, 5 July 2000. 7. In the first instance, e.g. Reno, W., ‘No peace for Sierra Leone’. Review of African Political Economy, 27/84 (2000), p. 325–9; and in the second, e.g. Collier, ‘Doing well out of war’. 8. Richards, P., ‘Youth, food and peace: a reflection on some African security issues at the millennium’. In Zack-Williams, T., Frost, D. and Thomson, A. (eds.), Africa in Crisis: New Challenges and Possibilities (London: Pluto, 2002a), p. 36; see also idem, Fighting for the Rainforest. 9. This is a wider version of youth than the ‘lumpen’ element, described in Abdullah, I., ‘Bush path to destruction: the origin and character of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF/SL)’. Africa Development 22/3–4 (1997), p. 45–76, and discussed below. 10. Richards, P., ‘Converts to human rights? Popular debate about war and justice in rural central Sierra Leone’. Africa, 72/3 (2002b) p. 345. 11. Fanthorpe, ‘Neither citizen nor subject?’. 12. Ibid, p. 385. 13. Keen, Conflict and Collusion, p. 20.

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258 14. 15. 16. 17.

18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43.

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Richards, ‘To fight or to farm?’. Keen, Conflict and Collusion, p. 7. Jackson, In Sierra Leone, p. 149–50. Michael Ross concludes that ‘the association between primary commodities . . . and the onset of civil war is not robust’. See his article ‘What do we know about natural resources and civil war?’. Journal of Peace Research, 41/3 (2004), p. 337. Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report (Freetown, October 2004). Richards, Fighting for the Rainforest, p. 33. Idem, ‘Converts to human rights?’, p. 357. Abdullah, ‘Bush path to destruction’. See Peters, K. and Richards, P., ‘Understanding Post-Cold War Armed Conflicts in Africa’. Africa, 77/3 (2007). Richards, ‘Green Book millenarians?’, p. 120. Keen, Conflict and Collusion, p. 56. Bangura, Y., ‘Strategic policy failure and governance in Sierra Leone’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 38/4 (2000), p. 551–77. Abdullah, ‘Bush path to destruction’. Kandeh, J., ‘Subaltern terror in Sierra Leone’. In Zack-Williams et al (eds.), Africa in Crisis. Abdullah, ‘Bush path to destruction’. Richards, ‘To fight or to farm?’. Idem, ‘Converts to human rights?’. Manning, C., ‘Constructing opposition in Mozambique’. Journal of Southern African Studies, 24/1 (1998), p. 170. TRC Report. Ellis, S., The Mask of Anarchy: The Destruction of Liberia and the Religious Dimension of an African Civil War (London: Hurst, 1999). Ferme, M., The Underneath of Things: Violence, History and the Everyday in Sierra Leone (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2001). Richards, ‘Green Book millenarians?’. M’Bayo, T., ‘Review of Marianne Ferme, The Underneath of Things’, H-Net (2003). Mkandawire, ‘The terrible toll’. Richards, ‘Converts to human rights?’, p. 351. Ibid, p. 356. Keen, Conflict and Collusion, p. 56. See Sorious Samora’s documentary, Cry Freetown (CNN, 1999). As suggested in Hoffman, ‘The civilian target’. Richards, ‘Converts to human rights?’, p. 357.

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44. Abdullah, I. and Muana, P., ‘The RUF of Sierra Leone’. In Clapham (ed.), African Guerrillas, p. 187; and Focus on Sierra Leone, 3/1 (1997). 45. Author’s interview with Alimamy Pallo Bangura, Freetown, 21 May 2002. 46. Abdullah, ‘Bush path to destruction’. 47. For the junior-officer emphasis, see Riley, S., ‘Sierra Leone: the militariat strikes again’. Review of African Political Economy, 24/72 (1997), p. 287–92; for a lumpen explanation, see Gberie, L., ‘The May 25 coup d’état in Sierra Leone: a militariat revolt?’. Africa Development, 22/3–4 (1997), p. 149–70. 48. Reno, Corruption. 49. Herbst, J., ‘Economic incentives, natural resources and conflict in Africa’. Journal of African Economies, 9/3 (2000), p. 270–94. 50. TRC Report.

Chapter 4 Sierra Leone – The 1996 and 2002 Elections 1. Commonwealth Observer Group, The Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Sierra Leone (London: COG, 1996), p. 18. 2. Ibid, p. 17. 3. INEC (1996); Jimmy Kandeh, however, (in his article ‘Transition without rupture: Sierra Leone’s transfer election of 1996’. African Studies Review, 41/2 (1998), p. 105) states that INEC’s initial computer printouts gave a voter turnout of 345 per cent in Pujehun, 155 per cent in Bonthe, 139 per cent in Kailahun, 117 per cent in Kenema and 90 per cent in Bo. 4. Author’s interview with former INEC Commissioner for the Western Area (later INEC Chairman), Dr Ahmed Fadlu-Deen, Freetown, 16 April 2002. Fadlu-Deen considered that the end result was fair, whereas the INEC Commissioner for the Northern Province at the time, Almami Cyllah, was convinced of its partiality, as in his view the results from each district with excess votes should have been disqualified (author’s interview, Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, 10 October 2005). After the elections, Jonah became a diplomat, then an SLPP cabinet minister. 5. Commonwealth Observer Group, The Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, p. 13. 6. Kandeh, ‘Transition without rupture’. 7. Ibid, p. 91. 8. Ibid; Bangura, ‘Strategic policy failure’, p. 568. 9. Kandeh: ‘Transition without rupture’. 10. Ibid. 11. Bangura, ‘Strategic policy failure’, p. 553.

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12. Garcia, E. (ed.), A Time of Hope and Transformation: Sierra Leone Peace Process, Reports and Reflections (London: International Alert, 1997), p. 16. 13. Campaign for Good Governance, Report on the Electoral Process in Sierra Leone, March 2001–May 2002 (Freetown: CGG, August 2002), p. 10–20. 14. See Harris, D., ‘Post-conflict elections or post-elections conflict: Sierra Leone 2002 and patterns of voting in sub-Saharan Africa’. Cadernos de Estudos Africanos, 5/6 (2003/4), p. 39–49. 15. International Crisis Group, Sierra Leone after Elections: Politics as Usual? (Freetown and Brussels: ICG, July 2002), p. 9. 16. Ibid, p. 9. 17. Author’s interview with Victor Foh, Bo, 1 May 2002, corroborated by members of the public. 18. For di People, 21 May 2002; Commonwealth Observer Group, The Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, p. 19; Peep!, 3 May 2002. 19. European Union, Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Sierra Leone: Preliminary Statement. (Freetown: EU, 15 May 2002). 20. Author’s observations, Port Loko, 23–6 April 2002, and Bo, 30 April–2 May 2002. 21. For di People. 22. Ferme, The Underneath of Things; author’s interview with Dr Dennis Bright (later to become Minister of Youth & Sports), Freetown, 3 May 2002. 23. European Union, Presidential and Parliamenary Elections. 24. Campaign for Good Governance, Leh di Pipul dem Tok (Freetown: CGG, December 2001). 25. Idem, The Voter Registration Process (Freetown: CGG, February 2002), p. 3. 26. High Commission of the UK to Sierra Leone, press release (Freetown, 11 March 2002); Embassy of the United States to Sierra Leone, press release (Freetown, 12 March 2002). 27. Author’s interview with NEC Commissioner for the Southern Region, Francis Hindowa, Bo, 1 May 2002; he was later tried and convicted for corruption. 28. Author’s interview, Freetown, 26 April 2002. 29. For another version of this confused story, see International Crisis Group, Sierra Leone after Elections, p. 5–6. 30. Campaign for Good Government, Report on the Electoral Process, p. 22; For di People. 31. Radio interview with NEC chairman Walter Nicol, 18 May 2002. 32. Author’s interview, Freetown, 21 May 2002. 33. Africa Confidential, 31 May 2002. 34. National Election Watch, Interim Report on May 14, 2002 Election in Sierra Leone (Freetown, 27 May 2002); author’s interview with NEW chairman Rev. Llewellyn Rogers-Wright, Freetown, 8 May 2002.

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35. Author’s interview with APC Secretary General Osman Yansaneh, Freetown, 29 April 2002. 36. There is no familial relation between either the two presidential candidates called Koroma, or the two named Bangura. 37. Author’s interviews at YPP headquarters, Freetown, 29 April 2002. 38. Author’s interviews with ex-combatant RUFP candidates, Bo, 1 May 2002, e.g. Mohammed Sowa and Patrick Kamara, who were numbers three and six on the RUFP Pujehun list. Their primary concerns were their ongoing retraining as carpenters and putting together a ‘project’ with which to attract NGO funding. 39. Author’s interview with Alimamy Pallo Bangura, Freetown, 21 May 2002. 40. Author’s interview with APC Secretary General Osman Yansaneh. 41. Author’s observations, Freetown, 9 and 11 May 2002. 42. Author’s interview with Victor Foh. 43. Kandeh, ‘Transition without rupture’. 44. Author’s interview with Ricken Patel, Advisor to MOP, Freetown, 27 April 2002. 45. Author’s interview with Alimamy Pallo Bangura. 46. Author’s interview with BBC correspondent Lansana Fofana, Freetown, 26 April 2002. 47. E.g. the Presidential Candidates Debate, Freetown, 19 April 2002. 48. Author’s interview with Alimamy Pallo Bangura. 49. Ibid. 50. Quoted in Sierra Leone Web, 13 March 2003. 51. Author’s interview with Alimamy Pallo Bangura. 52. Author’s interview with PLP Secretary-General (and presidential candidate in 2007) Dr Kandeh Baba Conteh, and parliamentary candidate Mohammed Idriss, Freetown, 10 May 2002. 53. Author’s observations, Freetown, April–May 2002. 54. Commonwealth Observer Group, Sierra Leone, p. 18. 55. Quoted in Awoko, Freetown, 27 January 2003. 56. E.g. author’s interview with Dr Dennis Bright, Freetown, 3 May 2002. 57. International Crisis Group, Sierra Leone after Elections, p. 20. 58. Presidential address, 19 May 2002. 59. Fanthorpe, R., Humanitarian Aid in Post-War Sierra Leone: The Politics of Moral Economy (London: Overseas Development Institute, 2003). 60. Thomson, B., Sierra Leone: Reform or Relapse? Conflict and Governance Reform (London: Chatham House, 2007), p. 23. 61. ‘Lebanese’ is commonly used in Sierra Leone as a catch-all term for people of Middle East extraction, including those of mixed African and Middle Eastern descent.

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62. Thomson, Sierra Leone, p. 15. 63. Ibid, p. 17. 64. In the author’s interviews with an officer from the International Military Advisory and Training Team (IMATT), London, 15 June 2004 and 26 April 2006, he suggested that IMATT’s work in re-building and re-orienting the RSLAF had had some success in professionalising the lower ranks, including junior officers, but was hampered by the presence of longstanding senior officers, in terms of both corruption and political partiality. 65. International Crisis Group, Liberia and Sierra Leone: Rebuilding Failed States (Dakar and Brussels: ICG, December 2004), p. 18. 66. Kabbah was constitutionally required to step down after two terms in office. 67. The former instances were related to the author by an NDI observer and the latter by an EU observer, September 2007. See also the NDI and EU Preliminary Reports, both 10 September 2007. 68. The author also witnessed extraordinarily high official turnouts in rural Kenema in the middle of the day. At Joru, near the Liberian border, shortly after midday, the author estimated the turnout according to the registration book to be approximately 90 per cent. When questioned about turnout, one member of the polling staff indicated that there were many who had yet to vote; he was quickly corrected by his colleagues. Other NDI and EU observers related similar and sometimes more blatant endeavours to the author. 69. Author’s observations, September 2007. 70. The total votes counted in the run-off were 1,783,851 (of which 1,740,058 were valid) – a turnout of 68 per cent – but these figures do not include the returns from the 477 invalidated polling stations. 71. Radio interview with MOP presidential candidate Zainab Bangura, 20 May 2002. 72. Charles Taylor was not the incumbent president of Liberia, but was able to assume that role due to his long-term control over large swathes of the country. 73. Alimamy Pallo Bangura’s words, referring to potential future indictments and the tainting affect on anyone associated with the RUFP (author’s interview, Freetown, 21 May 2002).

Chapter 5

Liberia – War and Peace

1. Estimates vary: 250, in Lowenkopf, M., ‘Liberia’. In Zartman (ed.), Collapsed States, p. 92; 150, in Reno, W., ‘The business of war in Liberia’. Current History, 95/601 (1996), p. 212; 100, in Ellis, S., ‘Liberia 1989–94: a study of ethnic and

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2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

17.

18.

19. 20.

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spiritual violence’. African Affairs, 94/375 (1995), p. 166. Most agree, however, that there was a strong contingent of non-Liberians, particularly Burkinabe. Reno, ‘The business of war’, p. 214. International Crisis Group, Liberia: The Key to Ending Regional Instability (Freetown/Brussels: ICG, April 2002), p. 5. Sawyer, ‘Violent conflicts’, p. 445. Douglas Farah, quoted in Polgreen, L., ‘A master plan drawn in blood’. New York Times, 2 April 2006. Quoted in Wax, E., ‘In exile, Taylor still exerts control’. Washington Post, 17 September 2003. The Inquirer, 14 March 2008. Reno, W., ‘Foreign firms and the financing of Charles Taylor’s NPFL’. Liberian Studies Journal, XVIII/2 (1993), p. 180. Idem, Humanitarian Emergencies and Warlord Politics in Liberia and Sierra Leone (Helsinki: UN University/WIDER, 1996), p. 10. Brehun, L., Liberia: The War of Horror (Accra: Adwinsa, 1991), p. 89. Ellis, ‘Liberia 1989–94’, p. 182. Osaghae, E., Ethnicity, Class and the Struggle for State Power in Liberia (Dakar: CODESRIA, 1996), p. 88. Reno, Corruption. Global Witness, The Usual Suspects: Liberia’s Weapons and Mercenaries in Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone (London: GW, March 2003), p. 15. Ibid, quoting Swiss National Bank figures, p. 18. Partnership Africa Canada, The Heart of the Matter: Sierra Leone, Diamonds and Human Security (Ottawa: PAC, 2000); Report of the Panel of Experts Appointed Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1306 (2000): Paragraph 19, in Relation to Sierra Leone (New York: UN, December 2000). Taylor’s ongoing trial is a legal test of his involvement with the RUF (see at ) Global Witness, Taylor Made: The Pivotal Role of Liberia’s Forests and Flag of Convenience in Regional Conflict (London: GW, September 2001); idem, Logging Off: How the Liberian Timber Industry Fuels Liberia’s Humanitarian Disaster and Threatens Sierra Leone (London: GW, September 2002); idem, The Usual Suspects. Farah, D., ‘Al Qaeda cash tied to diamond trade’. Washington Post, 2 November 2001; Global Witness, The Usual Suspects, p. 51; David Crane, Special Court Prosecutor, May 2003. Global Witness, The Usual Suspects, p. 28–9. International Crisis Group, Liberia: Security Challenges (Freetown/Brussels: ICG, November 2003), p. 23.

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264 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

26. 27. 28.

29. 30.

31.

32. 33. 34. 35. 36.

37. 38. 39.

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Global Witness, The Usual Suspects, p. 31. Reno, ‘Foreign firms’, p. 181. Brehun, Liberia, p. 44. Outram, Q., ‘It’s terminal either way: an analysis of armed conflict in Liberia: 1989–96’. Review of African Political Economy, 24/73 (1997), p. 367. Human Rights Watch/Africa, Easy Prey: Child Soldiers in Liberia (New York: HRW/A, 1994); idem, ‘Human rights abuses by the LPC and the need for international oversight’. Reprinted in Liberian Studies Journal, XX/1 (1994) p. 162–71. Ellis, ‘Liberia 1989–94’; idem, The Mask of Anarchy. Ibid, p. 162. Africa Confidential (No. 14, 1997) described Taylor as ‘the first Plymouth escapee in recent memory to have avoided recapture’, and rumours of CIA complicity in his escape have circulated. Whether the US administration would have wanted to get rid of Doe at this point, and allowed Taylor’s escape to support Quiwonkpa, is a moot point. Liebenow, Liberia, p. 145. Sawyer, Beyond Plunder, p. 29. ‘Congos’ were originally ‘recaptives’, or slaves recaptured at sea and released in Liberia. In current parlance, all descendents of settlers or those assimilated into Americo-Liberian society are known as Congos. Despite strenuous efforts by the Liberian government to keep independent reporters away from conflict areas, the work of ICG’s Ricken Patel in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in early 2002 (report and author’s interview, Freetown, 27 April 2002) was then supplemented by James Brabazon’s documentary and briefing paper (both 2003, following his two trips to Liberian LURD-held territory later that same year), and by a further ICG report in early 2003. Brabazon, J., Liberia: Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) (London: Chatham House, February 2003), p. 7. International Crisis Group, Liberia: the Key, p. 7. Ibid; Brabazon, Liberia. Ibid, p. 5. Human Rights Watch, Liberia: New Accounts Detail Abuses (HRW, March 2003); idem, Weapons Sanctions, Military Supplies and Human Suffering: Illegal Arms Flows to Liberia and the June-July 2003 Shelling of Monrovia (HRW, November 2003); International Crisis Group, Liberia: Security. Hoffman, ‘The civilian target’. Brabazon, Liberia, p. 6. Eineje Onobu, quoted in The Analyst, 13 October 2004.

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The Perspective, 30 August 2004. International Crisis Group, Liberia: Security, p. 9–10. Ibid, p. 10–12. Respectively Yoder, Popular Political Culture; Ellis, S., Mask of Anarchy. Jeremy Levitt, in his The Evolution, lists many factors in explaining Liberian conflicts and contextualises the most recent wars in the history of the many smaller conflicts in the past.

Chapter 6 Liberia – The 1997 and 2005 Elections 1. See Harris, D., ‘From “warlord” to “democratic” president: how Charles Taylor won the 1997 Liberian elections’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 37/3 (1999), p. 431–55. 2. Kamara, T., Elections and Stability in Postwar Liberia (Leipzig: University of Leipzig, 1999); Lyons, T., Voting for Peace: Postconflict Elections in Liberia (Washington, DC: Brookings Institute, 1999); Harris: ‘From “warlord” to “democratic” president’. 3. Ibid. 4. Quoted in Reuters, 23 July 1997. 5. Ellis, The Mask of Anarchy. 6. See New African, December 1997; All-Africa Press Service, 4 August 1997. 7. Quoted in Reuters, 23 July 1997; Stephen Ellis, in his article ‘Liberia 1989–94’, p. 186, supports this notion with respect to the core zones. 8. Outram, Q., ‘Cruel wars and safe havens: humanitarian aid in Liberia 1989–96’. Disasters, 21/3 (1997), p. 193. 9. See Harris, D., ‘Liberia 2005: an unusual African post-conflict election’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 44/3 (2006), p. 375–95. 10. Presidential debate, Monrovia, 15 September 2005; Daily Observer, 16 September 2005. Sherman did, however, mend fences in 2010 and join Johnson-Sirleaf’s party for the 2011 elections. 11. Presidential debate, Monrovia, 15 September 2005. 12. Author’s interviews with political party officials in five counties, September– November 2005. 13. Author’s observations and interviews, Weala, Margibi District 1, 22 September 2005. 14. Author’s interview, Jacob Town, Montserrado District 7, 13 September 2005. 15. Author’s observations, and encounter with E.C.B. Jones, Kakata, Margibi County, 22 September 2005. 16. Author’s observations, and conversations with members of the public and UN CIVPOL officers, Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, 28 September 2005.

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17. Campaign Monitoring Coalition (CMC) August Brief; author’s interviews, September 2005. 18. Author’s interviews with LP, COTOL, CDC, UP and NRP party officials, Kakata, Margibi County, 14–15 September 2005. 19. Author’s observations, and interviews with political-party officials in five counties, September–November 2005. Of the larger parties at district level, officials of UP and LP in Montserrado District 8, UP in Montserrado District 13 and CDC in Grand Bassa District 3 all either complained of lack of resources or were clearly in dire need of some. At the county level, this applied to most of the smaller parties, including in particular the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD), NDPL and NRP in Kakata, Margibi County, and NDPL and NPP in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County. The ALCOP office in Kakata was closed on all the occasions the author visited it. Often it was stated that election material had been promised for the next day or so. 20. Author’s observations and interview, Gardnersville, Montserrado District 8, 13 September 2005. 21. Results of Poll Watch polls in Margibi corresponded well with the work of an unofficial pollster (author’s interviews with NGO head, Jacob Lablah, Kakata, Margibi County, 14 and 21 September 2005). 22. Sawyer, ‘Violent conflicts’. 23. Author’s observations, Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, September–October 2005. 24. The author, and anyone else who tried, was unable to travel more than a few kilometres on the main road from Zwedru heading to the southeast on 9 October 2005. The road was repaired by UN troops in time for election day, when rain was fortunately light. 25. Letter from LP to NEC, October 2005. 26. Author’s observations at the counting centre, Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, October 2005. 27. Letter from CDC to NEC, 9 November 2005, and the subsequent hearings. 28. See at for a detailed breakdown of the first and second rounds. 29. See the letter from former NPFL official Tom Woewiyu, and a UP spokesman’s response, Inquirer, 12 September 2005; comments by Sherman noted above, Presidential debate, Monrovia, 15 September 2005. 30. Author’s observations, Paynesville, Monrovia, September–November 2005. 31. Author’s interview with officials at Pennue’s headquarters, Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, 10 October 2005. 32. Representatives Debate, Cestos City, River Cess County, 27 September 2005. Mitchell was later disqualified after an NEC investigation revealed

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33.

34. 35. 36. 37.

38.

39.

40. 41. 42. 43.

44. 45.

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that his father had registered to contest the election, but allowed his son to run in place of him (Inquirer, 5 January 2006). Author’s interviews, particularly with the NACEM coordinator for Grand Gedeh, Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, 10 October and 7 November 2005. Forum and Liberian Express, 16 October 2005. New Democrat, 4 November 2005. Related to the author by a Carter Center observer, 5 November 2005. Jacqui Bauer, in her article ‘Women and the 2005 Election in Liberia’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 47/2 (2009), p. 193-211, does conclude that women’s groups were more effective than other civil society organisations in impacting on the election. Extracted from author’s interviews across five counties with members of the public and party officials, September–November 2005. Quotations taken from two different males in a conversation in Koon Town in rural Montserrado County, 23 September 2005. Author’s interviews with several CDC county and district officials, e.g. Brewerville, Montserrado District 13, 20 September 2005 and Compound 3, Grand Bassa District 3, 28 September 2005, and comments by CDC Campaign Chairman as noted above. Author’s observations, Congo Town, Monrovia, September–November 2005. Related to the author by a Carter Center observer, Monrovia, 4 November 2005. ‘Settle the country’, or similar phrases, recurred in the author’s interviews. For instance, Antoinette Sayeh, at one point one of five female cabinet members, is a US-trained former World Bank country director, but resigned as Finance Minister in 2008. EU Mission press conference, Monrovia, 10 November 2005. The battle over the leadership of the House of Representatives in 2007 was long and messy, involved bribery allegations and resulted in the ousting of former Taylor loyalist Edwin Snowe as Speaker. A similar prolonged conflict in the Senate in 2008 resulted in the removal of Isaac Nyenabo as President Pro-Tempore.

Chapter 7 Key Factors in the Elections in Sierra Leone and Liberia 1. Kumar and Ottaway, ‘General conclusions’. 2. Zartman, ‘Putting things back together’; Rothchild, ‘Ethnic insecurity’. 3. Kumar and Ottaway, ‘General conclusions’.

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4. For instance, a direct comparison has been made between the networked and relatively successful anti-war discourse and practices in Mozambique, and the splintered and co-opted efforts in Angola. Considerable import was attributed to the Angolan failure to use people’s creative resources to resolve conflict; see Nordstrom, C., A Different Kind of War Story (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997). 5. Conteh, M., ‘Community peacebuilding in southern Sierra Leone – challenges and triumphs’ (London: King’s College, London, 10 March 2004). 6. Shaw, R., Rethinking Truth and Reconciliation Commissions: Lessons from Sierra Leone (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2005); Kelsall, T., ‘Truth, lies, ritual: preliminary reflections on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone’. Human Rights Quarterly, 27 (2005), p. 361–91. 7. One documentary does however allege a significant role for women’s groups in the 2003 Liberian talks; see Reticker, G., Pray the Devil Back to Hell (Fork Films, 2008). 8. Moran, M. and Pitcher, M.A., ‘The ‘basket case’ and the ‘poster child’: explaining the end of civil conflicts in Liberia and Mozambique’. Third World Quarterly, 25/3 (2004), p. 501–19. 9. The RUFP presidential candidate, Alimamy Pallo Bangura, was well aware of the timing of this election relative to world affairs. He described a new epoch, particularly after the events of 11 September 2001, and the now regular occurrence of ‘references to terrorists and courts etc’. As noted before, the forthcoming indictments of the Special Court were in his opinion a ‘Sword of Damocles over the RUFP’ (author’s interview, Freetown, 21 May 2002). 10. Through numerous interviews across Liberia in 2005, involving all the major political parties and the vast majority of smaller ones, it became apparent that the cordiality of the parties and their relative parity in resources were utterly different from Sierra Leone, and were indeed extraordinary. Part of the author’s work for the Carter Center was to ascertain whether there were any complaints against other parties. This information was almost never volunteered, and even when the question was answered in the affirmative, details were not often readily forthcoming. As noted before, many interviews in the provinces were undertaken in friendly surroundings with people from a variety of parties present. This was also not a feature of Sierra Leone. Equally, where details of complaints were forthcoming from party officials and observations could be made, the diffusion of government resources across parties was revealed. It became clear that the rules of the CPA and the inclusionary nature of the NTGL had left a legacy in the lack

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11. 12.

13. 14.

15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

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of an incumbent or intimidating presence or of former rebel parties, leading to a significantly more open and fairer election. When considered next to the political environment in other elections in Sierra Leone and Liberia, the legacy was clearly substantial. Lyons, Demilitarizing Politics, p. 6. Alongside the need to create a coalition to sustain peace at the centre, the importance of ‘significant local support’, and hence further hazards of applying post-conflict justice, became clear through interviews and observations, not just concerning those involved in the conflict – e.g. Zoe Pennue in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County and Edwin Snowe in Paynesville, Monrovia – but also concerning others such as Ronald Mitchell in Cestos City, River Cess County, who had not even been in the country during the war. Equally, the level of local support in Nimba County enjoyed by excombatants Prince Johnson and General Peanut Butter was related to the author by Carter Center colleagues. This support then translated into the ballot box. It thus becomes even less certain who might be safely indicted in a war-crimes tribunal. Insights kindly provided by Gwendolyn Heanor, London, 2 June 2010. Harris, D. and Lappin, R., ‘The Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission: reconciling or re-dividing Liberia?’. Alternatives, 9/1 (2010), p. 181–91. Sierra Leone Web, 5 June 2003. See e.g. Wax, E., ‘In exile, Taylor still exerts control’. Washington Post, 17 September 2003. Robertson, Crimes Against Humanity. The Perspective, 27 April 2004. Author’s observations, Freetown and Kenema, August–September, 2007. UK government, Defence Intelligence Report, 2004, p. 15. Shaw, Rethinking Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, p. 8. Yoder, Popular Political Culture, p. 237. I am again grateful to Gwendolyn Heanor for these insights (London, 2 June 2010). Kelsall, T., Culture under Cross-Examination: International Justice and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 17. Douma, P. and De Zeeuw, J., From Transitional to Sustainable Justice (The Hague: Clingendael Conflict Research Unit, 2004), p. 2. Figures and timescales taken from Special Court for Sierra Leone, Fourth Annual Report of the President, January 2006 to May 2007 (Freetown, 2007); Dougherty, B., ‘Right-sizing international criminal justice: the hybrid experiment at the Special Court for Sierra Leone’. International Affairs, 80/2

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27.

28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33.

34. 35.

36. 37.

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(2004), p. 311–28. While the Taylor trial continues in The Hague, the SLSC in Freetown also remains active. Special Court for Sierra Leone, Agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone on the Establishment of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (Freetown, 16 January 2002). ‘Special Court needs $30 million to see war crimes trials through’, IRIN, 25 May 2005; Dougherty, ‘Right-sizing’, p. 320. SLSC Registrar Robin Vincent, quoted in ibid, p. 326. International Crisis Group, Liberia: Security Challenges (Freetown/Brussels: ICG, November 2003), p. 11. See the comments of Pierre-Richard Prosper, US Ambassador-at-large for war crimes, quoted in Reuters, 27 January 2005. Author’s observations, April–May 2002; SLPP rhetoric was not short on its ties to the West and UN, and never disavowed by the latter. Vicky Randall and Lars Svåsand assess the performance of African political parties in terms of ‘particular democratic functional requirements’; see their article ‘Political parties and democratic consolidation in Africa’. Democratization, 9/3 (2002), p. 30. Lyons, Demilitarizing Politics, p. 5. He uses the phrase ‘transformation of militarised organisations into effective political parties’. The author’s observations, and interviews with RUFP election candidates (Freetown and Bo, April–May 2002) made this situation in the RUFP abundantly clear, either through the extra-party preoccupations of the parliamentary candidates or the admissions of the presidential candidate. Temin, J., ‘Considering the role of the BBC in African conflict’. Review of African Political Economy, 30/98 (2003), p. 654–60. Clapham, ‘Introduction’, p. 9.

Chapter 8 Post-Conflict Elections or Post-Elections Conflict 1. Bender, G., Angola under the Portuguese (London: Heinemann, 1978). 2. Chabal, P. (ed.), The Postcolonial Literature of Lusophone Africa (Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press, 1996), p. 17–19. Until the abolition of slavery in 1836, Creoles also ran the triangular Atlantic trade, including that in slaves, with Brazil and Portugal. 3. See Nuno Vidal’s notion of post-modern patrimonialism, in his article ‘Modern and post-modern patrimonialism’. In Newitt, M., Chabal, P. and Macqueen, N. (eds.), Community and the State in Lusophone Africa (London: King’s College, 2003).

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4. Messiant, C., ‘Angola: the challenge of statehood’. In Birmingham, D. and Martin, P. (eds.), History of Central Africa: The Contemporary Years since 1960, Vol. 3 (London: Longman, 1998), p. 157. 5. Heywood, L., Contested Power in Angola: 1840s to the Present (New York: University of Rochester Press, 2000); Hodges, T., Angola from Afro-Stalinism to Petro-Diamond Capitalism, (Oxford: Currey, 2001); Messiant, ‘Angola’. 6. Chabal, P. (ed.), A History of Postcolonial Lusophone Africa (London: Hurst, 2002), p. 49. 7. Forrest, J., ‘Guinea-Bissau’. In Chabal, A History, p. 250–1. 8. Chabal, P., ‘Violence, power and rationality: a political analysis of conflict in contemporary Africa’. In Chabal, Engel, U. and Gentili, A-M., Is Violence Inevitable in Africa? Theories of Conflict and Approaches to Conflict Prevention (Leiden: Brill, 2005), p. 1; see also Cramer, Civil War (2006); Tilly, C, Coercion, Capital and European States, AD 900–1992 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992). 9. Anstee, M., Orphans of the Cold War: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Angolan Peace Process, 1992–3 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996); Pereira, A.W., ‘The neglected tragedy: the return to war in Angola, 1992–3’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 32/1 (1994), p. 1–28. 10. Zartman, ‘Putting things back together’. 11. Mkandawire, ‘Crisis management’. 12. Young, T, ‘The MNR/Renamo: external and internal dynamics’. African Affairs, 89/357 (1990), p. 500. 13. Vines, A., Renamo: From Terrorism to Democracy in Mozambique? (York: Centre for Southern Africa Studies, York University, 1996); Ebata, M., The Transition from War to Peace: Politics, Political Space and the Peace Industry in Mozambique 1992–5 (unpublished PhD thesis, London School of Economics, 1999). 14. Many, including the RUF presidential candidate, Alimamy Pallo Bangura, were not removed from the UN travel-ban list until September 2004. 15. Manning, C., ‘Elite habituation to democracy in Mozambique: the view from parliament, 1994–2000’. Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 40/1 (2002a), p. 61–80. 16. Figure quoted in Carbone, G., ‘Continuidade na renovação? Ten years of multiparty politics in Mozambique: roots, evolution and stabilisation of the Frelimo-Renamo party system’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 43/3 (2005), p. 431. 17. See Mathisen, H. and Svåsand, L., Funding Political Parties in Emerging African Democracies: What Role for Norway? (Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute, 2002). 18. Carbone, ‘Continuidade na renovação?’.

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19. Saffu, Y., ‘The funding of political parties and election campaigns in Africa’. In Handbook on Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns (Stockholm, IDEA, 2004), p. 21. 20. Fogg, K., Molutsi, P. and Tjernström, M., ‘Conclusion’. In ibid, p. 171. 21. In 2002, only five African states did so – South Africa, Morocco, the Seychelles, Mozambique and, theoretically, Zimbabwe (List taken from Saffu, ‘The funding of political parties’, p. 25, plus this author’s addition of Mozambique). 22. Southhall, R. and Wood, G., ‘Political party funding in Southern Africa’. In Burnell, P. and Ware, A. (eds.), Funding Democratisation (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998), p. 226. Although referring to domestic political-party funding by the state in Africa, Yaw Saffu, in his ‘The funding of political parties’, p. 29, concurs. 23. Mathisen and Svåsand, Funding Political Parties – although the provision of larger funding to larger parties also has a conservative effect; see Katz, R.S., ‘Democratic principles and judging “free and fair” ’. Representation, 41/3 (2005), p. 34. 24. Southhall and Wood, ‘Political party funding’, p. 208. 25. Other examples are detailed, and the engagement of armed groups as policy is promoted in Ricigliano, (ed.), Choosing to Engage. 26. Garcia (ed.), A Time of Hope. 27. Ibid, p. 16. 28. A former advisor to the RUF remains convinced that, despite its inadequacies, it could have been transformed into a political organisation in 1996, particularly given the presence of the more educated and politically-inclined (rather than militarily-inclined) members (author’s interview, London, 1 July 2004). 29. Interestingly, the former RUF advisor also considered the allocation of ministries to a rebel group within a coalition to be inadvisable (author’s interview, London, 1 July 2004). 30. See Philipson, L., ‘Engaging armed groups: the challenge of asymmetries’. In Ricigliano (ed.) Choosing to Engage. According to the former RUF advisor, Amnesty International (AI) was asked to brief the RUF on human rights before the Abidjan Accord, but AI declined (author’s interview, London, 1 July 2004). 31. For a discussion of power-sharing, and the concept of power-dividing – a strategy to diffuse power – see Rothchild, D., ‘Assessing Africa’s two-phase implementation process: power-sharing and democratization’. In Chabal, et al (eds.), ‘Is Violence Inevitable’ 32. E.g. Lijphart, A., Democracy in Plural Societies; Lijphart, Patterns of Democracy. 33. Lemarchand, R., ‘Consociationalism and power sharing in Africa: Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo’. African Affairs,

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36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55.

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106/422 (2007), p. 1–20. One comparison is made with Rwanda, where instead of explicit recognition of ethnicity it is denied, and where there is essentially a Tutsi-led de facto one-party state. Bogaards, ‘Crafting’; see also Carbone, ‘Continuidade na renovação?’. Bogaards, ‘Crafting’; Lijphart, A., Electoral Systems and Party Systems: A Study of Twenty-Seven Democracies, 1945–1990 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994). UN Security Council, The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-conflict Societies (New York: UN, 23 August 2004), p. 14. Ibid, p. 3. Vinjamuri, L., ‘Order and justice in Iraq’. Survival, 45/4 (2003–04), p. 138–9. Branch, ‘International justice’. E.g. Dufka, C., ‘Combating war crimes in Africa’. Testimony to the US House Committee on International Relations, Subcommittee on Africa, 2004. Gowan, The Global Gamble, p. 146. Mani, R., Beyond Retribution: Seeking Justice in the Shadows of War (London: Polity and Blackwell, 2002). Dougherty, ‘Right-sizing’, p. 312. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Status of Cases. At accessed 3 June 2010. UN Security Council, The Rule of Law, p. 8. Vinjamuri, ‘Order and justice’, p. 135. Ibid, p. 136. Nathan, L., ‘Reflections on conflict, crisis and peacemaking in Africa’ (London: King’s College, 30 March 2004). Greer, G., Newsnight, 14 May 2004. For an overview, see Kelsall, Culture under Cross-Examination, p. 8–17. Clark, P., The Gacaca Courts, Post-Genocide Justice, and Reconciliation in Rwanda: Justice without Lawyers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010). Corey, A. and Joireman, S.F., ‘Retributive justice: the Gacaca courts in Rwanda’. African Affairs, 103/410 (2004), p. 73–89. Oomen, B., ‘Donor-driven justice and its discontents: the case of Rwanda’. Development & Change, 36/5 (2005), p. 887–910. Waldorf, L., Transitional Justice and DDR: The Case of Rwanda (New York: International Center for Transitional Justice, 2009). Baines, E., ‘The haunting of Alice: local approaches to justice and reconciliation in Northern Uganda’. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 1/1 (2007), p. 91–114; Allen, T., Trial Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Lord’s Resistance Army (London: Zed Books, 2006).

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in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond the Post-Washington Consensus (London: Routledge, 2001). Jeffries, ‘The state, structural adjustment’. See Chabal, ‘The quest’. See Chabal and Daloz, Africa Works. Michael Bratton and Nicolas van de Walle’s empirically-based thesis, that success in democratisation is dependent on the heritage of political participation and competition, leads them to conclude that in many African states the process will be fragile, but not impossible; see their Democratic Experiments. Michael Schatzberg’s idea of the delegitimising of the African political ‘father’ when he does not supply his political ‘family’ with ‘food’ fits the democratic system in at least one sense, that of the removal of worst-case performers; see his Political Legitimacy.

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Sierra Leone – reports, documents, websites and news services Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), Leh di Pipul dem Tok (Freetown: CGG, December 2001). CGG, The Voter Registration Process (Freetown: CGG, February 2002a). CGG, Report on the Electoral Process in Sierra Leone March 2001-May 2002 (Freetown: CGG, August 2002b). Commonwealth Observer Group (COG), The Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Sierra Leone (London: COG, 1996). COG, Sierra Leone Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Report (Freetown: COG, 17 May 2002). Abidjan Peace Accord between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone (Abidjan, 30 November 1996, http://www.sierra-leone.org/abidjanaccord.html). Lomé Peace Agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone (Lomé, 7 July 1999, http:// www.sierra-leone.org/lomeaccord.html). Ceasefire Agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone (Abuja, 10 November 2000, http://www.sierra-leone.org/ceasefire1100.html).

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Liberia Bauer, J. ‘Women and the 2005 Election in Liberia’. Journal of Modern African Studies, 47/2 (2009), p. 193–211 Berkeley, B., Liberia: A Promise Betrayed (New York: Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, 1986). Brabazon, J., Liberia: Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) (London: Chatham House, 2003a). Brabazon, J., Liberia: Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) (Camerapix, 2003b).

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Osaghae, E., Ethnicity, Class and the Struggle for State Power in Liberia (Dakar: CODESRIA, 1996). Outram, Q., ‘Cruel wars and safe havens: humanitarian aid in Liberia 1989–96’, Disasters, 21/3 (1997a), p. 189–203. Outram, Q., ‘It’s terminal either way: an analysis of armed conflict in Liberia: 1989–96’, Review of African Political Economy, 24/73 (1997b), p. 355–71. Pham, J-P., Liberia: Portrait of a Failed State (New York: Reed Press, 2004). Reno, W., ‘Foreign firms and the financing of Charles Taylor’s NPFL’, Liberian Studies Journal, XVIII/2 (1993), p. 175–88. Reno, W., ‘The business of war in Liberia’, Current History, 95/601 (1996), p. 211–5. Reticker, G., Pray the Devil Back to Hell (Fork Films, 2008). Sawyer, A., Beyond Plunder: Toward Democratic Governance in Liberia (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2005). Sawyer, A. and Mayson, D.T., ‘Labour in Liberia’, Review of African Political Economy, 7/14 (1980), p. 3–15. Tanner, V., ‘Liberia: railroading peace’, Review of African Political Economy, 25/75 (1998), p. 133–47. Utas, M., ‘Building a future? the reintegration and re-marginalization of youth in Liberia’. In Richards, P. (ed.), No Peace, No War: An Anthropology of Contemporary Armed Conflict (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). Yoder, J.C., Popular Political Culture, Civil Society, and State Crisis in Liberia (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 2003).

Liberia – reports, documents, websites and news services Africa Watch, ‘Liberia: Flight from Terror: Testimony of abuses in Nimba County’. Reprinted in Liberian Studies Journal, XV/1 (1990a), p. 142–61. Africa Watch, ‘Liberia: a Human Rights Disaster’. Reprinted in Liberian Studies Journal, XVI/1 (1990b), p. 129–55. Africa Watch, ‘Liberia: the Cycle of Abuse’. Reprinted in Liberian Studies Journal, XVII/1 (1991), p. 128–64. Campaign Monitoring Coalition Brief (Monrovia, August 2005). Carter Center/NDI, Liberian Elections Preliminary Statement (Monrovia: CC/ NDI, 10 November 2005). Charles Taylor Trial, http://www.charlestaylortrial.org EU, Liberian Elections Preliminary Statement (Monrovia: EU, 10 November 2005). Global Witness, Taylor Made: The Pivotal Role of Liberia’s Forests and Flag of Convenience in Regional Conflict (London: GW, September 2001). Global Witness, Logging Off: How the Liberian Timber Industry Fuels Liberia’s Humanitarian Disaster and Threatens Sierra Leone (London: GW, September 2002).

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Mano River (Sierra Leone and Liberia) Clapham, C., Liberia and Sierra Leone: an Essay in Comparative Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976). Hoffman, D., ‘The civilian target in Sierra Leone and Liberia: political power, military strategy, and humanitarian intervention’, African Affairs, 103/411 (2004), p. 211–26. Reno, W., Humanitarian Emergencies and Warlord Politics in Liberia and Sierra Leone (Helsinki: UN University/WIDER, 1996). Richards, P., ‘Rebellion in Liberia and Sierra Leone: a crisis of youth?’. In Furley, O. (ed.), Conflict in Africa (London: I.B.Tauris, 1995).

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INDEX

(n=endnote) Abacha, Sani, 131, 144, 145 Abidjan Accord, 75, 88, 91, 220 Abuja II Peace Accord, 131, 144, 146, 153 Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement, CPA, 133, 149, 153, 161, 166, 184, 194, 207 Afghanistan, 4, 10, 128 African Union, 164 Algeria, 214 All People’s Congress, APC, 44, 55–6, 58–64, 72, 74, 75, 78–81, 84, 86, 90–2, 224 and Northern dominance, 58, 78, 79, 90 and chiefs, 72, 80 and 1960s, 1970s and 1980s elections, 60–3 and 1996 elections, 98, 100 and 2002 elections, 104–5, 108–13, 116–8, 120, 129 and 2007 elections, 122–7, 129 al-Qaeda, 112, 139, 200, 226 Americo-Liberians, 16, 44–54, 66, 72, 135–6, 142–3, 151, 171, 178–9, 205, 210 ANC, 169, 214, 219, 227

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Angola, 2, 3, 4, 14, 30, 35, 81, 157, 189, 191 n4, 193, 208, 209–11, 213, 233, 236 Annan, Kofi, 5, 226, 229 Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, AFRC, 75–6, 78, 85, 88, 89, 91, 92, 127, 198 Babangida, Ibrahim, 23, 131 Bangura, Alimamy Pallo, 89, 111, 114–5, 118, 193 n9, 216 n14 Bangura, Zainab, 111, 114, 118, 120, 127 Bankole-Bright, H.C., 39, 41 Barclay, Arthur, 45 Barrie, Mohamed, 84, 88 Bassa (people), 45, 47 Bemba, Jean-Pierre, 237–9 Berewa, Solomon, 122–3, 125 Berlin Conference, 40, 44 Bio, Julius Maada, 95–6 Blah, Moses, 133, 142, 149, 159 Blair, Tony, 4, 76, 128, 193 Bo, 42, 95–7, 99, 104–6, 116, 118, 122, 123–4, 125 Bockarie, Sam ‘Maskita’, 88, 89, 139, 140, 198, 204

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296

CIVIL WAR

AND

DEMOCR ACY

IN

WEST A FRICA

Boley, George, 131, 157–8 Bong County, 68, 156, 159, 164, 167, 170, 172–6 Bosnia, 2, 8, 11 n23, 12, 36 Brumskine, Charles, 143, 167–71, 176, 179 Bryant, Gyude, 133, 149, 150, 200 Buchanan, 132, 163, 165 Burkina Faso, 3, 24, 74, 86, 130 n1, 144, 145, 150, 226 Burundi, 7, 8, 11, 35, 208, 222–3, 227, 229, 231, 232

Côte d’Ivoire, 3, 7, 63, 88, 130, 134, 137, 139–40, 143–6, 150, 152, 154, 155, 200, 229, 231 Coups d’état, military, 25, 49, 52, 56, 58, 59, 62, 63, 64–7, 69–70, 75, 76, 79, 81, 87, 88, 90–1, 95–6, 102, 113–4, 121, 127, 129, 135–6, 142, 191, 197, 211, 220 Crane, David, 5, 148–9, 194, 196 Creoles, 14, 16, 34, 36, 38–55, 79, 92, 208–11 Crocker, Chester, 69–70

Cabral, Amilcar, 11 Cambodia, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 30, 226 Campbell, Naomi, 198 Carter, Jimmy, 51 chieftaincy, 42–4, 47, 50, 52, 55, 56, 57–8, 61–2, 72, 75, 79, 80–1, 84, 85–6, 92, 97, 105, 116, 121, 125, 129 Chissano, Joaquim, 216 Christianity, 46, 79, 101, 113 Civil Defence Force, CDF, 75 n1, 76, 78, 80, 82, 85, 86, 90–1, 103, 121, 196–8, 202 Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia, COTOL, 162–3, 168, 173–5, 181 Collins, Eldred, 115 colonialism, 2, 10, 11, 15, 16, 24, 26, 34, 38–47, 52, 53–5, 58, 59, 60, 71–2, 79–80, 92, 208–11, 215, 241–2 Congress for Democratic Change, CDC, 161–5, 167–8, 173–5, 178–9, 181 Conneh, Aisha, 146, 150, 161 Conneh, Sekou Damate, 146, 150, 161, 168, 175 Conseil National pour la Défense de la Démocratie et Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie, CNDD-FDD, 227, 232 Conté, Lansana, 132, 147, 180

Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC (Zaïre), 3, 7, 8, 26, 32, 35, 208, 226, 229, 236–9 Dhlakama, Afonso, 216, 233 Dialogue Intercongolais, 236–7 Doe, Jackson, 68–9, 136, 141 Doe, Samuel Kanyon, 52, 53, 64–72, 85, 130, 135–6, 137, 140, 142, 143, 144, 150, 151, 155, 158, 159, 171, 172, 175, 177, 182, 183, 190, 194–5, 203, 205, 243 Dogolea, Enoch, 137, 159 Dokie, Sam, 137, 141 Dolo, Adolphus ‘General Peanut Butter’, 175–7 Donsos, 75, 77, 132

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Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, 76, 133, 149, 164 ECOWAS Monitoring Group, ECOMOG, in Sierra Leone, 76, 82, 85, 91, 117 in Liberia, 130–2, 135, 142, 144–5, 157, 160, 183, 186, 189, 194 El Salvador, 8 ethnicity, 10–2, 14, 23, 25, 28–9, 33, 40, 42, 47, 54, 63, 65–6, 70, 85, 100–1, 114, 127, 131–2, 136, 137, 139, 140, 141, 145–6, 150, 152, 158–61, 171, 183, 190–1, 202–3, 209, 211, 213, 223–4, 227

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INDEX Forna, Mohamed Sorie, 58–9 Fourah Bay College, 40, 43, 59, 87, 115 France, 3, 7, 8, 36, 45, 51, 135, 144 Freetown, 39–41, 43, 57, 59, 71–2, 74, 76, 83, 86, 88, 91, 95, 104–7, 109, 112–3, 117, 121, 122, 125, 140, 195 Frelimo, 17, 215–7, 222, 233–4 Gacaca Courts, 229–30 Gbagbo, Laurent, 139, 146, 150 Gbarnga, 131, 140, 143, 159, 165, 203 Ghana, 20, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 87, 148, 155, 197, 221, 243 Gio, 47, 66, 68, 130, 136, 139, 140, 159, 180, 190–1 Grand Bassa County, 156, 163–5, 167, 170–1, 173–4, 176 Grand Gedeh County, 156, 158, 167, 170–7, 190, 195 n12 Guinea, 24, 25, 40, 52, 60, 76, 89, 99, 107, 128, 132, 134, 139, 143, 146–7, 150, 152, 154, 180, 200, 202 Guinea-Bissau, 8, 11, 35, 211

297

Johnson-Sirleaf, Ellen, 136, 137, 149, 180–1, 195, 203 and 1986 elections, 67, 69 and 1997 elections, 157, 158 and 2005 elections, 161–4, 167–9, 171, 175–9, Jonah, James, 95, 99 Jusu-Sheriff, Salia, 62

Ikimi, Tom, 155, 183 Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia, INPFL, 130, 141, 143 International Criminal Court, ICC, 4, 7, 200, 226–30, 237 International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, ICTR, 228–9 International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, 228–9 Iraq, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 128, 226, 227 Islam, 8, 39, 40, 65, 79, 101, 112, 190 Israel, 7, 79, 226

Kabbah, Ahmad Tejan, 75, 95–102, 105, 110, 112, 113, 117–20, 126, 128, 158, 196, 200, 203 Kabila, Joseph, 237–9 Kailahun, 74, 88, 97, 109, 115, 116, 118, 123–4, 125, 203 Kamajors, 75–6, 78, 85, 86, 89, 96, 121–2, 198 Karefa-Smart, John, 55, 59, 62, 96–8, 100–2, 111, 113, 120 Kenema, 58, 95, 97, 107, 109, 116, 118, 122, 123–4, 125 King, Charles, 46 Klein, Jacques, 134, 196 Kono (District), 58, 61, 62, 75, 116, 118, 122, 123–4 Kono (people), 40, 100 Koroma, Ernest Bai, 23, 105, 111, 117, 118, 122–6 Koroma, Johnny Paul, 75–6, 91, 111, 113, 117, 120, 121, 140, 197, 198 Kosovo, 227 Kpelle, 47, 171 Krahn, 47, 65, 85, 130–2, 136–7, 139–40, 141, 143–6, 158–9, 183, 190, 203 Krio, 16, 39–44, 45, 52–5, 72, 209–10 Kromah, Alhaji, 131, 136, 157–8, 161, 168, 170, 175, 195, 203 Kru (people), 46, 50, 171

Johnson, Prince Yormie, 130, 141, 172, 175, 177, 179, 195 Johnson-Morris, Frances, 164

Lebanese, 41, 56, 79, 121 Liberian Peace Council, LPC, 131, 143–4, 150, 157, 159

Harmon, Emmett, 67, 69 Houphouet-Boigny, Félix, 144 Hut Tax War, 40

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CIVIL WAR

AND

DEMOCR ACY

IN

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Montserrado County, 68, 155–6, 158, 162, 164, 166, 167, 170, 173–4, 176

Liberian People’s Party, LPP, 67, 156–7, 172 Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, LURD, 132–3, 142, 151–2, 161, 172, 177, 190, 195, 200, 203 and abuses, 147 and reasons for fighting, 132, 140 and leadership, 145–7, 149–50, 180 Liberty Party, LP, 162–5, 167–8, 173–5 Libya, 74, 87, 92, 105, 130, 144–5, 211 Limba, 40, 59, 100 Lofa Defence Force, LDF, 131, 143 Lomé Accord, 4, 76, 88–90, 94, 114, 128, 196, 216 Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA, 7, 228, 230

Movement for Democracy in Liberia, MODEL, 132–3, 146–52, 161, 180, 190, 200, 203 Mozambique, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 14, 22, 35, 36, 186–7, 191, 192, 215, 217, 219, 221–3, 225, 227, 231, 232–5 MPLA, 2, 210 Museveni, Yoweri, 22–4, 222

Machel, Samora, 22, 24 Makeni, 58, 95, 106, 119 Mandingo, 47, 49, 65, 85, 99, 117, 130–2, 136, 140, 141, 143, 145–6, 149, 158, 159, 162, 180, 190, 203 Mano (people), 47, 66, 130, 136, 140, 159, 180, 190–1 Margai, Albert, 43, 55, 56, 61, 62 Margai, Milton, 43, 55, 61, 79 Margai, Charles, 122–4, 125, 197 Masons, 50, 53, 135 Massaquoi, Gibril, 84 Matthews, Gabriel Bacchus, 67, 142–3, 157–8, 179 Mende, 24, 25, 40, 55, 64, 75, 78, 85, 96, 99, 100, 102, 111, 117, 190 military coups d’état, 25, 49, 52, 56, 58, 59, 62, 63, 64–7, 69–70, 75, 76, 79, 81, 87, 88, 90–1, 95–6, 102, 113–4, 121, 127, 129, 135–6, 142, 191, 197, 211, 220 Mohammed, Jamil Said, 57 Momoh, Joseph, 59–60, 63 Monrovia, 44–5, 51, 67–9, 74, 130–3, 135, 137–8, 141–5, 147–9, 151, 155, 162, 164–5, 172, 178–9

Namibia, 21, 35, 208, 219 National Democratic Party of Liberia, NDPL, 65, 67–9, 156–8, 164 n19, 168, 171, 174–5 National Patriotic Front of Liberia, NPFL, 66, 70, 85–7, 92, 130–1, 137–8, 144, 150–2, 154–5, 157, 169, 172, 173, 175, 189, 195, 201 and abuses, 141, 159 and reasons for fighting, 135–6 and leadership, 134–5, 141–3, 202 National Patriotic Party, NPP, 132, 137, 142, 145, 152, 154–63, 168, 171, 173–5, 183, 188, 194, 201–2, 206 National Provisional Ruling Council, NPRC, 59, 75, 83, 94–6, 99, 120, 127 National Transitional Government of Liberia, NTGL, 133, 149–50, 153, 161, 163, 169, 175, 184, 194, 207 Nepal, 6, 163, 232 Nicaragua, 2, 6, 8 Nigeria, 3, 5, 21, 23, 39, 76, 87, 130, 132, 133–4, 138, 144–5, 148–50, 153, 155, 181, 183, 189, 197–8, 200

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Mouvement pour la Justice et la Paix, MJP, 132, 139, 146

Mouvement pour la Liberation du Congo, MLC, 237–9 Mouvement Patriotique du Grand Ouest, MPIGO, 132, 139, 146

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INDEX Nimba County, 68, 86, 130, 135, 141, 156, 159, 164, 167, 170–4, 176–7, 179, 180, 190, 195 Nimley, Thomas, 150 Norman, Chief Sam Hinga, 75, 120, 122, 125, 196, 197, 198 Northern Ireland, 7, 223, 227 OAU, 45, 57, 110, 220 one-party state, 19, 22, 24, 56, 60–1, 63, 73, 104, 111, 129, 201, 224 n34 Operation No Living Thing, 76 Peace and Liberation Party, PLP, 109, 111, 113, 115, 116, 118, 123, 129 Pennue, Zoe, 172, 175, 194, 195 n12 People’s Democratic Party, PDP, 97–8, 100, 102, 111, 113 People’s Movement for Democratic Change, PMDC, 122–6 People’s Redemption Council, PRC, 64–7, 72, 135, 143, 183 Perry, Ruth, 132, 145, 178 Poro, Bundu and Sande societies, 40, 53, 141, 158, 190 proportional representation, PR, 28, 105, 166, 188, 223–4 Qaddafi, Muammar, 105, 144 Quiwonkpa, Thomas, 66, 70, 136, 142

Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie, RCD, 237–9 Renamo, 6, 14, 17, 128, 184, 215–7, 219, 227, 232–4 Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, RSLAF, 103, 113, 121 Revolutionary United Front, RUF, 4, 59, 74–7, 90–3, 97, 102–3, 105, 114–5, 121, 127–30, 132, 134, 138–9, 140–1, 143–4, 147, 151, 152, 186, 191, 201, 206, 216, 219–20, 234–6 and abuses, 74, 82, 85–6, 95, 196, 215

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299

and reasons for fighting, 14–5, 58, 77–81, 82–4, 190–1 and leadership, 74, 86–90, 103, 128, 189, 202, 220, 203–5, and SLSC, 77, 128, 193, 196–8 Revolutionary United Front Party, RUFP, 88–9, 103–4, 109, 111, 114–5, 118, 126, 128, 189, 193, 196–7, 201–2, 203 n35, 205, 206, 216, 234, 235, 236 Roberts, Joseph J, 45 Rwandan Patriotic Front, RPF, 230, 232 Sankawulo, Wilton, 131, 158 Sankoh, Foday, 74–6, 78, 79, 82, 87–9, 103, 115, 142, 143, 197, 198, 204–5, 220 Savimbi, Jonas, 4, 6, 157, 189, 193, 233, 236 Sawyer, Amos, 67, 134, 143, 158 Senegal, 21, 23, 26, 27, 28, 36 Sesay, Issa, 78, 88, 114, 198 Sherman, Varney, 162–3, 167–71, 175–7, 179 Sierra Leone Army, SLA, 59, 74–5, 78, 82, 85, 90–1, 102 Sierra Leone People’s Party, SLPP, 56, 75–6, 79, 91, 92, 196, 204 foundation, 41 and Southern dominance, 25, 55, 64, 78, 99, 105, 110, 116, 120, 125 and chiefs, 43–4, 61 and 1960s, 1970s and 1980s elections, 60–3 and 1996 elections, 94–103, 188 and 2002 elections, 34, 104–6, 109–12, 115–21, 129, 188, 189, 200, 203 and 2007 elections, 122–7, 129, 197 Sierra Leone Special Court, SLSC, 5, 6, 75 n1, 76 n3, 77, 91, 120, 121, 128, 133, 134, 140, 148–9, 193–4, 196–200, 216, 226, 229, 230

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single member district, SMD, 28–9, 223–4 Snowe, Edwin, 172, 175, 181 n45 Somalia, 3, 4, 6, 169 South Africa, 2, 6, 30, 32, 35, 48, 75, 138, 169, 186, 193, 198, 208, 214, 215, 219, 222, 223, 224, 227, 230, 232–3, 236, 240 Soviet Union, 2, 10, 19 Sri Lanka, 6 Stevens, Siaka, 43, 55–64, 72, 79, 92 Strasser, Valentine, 59, 75, 90, 94–5 Supuwood, Lavelli, 142, 146 SWAPO, 219 Taylor, Charles, 65, 66, 70, 130–3, 133–6, 137–40, 140–5, 145–52, 162, 169, 175, 180, 195–6, 203–5, 233 and RUF, 59, 74, 76–8, 81, 86–9, 91, 138–40 and 1997 elections, 110, 153–60, 161, 171, 182–3, 187–9, 190–1, 193, 194, 200, 206, 225, 228 and SLSC, 5, 7, 140, 148, 149, 181, 193, 197–200, 206–7, 226–7 Temne, 40, 59, 75, 100, 111 Tipoteh, Togba-Nah, 157, 168, 170, 172, 175 Tolbert, William, 48, 49, 50, 51–2, 64, 70, 72, 137, 144 True Whig Party, TWP, 47–53, 64, 65, 66, 67, 70, 72, 135–6, 143, 183 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Liberia, 7, 181, 195, 199, 231 Sierra Leone, 77, 81, 85, 92, 193, 199, 230–1 South Africa, 6, 193, 230 Tubman, William, 45, 47–51, 65 n70, 72 Tubman, Winston, 167–71, 175–7, 179 Tutu, Archbishop Desmond, 230

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Uganda, 3, 6, 7, 15, 20, 22, 24, 26, 36, 222, 226, 228, 230, 232, 237 UK, 3–6, 16, 39–43, 44–5, 47, 51, 52, 53–4, 72, 76, 79, 89, 92, 106, 109, 112, 117, 119, 128, 196, 198, 200, 202, 203, 209 UN, 4–6, 8, 9, 77, 78, 89, 95, 114, 117, 119, 128, 132, 138, 145, 157, 169, 192, 194, 196, 200, 203, 216, 220, 227, 234, 235 UN Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, 133, 134, 149, 153, 162–5, 187, 189, 196 UN Mission in Sierra Leone, UNAMSIL, 76, 88, 94, 103, 104, 107, 109, 121, 187, 189, 199, 200 n32, 202 UNITA, 2, 4, 7, 14, 70, 157, 193, 233, 236 United Liberation Movement of Liberia, ULIMO, 131, 132, 140, 143, 144, 146–7, 159 ULIMO-J, 131, 137, 150 ULIMO-K, 131, 136, 149, 157 United National People’s Party, UNPP, 96–8, 100, 102, 111, 113, 118, 123 United People’s Party, UPP, 67, 156–8 Unity Party, UP, 156–8, 161–3, 167–8, 173–5 USA, 2–8, 10, 44, 46, 50–1, 65, 67–9, 72, 106, 109, 128, 133, 136, 137, 139, 142, 144, 148, 149, 150, 172, 178, 181, 196, 197–8, 200, 226 Wallace-Johnson, I.T.A., 41 Weah, George, 161–4, 167–71, 175–9, 196, 203 Woewiyu, Tom, 142, 169 n29 Zwedru, 146, 164 n19, 165 n24, 177, 195 n12

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