Decentralization, Local Governance and Centerperiphery Conflict in Sierra Leone

The issue of distribution of resources between the centre and the periphery is always a complex one in any society. It is an even more complex one in transitional societies where there is often a shortage of resources. This has certainly been the case in Sierra Leone over the past three decades, where there has been a steady centralization of power, authority and resources. In too many instances this centralization has been for the worst of all possible reasons – to facilitate exploitation and corruption. The reality is that it is much easier for would-be dictators and crooks of varying types to loot the resources of a country if power and control are highly centralized. On 25 May 1997 Sierra Leone’s first democratically elected government in almost 30 years was overthrown after little more than a year in office by a group of rebellious military officers. Most commentators have attributed this turn of events simply to military disgruntlement. In fact, a careful analysis demonstrates that the central government’s commitment to decentralization and the strengthening of local governance exacerbated the centre-periphery conflict issues that have plagued the country since its independence and thus were the real underlying causal factors. Bibliogr., sum.

Title: Decentralization, Local Governance and Centerperiphery Conflict in Sierra Leone
Authors: Rosenbaum, Allan
Rojas, Maria V.
Year: 1997
Periodical: Public Administration and Development
Volume: 17
Issue: 5
Period: December
Pages: 529-540
Language: English
Geographic term: Sierra Leone
External link: https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-162X(199712)17:53.0.CO;2-H
Abstract: The issue of distribution of resources between the centre and the periphery is always a complex one in any society. It is an even more complex one in transitional societies where there is often a shortage of resources. This has certainly been the case in Sierra Leone over the past three decades, where there has been a steady centralization of power, authority and resources. In too many instances this centralization has been for the worst of all possible reasons – to facilitate exploitation and corruption. The reality is that it is much easier for would-be dictators and crooks of varying types to loot the resources of a country if power and control are highly centralized. On 25 May 1997 Sierra Leone’s first democratically elected government in almost 30 years was overthrown after little more than a year in office by a group of rebellious military officers. Most commentators have attributed this turn of events simply to military disgruntlement. In fact, a careful analysis demonstrates that the central government’s commitment to decentralization and the strengthening of local governance exacerbated the centre-periphery conflict issues that have plagued the country since its independence and thus were the real underlying causal factors. Bibliogr., sum.