Inability to implement an effective governance arrangement has ignited violent conflicts in Sierra Leone. The conflicts originated from Liberia and ignited a combustive violence in the Mano River Union in Sierra Leone. During the reign of Charles Taylor, former president of Liberia, the Mano River Union was the center of conflict that spread to Sierra Leone. Although, the Sierra Leone has attempted to strengthening the democracy and consolidate peace since 2002, however, the issue within the Mano River Union still remains fragile because of the inability to implement effective governance to enhance a lasting peace and security. Presently, Sierra Leone is one of the top poorest countries in the world ranked 180th out of 187 countries within the Human Development Index. Over 60% of the Sierra Leonean population live below $1.25 a day. Over 70% of the youth are unemployed. (UNDP, 2012). Bad governance that fails to create development in the country has been the major factor leading to a continued crisis within the Mano River Union.
The MRU (Mano River Union) is a formal political union between Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia with its Secretariat based in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Since 1990s, the MRU has translated into a center of an armed conflict that engulfs Sierra Leone into a civil war. The conflict within the MRU is very complex because it comprises of multitude of actors. Typically, there is no easy resolution to the problem. Lack of governance has been the fundamental cause of continued instability in the region. Despite that Sierra Leone is blessed with abundant of natural resources such as diamond, the country lacks fund to restore peace within the MRU because the diamond has been used by the war lords to amass the ammunition. Moreover, the Sierra Leone fails to restore peace within the region because of the lack of fund to reintegrate the ex- combatants. The present cause of the continued conflict with the MRU is a bad governance that has translated into poverty, and youth unemployment.
In 2000, the MRU adopted a 15 protocol to enhance a joint cooperation for security and defense leading to a recent improvement in peace and security in Sierra Leone. Despite an improvement in peace and security in Sierra Leone, the antagonistic relationships between the head of states of the MRU lead to a continued conflict within the region. For more than a decade, the Secretariat stopped working. The whole cause has been the legacy of bad governance, structural corruption and mismanagement.
While different literatures have provided a report on bad governance on Mano River Union, which is the root of continued crisis, (Sawyer 2014, Nelson, 2003), however, there is still a scanty of a research study that provides comprehensive solutions to the problems in the WRU. This study attempts to fill the gap by recommending policies, evidence and a way forward that will enhance comprehensive solutions to the MRU continued conflicts.
The objective of this proposal is to carry out a comprehensive research on the governance and continuing crisis within the Manor River Union using Sierra Leone as a case study. The proposal will recommend polices, evidence and way forwards to arrive at the solution to the problems.
The study will carry out an investigation on the violence in Mano River Union to enhance a greater understanding on the strategy to arrive at a conflict resolution in the country.
Review of Previous Studies
Sawyer, (2004) argues that the independence granted to West African former colonies does not lead an effective establishment of democracy. After the independence, the West African leaders "were preoccupied with a false sense of development" (p 437) leading to a false unity. Presently, the African countries neither achieve a development nor unity. In Sierra Leone, there has been a breakdown of governance leading to a violent crisis in the Mano river basin. In many part of West African, over centralization of regimes is the major feature of governance that leads to a predatory rule. Analysis of the conflict at the Mano River is the aftermath of a predatory and repressive rule leading to possible occurrence of repression and injustice all over the state.
Uzoechina (2014) support this argument by pointing out that many West African countries have experienced a wave of insecurity since 1975 leading to the response of the intervention of the external actors. In Sierra Leone, there was an outbreak of internal conflicts and civil war because of the rehabilitation, demobilization and reintegration leading to a poorly conceived implementation of SSR (security sector reform) for the Mano River union.
"Moreover, peacemaking and peacekeeping in Sierra Leone have not been easy. Violations of the Lome Agreement required a cease-fire agreement in Abjua in 2000. Continued action by the rebel group, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), and the government-allied Civil Defense Force (CDF) eventually resulted in intervention by British troops who used deadly force against RUF to rescue a group of UNAMSIL hostages.." (Nelson, 2003 p11).
Clapham (2009) traces the history of the Mano River conflict to the leadership failures to integrate the political structures in the country since the independence. When Sierra Leone got its independence in 1961, the country was a unitary state, multiparty arrangement was not sustained because various ethnic groups sought to maneuver the political power that resulted into centralized and polarized politics.
Diop, (2005) contributes to the argument by tracing the history of Mano River Union formed by Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. The union was formed in 1973 to enhance economic and custom union and promoting an economic integration among member states. The Mano River Union also aims to consolidate and revitalize a common market and prevents conflict within the region. However, the arrangement was frustrated following the violent armed conflict and political instability in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Typically, the member of Mano River Union faced a tough challenge in resolving the persisting insecurity and political tension in the region. Typically, the underlying instability and prolong conflicts as well as bad governance in Sierra Leone have led to continuing conflicts within the Mano River Union. Consequently, the conflicts affect the livelihoods of several thousands of civilians especially the children and women. Some of the war lords in Sierra Leone deliberately target civilians leading a massive displacement of population and thousands become refugees in the neighboring countries and across Africa. By consequence, the socio-economic factors in Sierra Leone deteriorate rapidly leading to an extreme widespread of poverty.
The continuity of conflict within the Mano River Union has been attributed to the unwillingness of ex-combatant to disarm because many of them have a limited opportunity to become a productive citizen. Moreover, infiltration of rebels in Sierra Leone and increasing trade of arms and ammunition within the region have contributed to the continuity of conflicts within the Mano River Union. The physical border between Liberia and Sierra leone is largely artificial, thus, arm trades across the border is very frequent.
A report by the United Nation (2002) shows that Mano River Union is still inherently unstable because the fragility of peace building in Sierra Leone threatens the instability in the region. Typically, Mano River Union is still unstable because of the constant flow of refugees between the member countries. While there is a linkage between peace building and governance, Sierra Leone does not have enough fund to sustain an effective peace building in the country.
Nelson, (2003) argues that a peace is far from being achieved for the Mano Rriver Union conflict because armed conflict that engulf Liberia spreads to Sierra Leone. Despite a significant intervention of a peacekeeping mission, there is still an occasional armed conflict in the region. In essence, the weak governance that translates into a political instability, unstable economic performances, and low level of human development pose high risks to the stability in the Mano River Union.
Sawyer, (2003) points out that Sierra Leone has faced a daunting task to rebuild the governmental institutions, rehabilitation and construction because of the physical and psychological trauma of the war. More importantly, effort to heal social and psychological effects of brutal war is still a challenge for the Sierra Leonean government. Lack of control over the country diamond sector is another problem facing Sierra Leonean government. Typically, the diamond fields are free for everybody and are the sources of wealth in the country. Thus, the government in Sierra Leone has faced a daunting task to control the diamond fields, and the issue is one of the critical elements of conflict in Sierra Leone. The illegal export of diamond was estimated reaching 90% in 2002, which subsequently led to a corruption and criminal activity in Serra Leone. (Uzoechina, 2014).
UNDP, (2012) argue that youth in Sierra Leone has been the critical issue. More than 40% of the country…
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