These conflicts took on a pernicious form in the
sense that they undermined the very fabric of the
Because of the complex and dynamic nature of the
conflicts that characterizes the international
order, it was and has always been difficult to say
when and where the concept of post conflict
Peacebuilding actually started and will end.
Peacebuilding by Ghali or by extension the UN,
therefore describes the process of rebuilding a war
torn state by identifying and supporting structures,
which will tend to strengthen and solidify peace to
avoid a relapse to conflict.
Put simply, Peacebuilding includes the process of
rebuilding the political, social, security, and
economic dimensions of a society emerging from
conflict, and addresses the root causes of the
If the above conceptualization is anything to go by,
then Sierra Leoneans are in for a sustainable and
lasting peace after over a decade of bloody
conflict, but anything short of it will see the once
enviable country relapsing into conflict.
Unquestionably, like I have often argued in criticism
of liberalism, which emphasizes on democracy, almost
all major wars in Sub-saharan Africa has been as a
result of a breakdown in rule of law and governance
characterized by poverty, corruption, injustices,
political intimidations and intolerance, human right
The RUF war of Foday Sankoh is no exception to the
limitations, because the pre war days of the
despotic APC were marred by political intolerance,
dethronement of Traditional rulers suspected of not
supporting them, imprisonment and banishment of
political opponents, inflation and a rapidly
decaying economic base, institutionalized and state
led corruption, electoral mal-practices, etc.
The 23rd March 1991 attack on Bomaru and its attendant
support by natives, demonstrated how ripe the fruit
was for picking.
This opinion piece assumes and rhetorically posits
that the UN led intervention in Sierra Leone is
doomed; and that the current Peacebuilding
initiative is nothing other than what Stephen
Krasner would tag as 'Organized Hypocrisy'.
This article is not dedicated to anything like
peace-making, or peace-keeping and enforcement, for
if it were, the UN and ECOMOG will be on the dean’s
list. As a country, we do appreciate their kind
The three peace spectrums identified above are very
important, but sustainability depends to a larger
extent on post conflict arrangements - otherwise
called state building.
Is it not clear that those ugly vices that led to the
war are visibly showing up once again in Sierra
When you read the various Peacebuilding reports by the
UNSG to the UN Security Council, they sound
superficial, but very deceitful and different from
what actually prevails on the ground.
In the co-operate agreements between the Government of
Sierra Leone and UN regarding Peacebuilding and
development, as outlined in the 2006-2007 UNDAF
document, Sierra Leone identified four priority
areas for UN intervention namely: Youth employment
and empowerment, Justice and Security Sector Reform,
Consolidation of democracy and good governance, and
My question is not whether these four areas actually
address our problems; rather, I want us all to
review these in order to determine the extent to
which we are moving forward.
To their credit, I must admit that very many and
sincere efforts have been designed by the
Peacebuilding mission in Sierra Leone, although I
have often unapologetically questioned the way they
have been managed.
From a Rational Choice theoretical perspective, let us
scan through the so-called Peacebuilding agenda -
using the good governance and democracy pillar.
I am citing rational choice to question the
instrumental rationality, which involves seeking the
most cost-effective means to achieve a specific
goal, without reflecting on the worthiness of that
goal or balancing the UNPBF costs against benefits
to arrive at action that maximizes our general
Having realized the inadequacies of the UNDAF
2006-2007 Security Council resolution on an
effective Peacebuilding agenda in Sierra Leone, the
UN again adopted resolutions 1829 at the 5948th
Security Council meeting in 2008….awesome isn’t it?
Clause 3a of this resolution broadly provided for
"political support to national and local efforts for
identifying and resolving the tensions and threats
of political conflict".
My problem with this resolution had to do with
ambiguity in trying to understand and define the
concept of 'political support'. Is political support
only limited to letting the ruling APC get unlimited
access to the UNPBF while making no attempt to
capacitate opposition parties?
The UN is failing to realize that their continuous
exposure of the government to access the PBF in the
name of legitimacy will only further financially
capacitate the APC party, which is evident in the
sumptuous life style of our President and his
Similarly, Resolution 1886 at the 6189th meeting in
September 2009, where the mandate of UNIPSIL was
extended to September, 2010 as set out in the
previous resolutions 1829 in 2008, emphasized on
supporting preparations for the 2012 General
elections, without adequately outlining efforts to
promote good governance and tolerance - especially
those relating to inter party politics.
Clause six of this same resolution only vaguely
mentions good governance without due reference to
the actual dynamics of inter-party rivalry and
The 14 page report by the UNSG to the Security Council
in 2009, had lots of misrepresentations and at the
same time technically failing to forward any logical
argument on their dismal handling of the 2007
election violence perpetuated by the APC.
What have we achieved as far as democracy and good
governance are concerned?
Is there not enough political intolerance and
discrimination based on region or ethnicity already
in the current APC rule? Is the UN or UNIPSIL aware
of the indiscriminate sackings of South-Easterners
from their professional jobs simply because of their
Have we not seen Paramount Chief been removed from
office by the APC on the allegations that they
belong to the opposition SLPP? Is it news that the
last election results which the opposition contested
in court were rigged and superintended by UN
election experts…Carlos Vela’s et al?
Did we not see enough destruction of SLPP offices
across the country that the UN partly renovated?
Michael Schulenberg - Head of UN
Peacebuilding Programme, Sierra Leone
The question of youth employment remains mere
propaganda diction as very little has been done.
You need not read SRSG’s preposterous reports to the
UN Security council to realize the inaccuracies,
just go down-town Freetown or Makeni, Bo and Kenema
to see colleague youths disempowered and unemployed.
Now that the 2012 elections are approaching,
coupled with the fact that the UN mission in Sierra
Leone has not managed the Peacebuilding Agenda very
well, the signs are everywhere that: relapsing into
conflict is almost a possibility.
The ugly signs are everywhere, especially with the
recent rantings of the misguided Minister of
Internal Affairs and the shameless Mohamed Bangura
who has nothing to boast of in our Presidency other
than discussing girls on the phone.
Is the UN waiting for such an opportunity to further
substantiate why realists do not believe in
institutionalism…(relative gains from absolute
gains) and that they seek to remain in their jobs -
thus an end to conflict would mean unemployment for
Here is a cautious note for the Peacebuilding mission
in Sierra Leone. Peacebuilding scholars around the
world have attributed the very negative actions of
you UN Peacebuilding diplomats as reasons why in
less than a decade, most countries that have had UN
Peacebuilding interventions revert to conflict so
Is the UN going to allow the millions of dollars
contributed to Peacebuilding in Sierra Leone
collapse because of a conflict that they failed to
Watch out for Part II…..pretty-pretty soon!
Brima P. Kapuwa is a Sierra Leonean research
scholar in UN led Peacebuilding initiatives in
Sierra Leone and Burundi.
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