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1 WHOSE DEMOCRACY? NGOS AND THE DEMOCRACY PROJECT IN POST-CONFLICT SIERRA LEONE By FREDLINE AMAYBEL OLAYINKA MCORMACK-HALE A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008
2 2008 Fredline Amaybel Olayinka MCormack-Hale
3 To my parents, Fred and May MCormack; a nd my husband, Aaron Hale, without whose love and support this dissertation woul d not have come to fruition.
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The com pletion of this dissertation is a resu lt of blessings that are too many to count; blessings that include an understanding and accommodating committee that have worked tirelessly with me; family members that have en couraged and supported me in Sierra Leone as well as the US; friends, research associates, and of course, the respondents in the communities in Kailahun and Koinadugu in Sierra Leone without wh om this research would never have been possible. My debt of gratitude is exte nsive and this list is by no means comprehensive. My parents have been a source of inspiration, strength and guidance along these many, many years of schooling and I am thankful that they never lost faith in my ability to persevere, and finish. My extended family in Sierra Leone, including the Buck s and Mrs. Esme James were also invaluable in providing both moral and research support. I am also thankful to my advisors an d committee members who served in various capacities and whose support helped me to continue even when I thought I could not. My chair, Dr. Goran Hyden has been a pillar of support, facilitating the entire process. Dr. Staffan Lindberg has also helped greatly, stemming fr om before he was on the committee, and has provided advice ranging from research design and conceptualization, to SPSS and other technicalities; Professors Hozic and Barkin were always ready to lend a listening ear to any problems that came up, offering creative solution s to seemingly intractable problems; Dr. Leonardo Villaln for being so accommodating to st ep in at the last minute and Dr. Brenda Chalfin for getting the ball rolling by arrangi ng weekly meetings with me where I delivered chapters. I also wish to thank Dr. Ken Mease, who although not a committee member nevertheless was always willing to sacrifice his time, showing me new and interesting ways in which to analyze sheets of incomprehensible da ta. Special thanks also go to my adopted Aunt,
5 Dr. Barbara McDade who has been an instrumental part of my life and family since my arrival in Gainesville. I am indebted to my able team of student research assistants: Yujin Cho, Chelsea Hansen and Elyssa Tannenbaum, without whos e able help, nimble fingers and attention to detail, the data would not have been entered, so that statistical analysis coul d commence. They also provided interesting insights into the data. Comparativists always owe a debt of gratit ude to those who generously open up their doors, homes and hearts to enquiri ng strangers, nosily trying to fi nd out as much as they can. I would like to thank the community members of the chiefdoms in which research was conducted for their patience in responding to long questionnai res that probed various aspects of their life. Despite the length of the surveys and the tedi ousness of some questions, they were always gracious and allowed me the privilege of enteri ng their lives and learning from them. Thanks also to the community-based data collectors that assisted in this endeavor. I am grateful to a number of Sierra Leonean heads of various local civil society organizations as well as university professors that took time out to speak with me. Charlie Hughes and Gibril Sesay in particular, were most helpful in helping me see alternative tr uths, as was Dr. Joe A. D. Alie of Fourah Bay College. I am also grateful to the following organi zations: Oxfam GB, 50/50, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Management Systems International (MSI), and CARE International for providing ready access to the communities in whic h they work, as well as taking the time to speak with me in detail about the work they do. Special thanks go to Abimbola Akinyemi of Oxfam GB and the staff of the PACER Project of 50/50 for admini strative and other support. I am also indebted to Francis Johnston of MSI for the many hours he spent helping me understand
6 the intricacies of the Strengthening Democratic Governance Project as well as Jason Phillips of IRC and his wife for their warm hospitality and kind assistance. I would also like to thank the United States Institute of Peace, whos e provision of a Peace Scholar Dissertation Fellowship enabled me to both complete th e research and write up the dissertation. Of course, the process of writing and finishing up would not have possible without the able assistance of Debbie Wallen, Sue Lawless-Yanc hisin and Drew Blair, who have provided invaluable institutional and cheerleading support along the way. Finally, the support of my husband has been instrumental in the completion of this dissertation. Aarons patience and love helped me immensely, and there are no words to express how much I have appreciated all he has done during this process.
7 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ........11LIST OF FIGURES.......................................................................................................................13LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS........................................................................................................ 14ABSTRACT...................................................................................................................................15 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................17International Assistance and Democratization....................................................................... 17Democracy Assistance and Civil Society Promotion............................................................. 19Development and Democracy Assistance: Two sides of the same coin?........................ 20NGOs and Civil Society Buildi ng: What Do We Know?............................................... 22Problems in Measuring Democracy and Development Assistance................................. 27What are the Linkages? Toward an Unde rstanding of Development and Democracy Assistance and Mass Political Behavior.............................................................................28Situating Sierra Leone............................................................................................................322 CULTIVATING DEMOCRACY IN POST-CONFLICT CONTEXTS ................................41In the Aftermath of Conf lict: International Assistance in Post-War States............................ 41International Interventions in Post-Conflict States: the Various Components................ 44The Rise of NGOs and Assistance Aimed at Promoting Democracy............................. 47Specification and Measurement of Variables of Importance................................................. 49Strengthening Democracy: Defining the Concept........................................................... 54Operationalizing Democracy Strengthening................................................................... 59Measurement of Attitudes and Beliefs............................................................................ 60Belief in democratic legitimacy............................................................................... 60Cognitive awareness................................................................................................. 61Measurement of Political Behavior................................................................................. 62Political engagement................................................................................................ 62Civic engagement.....................................................................................................63Competing Explanations for Democracy Strengthening........................................................ 63Institutional Explanations, W ith a Focus on Civil Society.............................................. 63Theorized Relationships..................................................................................................68Methods of Research............................................................................................................ ..72Criteria for Research Site Selection........................................................................................ 74
8 Selection of Distri cts and Communities .......................................................................... 74Selection of Chiefdoms and Rural Communities Within Chiefdoms............................. 76Selected Communities: A Successful Process?............................................................... 77Specification of the Independent Vari able: The Meaning and Process of NGO Participation........................................................................................................................78Research Team Composition and Execution of Research...................................................... 79Research Process....................................................................................................................79Methodological Issues.......................................................................................................... ..803 SIERRA LEONE: FROM COLONI ALISM TO POST CONFLICT .................................... 85Sierra Leone: The Pre-Coloni al to Post-Colonial Years......................................................... 85The Colony versus the Protectorate: th e Sierra Leone Colonial Experience.................. 87The Politics of Divide and Rule: British Differentiated Policies in the Colony and Protectorate..................................................................................................................89Outlets for Political Participation in the Colony............................................................. 90The Rise of Political Activism among Af ricans from the Protectorate and the Fall of the Krio....................................................................................................................91Sowing the Seeds of Future Unrest: British Policies in the Protectorate and the Role of Chiefs...................................................................................................................... .94Attempts at Reform: The Implementati on of Native Administration, 1937 and the District Councils.......................................................................................................... 96Ethnic Tensions at the Brink of Independence................................................................98Whither the People? Mass Responses to Colonial Rule................................................ 101The Role of Secret Societies..........................................................................................103From Independence to Civil Wa r: The Post-Colonial Years................................................ 105Stevens and the Patrimonial State................................................................................. 109Momoh and the Advent of Civil War............................................................................ 114Contributing Factors to Civ il War in Sierra Leone....................................................... 118Impacts of War.............................................................................................................. 120In the Aftermath of War: Emphases for Reconstruction...................................................... 121Restoration of the State................................................................................................. 121Community Development............................................................................................. 124Peace Building and Human Rights................................................................................ 124Economic Development................................................................................................ 125International Assistance in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone........................................................126NGO Sectoral Targets: From Relief to Democracy and Development................................1294 PARTICIPATION IN NGOS AND DEMOC RACY STRENGTHENING: A COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP.............................................................................................. 135Demographic Breakdown of Participants............................................................................. 136Frequency of Distribution of Demographic Variables.........................................................136Impact of NGO participation on Democracy Strengthening: an Overview of the Distribution of the Dependent Variable............................................................................ 140Sierra Leonean Understandings of Democracy.................................................................... 140Distribution of Responses on Attitudes/Beliefs....................................................................145
9 Belief in democratic legitimacy..................................................................................... 145Cognitive Awareness..................................................................................................... 147External Efficacy........................................................................................................... 150Distribution of Responses on Political Behavior.................................................................. 151Political Engagement.....................................................................................................151Attendance at local meetings.................................................................................. 152Contact with political leaders................................................................................. 154Voting.....................................................................................................................155Civic Engagement.........................................................................................................156Membership in community organizations.............................................................. 156Participation in community-driven development...................................................157NGO Participation and Democr acy Strengthening: What are the Relationships?............... 157Attitudes and Beliefs: Belief in Democratic Legitimacy.............................................. 157Attitudes and Beliefs: Cognitive Awareness................................................................. 160Knowledge of leaders.............................................................................................160Knowledge of political concepts............................................................................ 161Attitudes and Beliefs: External Efficacy....................................................................... 162Ability to change unjust law................................................................................... 162Political Behavior.................................................................................................................163Political Behavior: Political Engagement......................................................................163Attendance at political meetings............................................................................ 163Contact with political leaders................................................................................. 164Voting.....................................................................................................................165Political Behavior: Civic Engagement.......................................................................... 165Participation in community associations................................................................ 166Participation in CDD.............................................................................................. 166Toward an Understanding of NGO Im pact on Democracy Strengthening........................... 167Discussion of Predictor Variables................................................................................. 167Factors Affecting Beliefs/Attitudes about Democracy.................................................. 168Supply of Democracy............................................................................................. 168Cognitive awareness............................................................................................... 169Factors Affecting Political Behavior.............................................................................170Testing Alternative Hypotheses............................................................................................ 171The Impact of Gender.................................................................................................... 171The Impact of Region: Which is More Influential Kailahun or Koinadugu?............. 1725 CONCLUSIONS: IMPLICATIONS OF DONOR ASSISTANCE AND DEMOCRACY IN SIERRA LEONE............................................................................................................. 191Whose Democracy? Donor Assistance Versus Recipient Priorities.....................................191Limitations of Decentralization............................................................................................ 205Limitations of the Study....................................................................................................... 208Implications of Research...................................................................................................... 212APPENDIX A QUESTIONNAIRE..............................................................................................................227
10 B SELECT LIST OF INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS INTERVIEWED.............................. 246LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................249BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................262
11 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1 Areas of democracy assistance.......................................................................................... 842-2 Community selection by region and criteria...................................................................... 843-1 Sierra Leone financial st atistics (m. of US dollars) ........................................................ 1323-2 GDP at current factor cost................................................................................................ 1323-3 External trade (m. Leones)............................................................................................... 1323-4 Principal exports (m. Leones).......................................................................................... 1333-5 Expenditure on Gross National Product (Percentage)..................................................... 1333-6 Categories of a ssistance defined...................................................................................... 1333-7 Sierra Leone assistance by pillar, 2006............................................................................ 1344-1 Gender distribution........................................................................................................ ..1754-2 Ethnicity distribution..................................................................................................... ..1764-3 Religion distribution...................................................................................................... ..1764-4 Education distribution..................................................................................................... .1764-5 Age distribution........................................................................................................... ....1774-6 Occupation................................................................................................................. ......1774-7 What does democracy mean to you? (First response)..................................................... 1784-8 Classification of Democracy meanings...........................................................................1794-9 Classification of good government meanings.............................................................. 1794-10 Preference for democracy................................................................................................ 1794-11 Rejection of alternative regimes...................................................................................... 1804-12 Satisfaction with demo cracy in Sierra Leone.................................................................. 1804-13 Evaluation of democracy in Sierra Leone........................................................................1804-14 Knowledge of political leaders........................................................................................ 181
12 4-15 Knowledge of political concepts...................................................................................... 1814-16 Chance to change unjust po licies (local and national)..................................................... 1814-17 Ability to refuse someone more powerful telling you how to vote................................. 1814-18 Attend political meetings.................................................................................................1824-19 Contact of political leaders (formal and traditional)........................................................ 1824-20 Votes cast in local and national el ections (official and self-reported)............................. 1824-21 Total number of groups to which respondents belong..................................................... 1834-22 Types of groups to which participants belong.................................................................1834-23 Number of respondents participating in CDD................................................................. 1834-24 Impact of NGO participati on on satisfaction with democracy........................................ 1834-25 Impact of NGO participation on eval uation of democracy in Sierra Leone.................... 1844-26 NGO impact on knowledge of leaders............................................................................. 1844-27 Knowledge of political c oncepts by NGO participation.................................................. 1854-28 Impact of NGO participation on efficacy........................................................................ 1854-29 NGO participation by attendance at VDC meeting......................................................... 1854-30 NGO participation in C DD by NGO participation..........................................................1864-31 NGO participation in C DD by NGO participation..........................................................1864-32 Determinants of perception of democratic supply........................................................... 1874-33 Effect of cognitive awareness.......................................................................................... 1884-34 Affecting Political Engagement.......................................................................................1894-35 Affecting civic Engagement............................................................................................190
13 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1 Core Conceptual Attribute 1: Inte rplay between NGOs and Attitudes/Beliefs ................. 692-2 Core Conceptual Attrib ute 2: Interplay between NGOs and Political Behavior............... 703-1 Map of Sierra Leone..........................................................................................................863-2 Sierra Leone map by ethnic groups, 1969......................................................................... 883-3 Overseas development assistan ce to five African countries............................................ 1263-4 ODA net disbursements for Sierra Leone 1990-2006...................................................... 1273-5 Proportion of aid given to Sierra Leone by aid modality................................................. 1293-6 Total disbursements by sector, 2003-2005...................................................................... 1303-7 2006 Aid disbursements by p illar, including NGO assistance........................................ 1314-1 Demographic breakdown of Kailahun district................................................................. 1384-2 Demographic breakdown of Koinadugu district.............................................................. 139
14 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS APC All Peoples Congress AFRC Armed forces revolutionary council CEA Committee for the educated Aborigines CDD Community driven development DACO Development assist ance coordination office DFID Department for in ternational development FGD Focus group discussion GAR Gender action research HDI Human development index IFI International financial institution INGO International non-gove rnmental organization MDA Ministry, department and agency MDSD Most different systems design MSSD Most similar systems design MODEP Ministry of development and economic planning NACSA National commissi on of social action NCBWA National congress of British West Africa NPRC National provisional ruling council PIU Project implementation unit PNP Peoples national party PRSP Poverty reduction strategy paper RUF Revolutionary united front SLPP Sierra Leone peoples party WAYL West African Youth League
15 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy WHOSE DEMOCRACY? NGOS AND THE DEMOCRACY PROJECT IN POST-CONFLICT SIERRA LEONE By Fredline Amaybel Olayinka MCormack-Hale December 2008 Chair: Goran Hyden Cochair: Leonardo Villaln Major: Political Science Do international non-governmental organizatio ns (NGOs) foster attitudes, beliefs and behavior supportive of liberal demo cracy, and, if so, how? This quest ion is addressed in the case of Sierra Leone, a formerly failed state that underwent civil war between 1991 and 2002. In early 2002, Sierra Leoneans celebrated the end of eleven years of civil conflict and began the task of re-building. During the latter years of the war and, to a growing ex tent, in the post-conflict era, Sierra Leone is the recipient of a wide variety of international interven tions aimed at rebuilding the state, strengthening institutions and (re) cons tructing democracy. International actors, ranging from bilateral donors, multilateral institutio ns and various international development organizations are active in Sierra Leone, contributing to, and in some instances driving the postconflict reconstruction agenda. Their activities are designed to transform so cieties into more democratic entities, by strengthening existing institutions along neo-libera l criteria and the development of civic norms. The international development co mmunity through both multilateral an d bilateral agencies has in the past two decades been active in providing support of democratization efforts around the world. Much of this support has focused on assisting elections and strengthening parliaments,
16 turning in recent years, to building civil so ciety. Although a large body of work exists that examines the impact of democracy assistance in post-conflict settings, much of this work has focused on the supply side of governance, examining how such assistance has strengthened institutions such as the electoral system, the judiciary, and the media. Less is known however, of the impact of democracy assistance on the dema nd-side of politics: what influence it plays in shaping citizen engagement with the state, political participation and understandings of democracy. Moreover, although democracy assistance makes sense in countries that are politically stable, the utility of such suppor t in countries where civil conflic t or war has prevailed and where the state has shown signs of failure to cope with such strife is less clear. While there is a solid body of theory dealing with democratization under stable political conditions, there is a lack of both helpful theory and empirical studies when it comes to state building and democratization in post-conflict situations. The purpos e of this dissertation is to ma ke a contribution that addresses both theory and policy regarding the role of international assistance to state building and democracy in these contexts.
17 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Do international non-governm ental organizatio ns (NGOs) foster attitudes, beliefs and behavior supportive of liberal democracy, and if so, how? This dissertation addresses this question in Sierra Leone, a formerly failed state that underwent civil war between 1991 and 2002. In the aftermath of war, Sierra Leone, like many other states in similar positions, is the recipient of large amounts of aid designed to strengthen democracy and consolidate peace. The purpose of this dissertation is to examine one specific component of such assistance aid channeled through NGOs with the goal of buildi ng civil society and relatedly, democracy and assess the impact of such interventions on their stated goals. International Assistance and Democratization Intern ational assistance1 in post-conflict states gained greater visibility in the 1990s following the high incidence of civil wars worl dwide including in Afri can states. Between 1989 and 1999, Wallensteen and Sollenber g (2000) recorded a total of 110 armed conflicts, forty-eight of which were classified as war-level. Of the 229 armed conflicts re corded between 1946-2003, just over half (116) took place between 1989-2003 (Eriksson and Wallenste en 2004). At least half of these ended in negotiated peace settlements, often broker ed by international actors (Sisk 2001) compared to 15 percent receiving intern ational intervention be tween 1900-1980 (Stedman 1991, cited in Sisk 2001). Countries such as Moza mbique, Cambodia, El Salvador and Sierra Leone among others have all been recent recipients of such interventions. In 1999 alone, the international community facilitated power-sharing agreements in contexts as diverse as Sierra Leone, Indonesia and Yugoslavia. 1 International assistance here refers to all types of assist ance emanating outside of the country in question, aimed at fostering peace, development and democracy. It includ es multilateral and bilateral donors, international organizations, international nongovernmental organizations, and private consultancy firms among others.
18 For countries emerging from war, the adoption of democracy is the solution widely promoted by the international community as the antidote to further conf lict, ensuring long-term peace and security (Posner 2003; Kumar 1997; De Zeeuw and Kumar 2006; Smillie and Minear 2004). There are a variety of reasons for this. Th ese include demands by ci tizens weary of war, and the necessity of having a government perceive d as legitimate and representative. Also of importance is the belief that a democratic govern ment allows for peaceful resolution of conflict through the provision of various mechanisms th rough which dissenting voices can articulate concerns and find redress, and can serve as an effective counter to inte rnational terrorism. A democratic government is also perceived as the best environment for effective social and economic development (Kumar 1997; De Z eeuw and Kumar 2006: 5-6; Yannis 2002). International assistance geared toward stre ngthening democracy is not limited to postconflict states, but has gained increased salien ce in all contexts give n the neoliberal orthodoxy that now dominates research and policy agenda s since the fall of communism. In addition to being seen as a mechanism to safeguard peace, th e generally dismal performance of structural adjustment and other policies aimed at stimul ating economic development has reinforced the belief that economics and politics are linked, and sustainable development can only take place under the auspices of go od governance (Green and Kohl 2007; Kumar 1997). As a result, the international community2 through both multilateral and bilateral agencies has in the past two decades been active in providing support of democratization efforts around the world in peaceful as well as post-conflict contexts. Thus, a growing number of international interventions have shifted from a focus on ec onomic growth alone to institution building and 2 For the purpose of this dissertation, the internationa l community is used interchangeably with international assistance and is the designation for all those responsibl e for the provision of assistance to various countries. Although for simplicity, they are referred to as if a co mmon entity, it is important to note that the actors making up this designation are not necessarily monolithic, actin g with a common agenda using similar approaches.
19 democratization, extending this poli tical agenda to states emergi ng from civil conflict (De Zeeuw 2005). Democracy Assistance and Civil Society Promotion De mocracy promotion can assume many forms, in cluding incentives such as trade benefits, or punitive measures such as economic sanctions and military intervention (Carothers 1999; Burnell 2000). However, democracy assistance, broadly understood as ai d designed to advance social, economic and other conditions beli eved to be beneficial to democracy (Burnell 2000), has increasingly received attention as the mo st significant tool for democracy promotion (Carothers 1999). While the range of activities can differ depending on donor country, organization type, and ideological focus, nevertheless there are a set of specific institutions and organizational processes that are of ten the target of such assistan ce. These include assistance to institutions associated with democracy such as th e strengthening of the capacity of post-conflict states to hold elections, judi cial reform, and mass media deve lopment among others (De Zeeuw and Kumar 2006; Burnell 2000). However, with the gr owth in attention paid to mass attitudes, beliefs and behavior in consolidating democrac y, the emphasis of consolidation theories has widened to include the promotion and development of civil society (Pridham 2000; Diamond 1997; Linz and Stepan 1997; Diamond 1999), with assistance at this sector increasingly channeled through NGOs. This literature recognizes that not only does the mass public matter in its pivotal role in the transition to democracy but also in the never-ending quest to deepen democracy beyond its formal structure (Diamond 1999: 219). Scholars have recognized that for democracy to become rooted in a society, there is not only a need for democratic institutions and rules, but the people in a country must also develop attitudes and behaviors supportive of democracy (Diamond 1994). Thus, there is a need for engagement with the wider institutional
20 environment, which includes norms, conventions and practices rather than confining the focus to organizations (Burnell 2000). Civil society, conceived generally as the space in a society between individuals and families, on one hand, and the state or government on the other (Carothers 1999: 209), is perceived as the arena through which such attitudes and behaviors can be cultivated: it is seen as a buffer to full totalitarization in authoritarian states (Lin z and Stepan 1997: 255-292), a precondition for democracy (Linz and Stepan 1997: 7), a potential instigat or of democratization movements in authoritarian regimes (Diamond 1999: 234) as well as necessary for the vitality of democracy (Hadenius and Uggla 1996). It is oste nsibly the locus of change wherein citizens become politically active and informed citizenry, ab le to articulate their interests vis--vis an adversarial state. Development and Democracy Assistan ce: Two sides of the same coin? Given the rise in im portance of the civil society concept, democracy as well as development assistance geared toward building civil society has mushroomed (Hearn 2000; Knack 2004; Ottaway and Carothers 2000) as bot h have been theorized to contribute to strengthening democracy, albeit in different ways. The emphasis placed on civil society in building democracy has resulted in international interventions that prioritize democracy building as a means to stabilize peace, and in developmen t interventions that also contribute to civil society building. The academic and policy literature examining the theoretical relevance of civil society to development, democracy and correspondingly, sustained peace3 has mushroomed too. 3 The literature on civil society is extensive, and a substantial number of books and articles have appeared that range from discussions on its origin, for example, Adam B. Seligman, The Idea of Civil Society (New York, Toronto, New York: Free Press ; Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; Maxwell Macmillan International, 1992), and, John Keane, Civil Society and the State : New European Perspectives (London ; New York: Verso, 1988), to its applicability in nonwestern contexts, J. Bayart, "Civil Society in Africa," in African Studies Series ed. Patrick Chabal (Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986), and, John W. Harbeson, Do nald S. Rothchild, and Naomi Chazan, Civil Society and the State in Africa (Boulder: L. Rienner Publishers, 1994). Also considered is its impact on
21 For many donors, the ideal trajectory is the implem entation of relief and re habilitation efforts in the immediate aftermath of war, followed by ec onomic development with political and social interventions, of which democracy assist ance is part (De Zeeuw and Kumar 2006). Although democracy and development assistance are often viewed as two separate spheres of support, the rise in prominence of civil society in theories of democracy building and consolidation as well as development over the pa st two decades has resulted in a narrowing of this gap. However, while the two share to an extent, the same underlying objective of strengthening democracy, the appro aches differ as do the short-term objectives (Carothers 1999). Although traditional development assistance still emphasizes the economic domain, interventions now increasingly in corporate discussions on civil so ciety as links are also made between democracy and development, and the former is hypothesized to lead to an increase in the latter (Hyden 1997) or the two are perceived to be complementary. Along these lines, social empowerment and participatory development project s can also impact civil society building. For example, by increasing participation in community -driven development activities (CDD), such as collective road construction and reconstruction and th e rehabilitation of destroyed buildings, NGOs are seen as building trust and strengthening civil society, which in turn can lead to an increase in democratic participation as well as development. However this argument, which incorporates social capital theory, differs from de mocracy assistance in th at it includes groups and associations that are not necessarily a dvocacy-oriented, the target often, although not exclusively, of democracy assistan ce (Burnell 2000; Carothers 1999). democracy building. See for example, Larry Diamond, "Rethinking Civil Society: Toward Democratic Consolidation," Journal of Democracy 5, no. 3 (1994), Axel Hadenius and Fredrik Uggla, "Making Civil Society Work, Promoting Democratic Development: What Can States and Donors Do?," World Development 24, no. 10 (1996).
22 On the other hand, the primary focus of democracy assistance is on advocacy organizations, although it does suppo rt other elements of civil so ciety such as trade unions, the media, and civic education (Carothers 1999). Support of advocacy organizations is also envisioned to increase citi zen political participation, wh ere the emphasis is on providing technical assistance, advocacy training, and funding for institutional support to organizations that provide an avenue for citizens to articulate their demands to the state and to hold the state accountable to citizen interests. In addition to advocacy organizations, democracy assistance targeted at civil society buildi ng also includes to a le sser extent, civic edu cation, often performed by local NGOs through funding from inte rnational ones (Carothers 1999). NGOs and Civil Society Building: What Do We Know? W ith this focus on civil society, NGOs have come to assume a prominent role in development and democracy assistance due to the assumption that they work at the grassroots level. As a result, much of the assistance dir ected at this sector is channeled through NGO as they are viewed as more in tune with local cont exts and subsequently more effective than state organizations (Fowler 1988). What then is the relationship between NGOs civil society and democracy in states recovering from conflict? While there is a solid body of theory dealing with democratization under stable political conditions, there is a lack of both helpful theory and empirical studies when it comes to democratization in post-conflict situations, where the latter refers specifically to citizen political participation and attitudes and beliefs on democracy. Moreover, although assistance aimed at strengthening democracy makes sense in countries that are politically stable, the utility of such support in countries where civil conflict or war has occurred and where the state has shown signs of failure to cope with such strife is less clear.
23 Let us focus first on democracy assistance in post-conflict and peacef ul settings. Where there is research on democracy in post-conflict settings, much of this work has focused on the supply side of governance, examining how such a ssistance has strengthened institutions such as the electoral system, the judiciary, and th e media (Zeeuw and Kumar 2006). Less is known however, of the impact of democracy assistance on the demand-side of politics: what influence it has in shaping citizen engagement with the state, political participati on and understandings of democracy. One of the purposes of this study is to make a contribution that addresses both theory and policy regarding the role NGOs play in de mocratization in post-conflict contexts. Influential works on democracy assistance in largely peaceful contexts include seminal tomes by Carothers (1995; 1999; 2004) as well as Burnell (2000; 2007), who have both written comprehensive volumes that attempt to take stock of the field, tracing its beginnings, accomplishments, limitations and avenues for future research. There is some consensus that while democracy assistance has some positive outc omes in assisting countries transitioning to democracy and in democratic consolidation, the context in which promotion occurs must be taken into account as should the form and obj ective of assistance (Burnell 2000; Carothers 1999). While acknowledging the difficulties of criteria selection and the establishment of causal links that make democracy assistance problemat ic to evaluate, Carothers (1999) nevertheless finds room for tentative hope. Using a three-fold criterion identifying countries as transitioning, undergoing stagnated or reversed tr ansitions and finally, no transiti on at all, he finds that the performance of democracy assistance shifts de pending on the context. For countries undergoing transitions, democracy assistance (with focus on inst itutions such as the electorate, media, and state institutions), can help bolster democra tization. Finkel, Perez-Linan, and Seligson (2007) come to similar conclusions in newly transiti oning and developing countries, although Carothers
24 argues that there are often other existing factors that facilitate this movement to democratic consolidation. Burnell (2000) finds that demo cracy promoters must select pa rtners carefully, with an eye to project ownership, sustainability and the development of locally-rooted support. Also important is flexibility in part ners of support and in continuati on or cessation of such support as well as an appreciation of the limitations of democracy assistance. Democracy assistance has performed better in some aspects than others. Fo r example, despite lack of sustainability, postconflict election assistance to countries in Afri ca and Asia led to the execution of elections largely deemed free and fair (Kumar 1998; Kumar 2000); however, democracy assistance in semi-authoritarian regime contexts face challenge s due to the resistance of entrenched power structures to releasing power (C arothers 2000). A review of donor assistance to civil society in Africa finds that the support of certain types of organizations (advocacy) ove r others can lead to a restriction of who participat es (Hearn and Robinson 2000), while in South East Asia, it would appear that international effo rts to strengthen NGOs and civil society led to more concrete impacts on democratic developments (Quigley 2000). Other studies are not so positive. Knack (2004) found no evidence to support the argument that foreign aid promotes democracy. His multivariate analysis included a large number of countries surveyed between 1975-2000 using two different democracy indexes and aid intensity measures. Others have argued that aid can actually undermine democracy, through strengthening the government sector at the expense of th e private (Friedman 1995), or reduce government accountability to citizens as it provides an alterna tive revenue base outside of citizen taxes (Karl 1997). Although these studies are important contribut ions to a rapidly grow ing field, research on
25 its overall effectiveness remains scant given th e constraints imposed by methodological, political and logistical contexts (Green and Kohl 2007; Carothers 1999). Where scholars undertake research primarily on post-conflict contexts, the emphasis is again on the supply side of democracy, on institut ions (see for example, De Zeeuw and Kumar 2006; De Zeeuw 2005). De Zeeuw and Kumars (2006) comparative work on democracy assistance is a notable step in the direction of theorizing about the impact of such assistance, focusing specifically on democracy assistance in post-conflict contexts. However, by examining human rights, media development, political part y development and post-conflict elections, this work is focused more on the supply side of governance and institutions, examining how such assistance has strengthened institutions such as th e electoral system, the judiciary, and the media. Even the impact of human rights assistance is examined within the context of human rights organizations. Despite reporting a mixed record for democracy assistance in these sectors for nine countries spanning three con tinents (Africa, Asia and Latin America), they conclude that democracy assistance has overall had beneficial impacts in countries re covering from conflict (De Zeeuw and Van de Goor 2006). Internationa l assistance contributed to the growth and development of organizations necessary for de mocracy, the execution of fair and well-conducted elections, improved protection of human rights and greater media freedom. However, they also call for greater attention to context, grassroot s participation, increased donor coordination and attention to capacity building so programs last beyond donor interventions (De Zeeuw and Van de Goor 2006: 280-281). It is this lack of attention to instituti on-building that is the biggest hindrance to more sustained impacts of democracy assistance; while activities such as training of the judiciary and parliament as well as security sector reform among other measures are effective for short-term political stabiliz ation and socio-economic developm ent, their long term impact on
26 democratic institutions is more questionable (De Zeeuw 2005). More attention must be paid to institution building, rather than simply putting new organizations in place. In turning to analyses of the effectiveness of assistance targeted specifically at building civil society and channeled through NGOs, the results are again mixed. In contemporary literature, the effectiveness of development assi stance and the suitability of NGOs in fostering development is widely debated,4 despite the substantial body of research positing that NGOs work at the grassroots level and are consequently more effective th an state organizations as they are in tune with local contex ts (Fowler 1988; Macdonald 1995). Th e same is true of the civil society concept itself; its effectiveness in stre ngthening democracy is also contested, as is its ability to contribute to the in culcation of democratic values norms and behavior in local citizens.5 For example, recent research from post-communist Europe suggests that civil society assistance might be a new imperialism (Fagan 2006), contributing to the development of externally-driven group s with no grassroots support (Hem ment 2004); a finding also echoed by Hearn and Robinson (2000) in thei r comparative work of civil soci ety assistance in three African 4 A few examples of this prolific literature include David Hulme and Michael Edwards, NGOs, States and Donors : Too Close for Comfort? International Political Economy Series (New Yo rk: St. Martin's Press in association with Save the Children, 1997), Terje Tvedt, Angels of Mercy or Development Diplomats? NGOs & Foreign Aid (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1998), David C. Korten, Getting to the 21st Century : Voluntary Action and the Global Agenda Kumarian Press Library of Management for Development (West Hartford, Conn.: Kumarian Press, 1990), Carol Lancaster, Aid to Africa : So Much to Do, So Little Done (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999). 5 See for some example Julie Hearn and Mark Robinson, "Civil Society and Democracy Assistance in Africa," in Democracy Assistance : International Co-Operation for Democratization ed. Peter J. Burnell (London ; Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2000). Their empirical study of democracy assistance in three African co untries reveal that while such assistance can indeed strengthen the legitimacy of democratic political institutions, funding restrictions to specific organizations often staffed by Western-educated elite s constrains political participation to an elect few. Also see Gabriel Badescu, Paul Sum, and Eric M. Uslaner, "Civil Society Development and Democratic Values in Romania and Moldova," East European Politics & Societies 18, no. 2 (2004). Their research in Romania and Moldova found that contrary to the social capital literature, ci vic participation, while leading to higher levels of civic engagement, trust and tolerance on the part of elites that run organizations, does not have the same effect on the mass public. Other research that examines the impact of NGOs on civil society and democratization without necessarily focusing on the individual level include, An drew Clayton, "NGOs, Civil Society and the State: Building Democracy in Transitional Societies," (Oxford: INTRAC, 1996). Also see, Nelson Kasfir, ed., Civil Society and Democracy in Africa (London ; Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 1998).
27 countries. Carothers (1999) in his examination of de mocracy assistance to the civil society sector, finds that assistance in countries undergoi ng transitions can contribute to increasing the numbers of these organizations, boos ting citizen-state inte raction and lead to some policy change reflective of civil society intere sts. However, assistance made little difference in the last two scenarios of his typology (countries undergoing stagnated transitions or none at all). In the same way, linkages between NGOs, development and democratization where the focus is on civil society has yielded contradictory results (Knack 2004; Macdonald 1995; Tvedt 1998; Smillie 2001; Badescu, Sum and Uslaner 2004) and there is little consensus on the impact of NGOs on these variables. Problems in Measuring Democracy and Development Assistance Measuring the im pact of democracy and de velopment assistance is however hindered by complications in the evaluation process itself Democracy assistance spans so many different spheres that determining what to measure, and which indicators to use is a daunting task (Green and Kohl 2007). Furthermore, establishing links of causality between implemented programs and target populations is difficult (Carothers 1999; Burnell 2007). Over-reliance on quantitative indicators that focus on outputs and outcomes, re porting statistics as a sign of positive change such as numbers of civil society groups es tablished, or people trained, often ignore the substantive changes that more qua litative research can grasp. Evalua tors then, must be sensitive to the local political contexts as this can point to other variable s that have contributed to positive changes outside of international assistance as well as utilize a va riety of methodologies that can capture the full range of potential change. Com mitment to evaluation in the long term is also necessary, as often the objectives of assistan ce targeted at changing behavior and shaping attitudes will not appear overn ight. Evaluations must also carefully consider respondent selection: often simply focusing on project benefici aries and using evaluators associated in some
28 way with the program can lead to constrained re sponses favorable to the program regardless of actual experience (Carothers 1999) Use of independent evaluato rs, and wider selection of informants to include beneficiaries as well as non-project participants can help ensure more accurate data collection (Carot hers 1999). To address these concerns, the study uses data collectors unrelated to the implementing NGOs, and includes qualitative as well as quantitative indicators in data co llection and analysis. What are the Linkages? Toward an Und erstanding of Development and Democracy Assistance and Mass Political Beh avior Despite the lack of consensus in impacts, give n the rise in importanc e of the civil society concept, international development organizatio ns, through democracy and development lenses are engaged in work designed to inculcate civi c norms and values supportive of democracy as well as increase political partic ipation. The central argument often offered in support of NGOs, civil society and democracy stre ngthening is that citizens enga ged in projects run by NGOs (be they development or democracy oriented) are more likely to be involved in groups and organizations (civil society). Such civic engagement in turn leads to higher levels of democratic values such as tolerance and trus t, and also contributes to grea ter citizen participation in the political arena, or what I call here, strengthe ned democracy. Thus, an association is made between attitudes and behavior. In the vein of civic culture and civil society theories, democracy relies on the cultivation, in a populace, of atti tudes and values supportiv e of democracy, with such attitudes resulting in behavioral change. Thes e attitudes and values can be developed within civic associations, where partic ipants learn how to get along, e xpress their voice and even come to learn to trust each other. The linkages draw n between NGOs and democratic development are often limited to civil society, where the so-calle d participatory and democratic approach of NGOs fosters the development of ci vil society. It is this civil so ciety (where civil society is
29 regarded foremost as associations and organiza tions in which individual s gather together for development purposes and/or articula te various disparate concerns to the state) that is primarily responsible for fostering development and democr acy. They do this in several ways. First, in terms of sheer numbers: by increasing the numbers of voices in the political arena, a wider range of actors can have a say in the running of the country. Second, their commitment to the poor and the marginalized increases access to the state by actors otherwise silenced by lack of opportunity. Third, they ostensibly increase the number of act ors able to have a voice in society holding it accountable to citizens demands. However, such work is often confined to ci vil society associations Largely missing from evaluations of NGOs and democracy building is an examination of the impact these interventions have on micro-level political beha vior, beyond a reference to civil so ciety, which in itself refers to group political behavior. Thus, less is known of the impact of democracy assistance on the demand-side of politics at the level of the indivi dual: what influence it has in shaping citizen engagement with the state, political participa tion and attitudes and beliefs toward democracy. Despite the growth in democracy and development assistance ch anneled at civil society and democracy building, there remains much to describe and explain in terms of impacts, especially in post-conflict settings. It is not enough to look at associational life with its emphasi s on the collective; given that the liberal model emphasizes indivi dual participation, th e study looks at how individual values are shaped by political and historical expe riences, outside or in addition to civic group participation. To this end, in addition to looki ng at civil society, meas ured by membership in civic organizations, individual attitudes, belief s and practices around democracy are examined as well and the impact of partic ipation in NGOs measured.
30 Another shortcoming is that scholars often look to political institutions such as the judiciary, the media and human ri ghts organizations when assessi ng the impact of international assistance on democracy building. However, what relevance might these institutions have, if the people for whom such a democracy is crafte d neither understand nor are interested in democracy? How can one truly assess the implicati ons of such interventi ons without taking into account the way in which people feel a bout their relevan ce to their lives? This brief overview has sought to make clear th at, so far, we lack a comprehensive theory of not only the impact of NGOs in civil societ y building but also their influence on individual attitudes, beliefs and behavior pertaining to democracy in postconflict states. The increase in emphasis and, to an extent, funding for democracy assistance notwithstanding, the jury is still out as to the processes through wh ich NGOs affect democratization as well as to whether its initiatives are successful. Given all the limitations outlined above, more critical studies tracing the linkages between local level participation in development projects and micro-level participation in the political system is needed to better understand if and how such linkages take place (Macdonald 1995). To address this limitation, this disser tation takes as its starting point, the attitudes and behavior of individuals, and examines how this is shaped by participation in projec ts run by NGOs, be they development, relief or democracy-oriented in th e post-conflict setting of Sierra Leone. By focusing on micro-level political pa rticipation, it contributes to th e growing work that examines the impact of mass behavior in democratic consolidation, addressing the limitation of elite prioritization that looks at the behavior and choices of elites as instrumental in transitions to as well as consolidation of democracy (O'Donne ll, Schmitter and Whitehead 1986). Additionally, instead of looking at the supply si de of democracy, and instituti ons, I look at the demand side,
31 focusing only on one component of democratizati on: civic engagement and democratic values held by the masses. This is important given th e increased recognition th at individual behavior and attitudes play a significant role in the consolidation of de mocracy in post-conflict and nonconflict states alike. By democracy strengthening, I refer to the extent in which masses adopt values and behaviors supportive of liberal democracy. The specific question examined is whether participation in NGO projects, be they democr acy or development oriented, contributes to democracy strengthening (defined in more detail in Chapter 2) as understood by the development of attitudes and beliefs supportive of democracy and increased political participation. The purpose of this dissertation then, is to investig ate the relationship between NGOs and democracy strengthening, where the latter specifically refers to one small component of democratization that is often the focus of civil society-building ini tiatives: norms and belie fs supportive of liberal democracy as well as the political behavior of th ose for whom the establishment of a democratic regime ostensibly benefits. In so doing, this dissertation builds an explan atory framework of the relationship between NGO assistance and political attitudes, beliefs a nd participation. Such work is important for a number of reasons. Given the dearth of ex isting empirical works examining democracy assistance efforts in post-conflict states, the ne ed for empirical contri butions is clear. By examining the relationship between individual pa rticipation in NGO projects, wider associational activity (e.g. participa tion in self-help groups, ascriptive groups and voluntary groups), and beliefs and political behavior in a concrete c ontext, this study will o ffer a modest empirical contribution to this field. Also, the current em phasis on development organi zations as agents of change in civil society development and democr acy building makes the establishment of such explanations necessary as they dictate policy and funding initiatives (V an Rooy 2000). It will
32 also contribute to theory building on the ro le NGOs play in civil society building and democratization in post-conflict settings. Although all types of interventions are examin ed, the majority of interventions in the researched communities are primarily developmentoriented, targeted at ordinary rural-based citizens rather than advocacy organizations. Rather than simply measuring attitudes and beliefs of civil society groups then, this study looks at the individuals th at make up these groups to see whether their attitudes, beliefs and behavior are influenced by factors other than membership in civic organizations. This study thus contribute s to the development of empirical knowledge pertaining to individual attitudes and behavior about demo cracy that goes beyond explanatory factors located at the level of civil society, often presented as the main contributor to the attitudes they hold and their political behavior. In so doing, it also sheds some light on the political activity of rural inhabitants. Where civil society is examined, this st udy looks beyond advocacy organizations, which are often resident in the capital city, where political activism is frequently higher and the number of civil society organizations greater than in rural areas. Civil society in this study includes groups organized around objectives of providing basic social and health services, reciprocal development-oriented assistance and culturally specific activities, given that NGO interventions in the rural regions focus more on increasing indivi dual capacity to take an active role in their own development, although there is also mention of democracy. Situating Sierra Leone Sierra L eone provides an excellent case study in which to examine the relationship between NGO assistance and democratization, specifica lly understood here as the political attitudes, beliefs and behavior of the masses. Since this country has only recently emerged from
33 a decade of conflict, numerous international in terventions have included both democratization and development components.6 Since the end of the 19912002 civil war, Sier ra Leoneans are trying to rebuild the state and consolidate democracy with the assistan ce of the international community. Areas of intervention include the restoration of instituti ons for democratic governan ce and the inculcation of civic norms and behavior in the general popul ace. Although the official cessation of hostilities in January 2002 was met with much celebra tion, with peace came the beginning of the momentous task of rebuilding a st ate that was classified amongst the worlds failed states (Reno 1997). The incumbent government inherited a st ate whose weakness stemmed from long before the war. Plundered for years by former president Siaka Stevens, who milked state institutions to support an extensive patron-client network, Sie rra Leone prior to 1991 was ravaged by widescale corruption and inefficiency, with weak institutions, crippling debts and poor economic infrastructure. The war compounded these proble ms. By 2002, it had claimed the lives of an estimated 50,000 people, displa ced hundreds of thousands more, and wrought massive infrastructural as well as emotional damage, s carring civilians and combatants alike, many of whom were child soldiers. During the latter years of the war and, to a grow ing extent, in the postconflict era, Sierra Leone has been the recipient of a wide variety of international interventions aimed at rebuilding the state, strengthening institutions and (re) cons tructing democracy. International actors, ranging from bilateral donors, multilateral institutio ns and various international development organizations are active in Sierra Leone, contributing to, and in some instances driving the post6 See for example, Development Assistance Coordinatio n Office (DACO). "Developme nt Assistance to Sierra Leone, 2006." (Place Published: Deve lopment Assistance Coordination Office, Office of the Vice President, 2006), http://www.daco-sl.org/reports/Dev_ass_rep06.pdf This report details international assistance to Sierra Leone by category and amount.
34 conflict reconstruction agenda. Although there was an initial focus on short term emergency and humanitarian relief assistance (Zack-Willia ms 1999), international actors increasingly focused on melding development policy with internat ional security, a course of action illustrative of concerns that increased unrest in other parts of the world could threaten international security and contribute to the rise of te rrorism (Fanthorpe 2006). In Sierra Leone, this is reflected in a shift in emphasis from short-term emergency and relief-oriented work to a more long-term focus on sustained development, as evidenced in government and donor strategy reports.7 This broadened focus includes activities designed to tran sform societies into more democratic entities, focusing on good governance and accompanying calls for decentralization to ensure increased state accountability, the st rengthening of existing institutions along neo-liberal criteria and the development of civic norms. For example, Si erra Leone has received democratic governance assistance through USAID for six out of a possi ble 14 years between 1990-2003 (Finkel, PerezLinan and Seligson 2006). Such initiatives are rooted in the now widely accepted orthodoxy of liberal peace that views democracy as a neces sary precondition for development as well as sustained peace in post-conflict states (Fanthorpe 2006) and accord s international actors central roles in promoting this democracy (Carothe rs 1995; Kumar 1997) and have joined more traditional initiatives that focus on economic and social development. 7 See for example the "National Recovery Strategy : Sierra Leone 2002-2003," (Freetown: 2002).
35 Although not without its opponents,8 the liberal vision of democracy is one that dominates most literature on democracy and democracy promotion (Burnell 2000). The prevailing orthodoxy among NGO staff, academics and development institutions is that NGOs, while a part of civil society, can themselves strengthen (domesti c) civil society, which, in turn is perceived as good for democracy. However, the democracy referre d to is above all polit ical, ignoring for the most part, social or economic democracy; it pr ivileges the individual over the collective, and places emphasis on rules and procedures over pa rticipatory democracy (Burnell 2000: 4). As such, some find its promotion in African contexts inappropriate. Nevertheless, given the triumph of liberal democracy after the fall of communism, and the belief that we are at the end of history (Fukuyama 1992), there is some consensus that this form of democracy, already familiar to the countries that export it, is the best and safest mechanism. In addition, there are limits to the ability of external actors to promote grassroots movements (Burnell 2000). This liberal conception of democracy envisions two roles fo r civil society: a forum through which social capital is generated and indivi duals develop trust that facilitates collective action and the development of civic norms and beliefs; and the a dvocacy perspective that views civil society as the forum through which citizens can articulate their concerns and hold the state accountable. 8 The appropriateness of the application of the tenets of Western liberal democracy to non-Western contexts has been sharply criticized by a number of authors for a variety of reasons. For some, the notion of civil society is a Western construct of limited value that is not necessarily ap plicable to all societies, including African contexts, see for example the volume by Nelson Kasfir, ed., Civil Society and Democracy in Africa (London ; Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 1998), and, Ernest Gellner, Conditions of Liberty : Civil Society and Its Rivals 1st American ed. (New York, N.Y.: Allen Lane/Penguin Press, 19 94). Another articulated limitation is th at the concept is also exclusive as it fails to capture the full range of associational life that shap e and influence citizens lives; this is especially true for ascriptive organizations such as those for which ethnicity se rves as a criteria for member ship, which are prevalent in many African societies. Gellner for example argues ag ainst the inclusion of what he calls segmentary communities that comprise of familial relations and ritual s in Ernest Gellner, "The Importance of Being Modular," in Civil Society : Theory, History, Comparison ed. John A. Hall (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1995). Still others argue that the idea of individualism at the heart of liberal democracy is also at odds with societies in which much of the emphasis is on the collective, as is illustrated for example by Paul Ekeh, "Colonialism and the Two Publics in Africa: A Theoretical Statement Comparative Studies in Society and History 17, no. 1 (1975). Ernest Gellner, Conditions of Liberty : Civil Society and Its Rivals 1st American ed. (New York, N. Y.: Allen Lane/Penguin Press, 1994).
36 The promotion of civil society by developmen t and democratization NGOs in Sierra Leone is thus reflective of larger international initiat ives in post-conflict societies. The strategy I employ to answer this question of whether norms, values and participation of individuals is affected by internationally driven external interventions is a quasi-experimental method, comparing individuals exposed to different types of NGO projects with thei r levels of political participation and values held. I conducted resear ch in seven communities in two districts in the Eastern and Northern regions of Sierra Leone. My methodol ogy includes surveys, semistructured interviews and focus groups conducted with villagers above 18 years of age at the rural community level as well as semi-struc tured interviews conducted with heads of international and community based non-govern mental organizations. My measurement of organizational impact is also at the individual level of analysis rather than at the level of the organization, since Sierra Leoneans have been exposed to multiple organizations during, as well as after the war. I analyze whether or not expos ure to NGOs increases both the likelihood of civil society participation as well as helps socializ e individuals with civic norms shared by these agents. The methodology employed also speaks to some of the limitations of evaluations of the impacts of assistance oriented to democra tization. My methodology in cludes quantitative and qualitative components; with cl ose-ended as well as open-ende d questions allowing respondents to give details of their attitudes and beliefs as well as reasons for partic ipation. Additionally, the use of random selection for respondents ensured re presentation from those involved as well as uninvolved in a variety of project s. Respondents were also encour aged to list all projects in which they participated over a six-year peri od, enabling a more longitudinal assessment of project impacts. Additionally, the recording of other information, including socio-economic
37 variables and political history a llows for more contextualization of research findings as well as the use of constants to be tter establish causality. My argument builds on the politi cal socialization tradition, wh ich assumes that political attitudes and values are a produc t of the historical context in which one was raised including education and family background; epistemologi cally, I rely on the value assumption. This implies that individuals are valueoriented or, as Robert Keohane (2002: 1) contextualizes it, the broad context of rationality and self interests im plies not only material interests but also moral interests including ones being t hought well of and thinking well of oneself. This supposes that individuals act in accordance with their own belief systems and identities; their behavior can be explained through determining these identities a nd the meaning given to a situation (March and Olsen 1998: 951-2). This approach is useful because human beings are not simply rational creatures acting out of se lf-interest alone. However, this doe s not tell us the full story of the attitudes and beliefs that people hold about the current regime in Sierra Leone, given the years of war, and the comparative newness of the current political system. Thus, political socialization theory can be integrated into a developmenta l model, which suggests that while individuals attitudes and beliefs can be initially shaped by childhood experiences, learning does not end with adulthood; instead political learni ng is a lifetime process, and adu lts incorporate current political events, regime performance and their experience w ith the regime in their political calculations and evaluations (Diamond 1999; Rose, Mishler a nd Haerpfer 1998; Bratton, Mattes and GyimahBoadi 2005). Ultimately, individuals attitudes, be liefs and political participation are affected by their experiences with democracy (Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi 2005), and the extent in which governments can deliver political goods to thei r citizens impacts at titudes and beliefs more than other variables like education and socio-economic status (Diamond 1999). Similarly,
38 political behavior is reflective of citizen e xperience with government and its corresponding structures. In Chapter 2, I explore the literature on post-conflict reconstruction, situating the theoretical underpinnings of the role NGOs are deemed to play in the recovery process. The first section addresses the interventions to which st ate failure has given rise, with a focus on the increased emphasis of the role of NGOs in post-c onflict interventions in terms of building civil society through development and democracy proj ects, and how these in turn contribute to democracy strengthening. By mapping the key lite rature, this chapter fr ames notions of postconflict reconstruction, a nd the ascendancy of democracy-building initiatives. I then examine what type of democracy is often the focus of these initiatives, to provide a basis for the elaboration of the various com ponents of the dependent variable. The central components of the democracy-strengthening variable are conceptu alized and operationalize d, with indicators for measurement specified. Existing theories on in fluences on democracy strengthening in postconflict settings are then review ed before elaborating on the th eoretical framework I adopt to explain the relationship between international assistance and democracy strengthening. The chapter concludes by reviewing the methodology empl oyed in this study a nd the details of the specific case studies are described and outlined. Also discussed are the challenges of conducting this type of research in Sierra Leone as well as the shifts made in the field in light of these conditions. Chapter 3 situates the discussion on post-confli ct interventions, civi l society building and democratization within the speci fic context of the case study: Sierra Leone. I first provide a historical overview of political development in Sierra Leone, re viewing the early colonial period, transition to independence and the development of the conditions that would eventually lead to
39 war, before describing international intervention s generally aimed at bringing the state out of failure to development and democracy. Chapter 4 develops my argument, that NGOs in general do have some impact on civic norms and beliefs as well as political partic ipation. Although there is no significant difference explored between development and democracy-ori ented activities, citizens who have been the recipients of international assi stance are more likely to engage in the political arena and have greater knowledge of political concepts and leaders. However, they are less likely to espouse trust in the political system, despite evincing su pport for democracy in the abstract. In this chapter, an overview of the frequencies of th e key variables used in this dissertation are provided, as well as analysis of the impact of NGO participation on the various components of democracy strengthening as defined in this study. Multivariate analysis of the various independent variables of interest is also conducted to ascertain the extent in which NGO participation influences democracy strengthening. Chapter 5 outlines the key conclusions derived from the study and the implications of this research on NGO interventions in the arena of democratization in postconflict societies are discussed. Notably, while NGOs can and do play a ro le in increasing politi cal participation and in norms supportive of democracy, by ignoring local political contexts and structures of power, they can potentially undermine the very peace th at they are trying to consolidate. Additionally, by encouraging citizens to articulate concerns they can raise citizen expectations about government capabilities, running the risk of undermining citizen-government relations as a weakened government recovering from a conflict s ituation is unlikely to have the capacity to meet all these citizen demands. As Kasfir (1998 ) among others has argued, the promotion of a strong civil society without a stat e capable of meeting these dema nds can also serve to further
40 weaken the state as well as undermine state-citize n relations as the state is not perceived as accountable to citizen interests. What are needed are approaches that simultaneously target state and society, as well as time for the state to (re) develop the capacity to de liver public goods to citizens. In other words, it might be necessary to (re) build the stat e before democratizing.
41 CHAPTER 2 CULTIVATING DEMOCRACY IN POST-CONFLICT CONTEXTS This dissertation is about dem o cracy strengthening in post-co nflict contexts and the role that NGOs play in this process. In the afte rmath of conflict, there is renewed emphasis on building democracy as a mechanism to safeguard peace. Correspondingly, scholars are showing renewed interest in mass att itudes toward democracy, and th e extent in which the masses intrinsically value democracy and behave in a demo cratic manner is seen as an equally important component of strengthening democracy (Diamond 1999) In this chapter, I will first provide an overview of the various mechanisms adopted by inte rnational actors in the aftermath of conflict, before focusing on one mechanism in particular that is growing in importance: the role of NGOs in providing development and democracy assist ance geared at strengthening democracy. Next, To contextualize the discussion on NGOs and de mocracy strengthening, I conceptualize and operationalize the term democracy given that it is an essentially cont ested concept (Gallie 1956), with competing definitions. After establishi ng the basis for the discussion I then turn to the dependent variable, democracy strengthening, defining the concept, and identifying the core conceptual attributes, and components and subc omponents used in measurement. Following the specification of the dependent variables, I develo p my theoretical framework of the relationship between NGO assistance and strengthened democracy. In the final section of this chapter, I turn to the central research questions cover research site s selection and methodology used to answer the research questions. In the Aftermath of Conflict: Internatio nal Assistance in Post-War S tates Although international in terventions in Africa are not new, given widespread failures by African states on social, economic and political fr onts, internati onal interventions have taken on a whole new saliency. Following th e demise of colonialism and tr ansitions to independence in
42 the late fifties and sixties, Afri can countries became recipients of large amounts of international aid, primarily for development purposes. The goa l was modernization, with the state as the principal agent of change (Hyden 2002). Aid wa s often channeled thr ough the state, and a stronger state was viewed as a prerequisite fo r development (Tvedt 1998). However, in recent years, this trend has reversed as current conventional development wisdom posits that a toopowerful state has been a primary reason for the lack of development in many African countries, despite years of development aid (Tvedt 1998; Hulme and Edwards 1997). In the 1980s, under the rubric of structural adjustment, intern ational financial institutions and donor countries began to attach direct conditionalities to aid as sistance, one of the first steps aimed at directly influencing changes in African political systems. Assistance was linked to conformity with economic liberalization program s developed by the Bretton Woods institutions, with a corresponding decrease in the states importance. The neo-liberal agenda of the 1980s with an emphasis on reduced government expanded in the latter part of the 20th century and continues today. Political reform has been added to this agenda, and to this end, bilateral and multilateral donors alike emphasize good governan ce as a necessary precondition for aid although this is not always enforced. Rather th an development perceived as a precondition for democracy, increasingly scholars and practitioners alik e find that instead, democratization can facilitate development (Hyden 1997; Hyden 2002). The positive correlations currently assumed between democratization and development (Tvedt 1998; Hyden 1997; Hulme and Edwards 1997), have contributed to the rise in popularity of NGOs among donors as they are viewed as agen ts of both democratization and development. It also complements perspectives of the state as a hindrance in development and democratization initiatives. Given this context, developmen t aid has been increas ingly channeled through
43 international and local non-governmental organizatio ns as they are perceived as more efficacious and less corrupt than state bodies (Meyer and Prugl 1999; Sweetman 2001; Smillie 2001; Tvedt 1998). Not only are NGOs effective in promoting development, but they can also promote democratization especially through civ il society building. As Tvedt writes: [T]his theory allocates NGOs a crucial role in the democratization of countries: they are to strengthen what is commonly called civil soci ety. [They] are conceived of as instruments for organizing local initiatives and promoting local participation as opposed to the state whose approach is seen as dirigiste and top down expressing the interests of a bureaucratized, alienated elite in search of illegitimate control (Tvedt 1998: 208). Such interventions are not limited to peaceful contexts. International assistance for democracy promotion has been advanced in a wide variety of contexts: in countries undergoing transitions, or still authoritaria n, countries that are weak and failing, and countries designated as failed (Burnell 2000). While democracy promoti on has long been an objective of foreign aid (Carothers 1999; Carother s 1995), it has taken on renewed emphasis and a shift in focus in recent years (McFaul 2005; Burnell 2000). Although the grow ing incidence of stat e failure in the post 9/11 context and the increasing co rrelation of state failure with terrorist networks has shifted emphasis from humanitarian concerns to those of security (Yannis 2002), democracy assistance is nevertheless still relevant gi ven attempts to understand the causes and consequences of failure and the development of policy to address this Discourse ranges from a discussion of what factors lead to state failure, to the implications of state failure and finally, the possibilities for state reconstruction examining the interventions necessary to help states back on their feet (Rotberg 2003; Rotberg 2004). Thus, while stat es do focus on the development of stronger security measures to protect citizens, international interven tions also call for democracy promotion as it is an international norm held by state and non-state acto rs alike (McFaul 2005).
44 International Interventions in Post-Con flic t States: the Various Components International actors undertake a variety of activities designe d to secure peace in postconflict contexts, some of which can be defined under traditional deve lopment assistance and others, under democracy assistance. Both developm ent and democracy assistance is evaluated in this study, with the intent of seeing what imp act it has on attitudes, beliefs and behavior pertaining to democracy. Broadly defined, democracy assistance can be seen as aid designed to advance social, economic and other conditions believed to be beneficial to democracy as well as strengthening democratic institu tions like parliament and the electoral system (Burnell 2000). What this actually constitutes of however is contested, and can refer to activities as varied as the building of political institutions to supporting education and econom ic development, as well as activities that incu lcate the norms of democracy in recipi ent populations. In addition, given the plurality of actors already conceived to act under the rubric of the international community, the means and methods used in promoting democracy assistance are seldom uniform, and cover a variety of competing approaches. Nevertheless, the following have been identi fied as key in the arena of democracy assistance: election assistance, human right a ssistance and media assistance (De Zeeuw and Kumar 2006). The various components of these th ree categories are detailed in Table 2.1. Burnell (2000) looks beyond the institutional structures and incorporat es political society, including attitudinal, behavioral and civil society dimensions. So me of these areas overlap with the foci of development assistance. Traditionall y, this type of assistance is focused on improving the socio-economic conditions of target recipien ts. However, by engaging in community-driven development, some have argued that devel opment activities can uni ntentionally impact democracy, especially in regards to the development of a political society. In the following
45 section, I examine the types of interventions most often undertak en in post-conflict settings, and show how they are assumed to impact on democratization. The political arena is one of the first areas targeted following a situation of conflict (Carothers 2004; Chesterman, et al. 2005) as political factors form one of the central explanatory variables advanced for state failure. Many interrel ated components of politic al intervention exist, all of which can be said to impact democracy in some way. These include the securing of peace, and the (re)establishment of rule of law; rein tegration of ex-combatants into society and the building of state capacity to accommodate and ma nage the varied and often competing demands of different domestic actors, so as to increase state legitim acy. Other related components of institution building implemented include the mana gement of elections, the promotion of human rights monitoring and the stre ngthening of civil society (Rotberg 2004; Kumar 1998). First, for reconstruction to occur, peace needs to be fully assure d as well as the securing of law and (re) establishment of order (Rotberg 2004). This can take the form of external military interventions; as for example was the case in Sierra Leone. In 2001, the presence of UN peacekeeping forces, British paratroopers and EC OMOG soldiers helped to maintain peace and security, and create an enabling environment fo r the successful conduct of elections in 2002. In other countries, such as the DRC, MONUC p eacekeeping forces play an integral role in maintaining peace. International support in this arena includes the contribution of peacekeeping forces as well as the funds fo r their continued maintenance. Once peace is attained, advances in related sect ors are also seen as instrumental toward maintaining this peace. Disarmament, demobiliz ation and reintegration (DDR) of formerly warring parties is another aspect of securing peace and stability, as well as interventions in the security sector aimed at ensuring respect of rule of law. To build such respect, a host of political
46 institutions are targeted for re form including the rehabilitation or reconfiguration of political systems including traditional/customary and formal law courts, the training of a fair judiciary and police, as well as the professionalization of the civil service (Kumar 1997). Other democracy assistance interventions include de centralization, promoted as a wa y to build accountability, with greater devolution of political power to local political authorities (Fanthorpe 2006). To this end, international actors have provided financial and technical support for decentralization, privatization initiatives and training programs for civil service and security sector actors. In Sierra Leone, the World Bank and the EU among others have provided substantial assistance (financial and technical) for de volution and privatization activiti es, and training of police and army personnel. The promotion of elections following the cessati on of violence is another arena in which international actors have been active. NGOS and other internationa l agencies have all contributed in various ways to build local capacities to hold elec tions. This has included training in the conduct of elections in cluding preparation of voter li sts and development of election training manuals, the sending of election observers to monitor and document any irregularities, as well as the funding of capacity building for national election commission workers. International donors played an important role in the recent (2007) presidential and parliamentary elections held in Sierra Leone, providi ng technical and financial assistance. While all these can be considered democracy-p romoting activities, ther e is a growing focus on building the capacity of dem and-side governance in addition to strengthening the supply side (CARE 2005; Carothers 1999). It is within this context of polic y prescriptions that democracy-strengthening initiatives aimed at the mass public have come into fore, and the role
47 of NGOs increased (although few assessments of their impact exist in post conflict settings).9 Thus, international actors are also active in promoting human rights monitoring and promotion and civil society building. NGOs train local civil society organization activists as well as local NGOs in monitoring and documenting human rights a buses. They also work to instill democratic attitudes and behaviors in local populations in add ition to activities on the institutional side, such as the provision of funds to set up human rights commissions and international tribunals in an effort to reconcile warring factions, and bring cl osure in countries like Rwanda and Bosnia as well as Sierra Leone (Kumar 1997). The Rise of NGOs and Assistance Aimed at Promoting Democracy Regardless of the approach adopted, the rise in importance of de mocracy assistance is undeniable. Carothers (1999) identifie s a definite shift in US aid in particular where programs to support democracy became a core component of US aid in the late 1980s and early 1990s, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.10 In addition to the more traditional elements of democracy promotion like aid conditionality as well as de velopment interventions to increase per capita income and improve education, there has been an increase in programs targeting the development/strengthening of institutions traditiona lly associated with democratic countries such as elections, legislature and judi ciary, and the promotion of an active civil soci ety (Knack 2004; Carothers 1999). USAIDs Democracy and governance program for example, covering rule of 9 There are a number of works assessing democracy assistance in countries unde rgoing transitions, see for example, Thomas Carothers, "Civil Society," Foreign Policy no. 117 (1999): and, Peter J. Burnell, Democracy Assistance : International Co-Operation for Democratization Democratization Studies (London ; Portland, OR: F. Cass, 2000), for comprehensive reviews. Works that have examined de mocracy assistance in post-con flict settings have focused primarily on analysis of institutional impact; see fo r example, Jeroen De Zeeuw and Krishna Kumar, Promoting Democracy in Postconflict Societies ed. Nederlands Instituut voor Internationale Betrekkingen "Clingendael". (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 2006). 10 Thomas Carothers, Aiding Democracy Abroad : The Learning Curve (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1999), notes that more than forty coun tries in Sub-Saharan Africa received US democracy aid in the 1990s.
48 law, civil society, good governance a nd elections and political proc esses is the second largest area of expenditure, with median funding pe r country rising from 3.5 million to 5.5 million between 1998 and 2005 (Burnell 2007). Democracy assistance is concerned with cultur e as well as institutions as it proceeds from the perspective that in order to strengthen democracy, the inculcation of attitudes, norms and behavior associated with democratic citizens must be imparted and a vibrant civil society developed (Burnell 2000). Much of this assistance is channeled th rough NGOs. Although proportion ally, civil society assistance accounts for a very small pe rcentage of devel opment aid overall,11 there is nevertheless, a net increase in the proportion of aid allocated to ci vil society programs and projects. USAID for example increased spending by 320% between 1991-1998, going from $56.1 million in 1991 to $118.1 million in 1993, and $181.7 million in 1998 (Carothers 1999). These figures might not paint the true picture as donors classify projects in different ways, and such assistance could be subsumed under other types of aid and thus go uncounted (Green and Kohl 2007). NGOs have also grown in strength and numbers overall. According to the Yearbook of International Organizations, a conservative estimation for international non-governmental organizations alone is more than 26,000 (The Economist, cited in Mansbach and Rhodes 2003). Furthermore, given the plurality of actors al ready conceived to act under the rubric of the international community, the means and methods used in promoting democracy assistance are seldom uniform, and cover a variety of competi ng approaches. Clearly, NGOs play a central role 11 According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD-DAC) government and civil society aid was 2.9 percent in 1998. In 2004, aid allocated to the government an d civil society sector accounted for only 6.7% of total donor commitments in DAC countries, in Development Aid at a Gl ance, Statistics by Region, Africa, 2007.
49 in development and democracy promotion. What however, is the type of democracy advocated? In the next section, I discuss conceptions of democracy as advanced by these organizations. Specification and Measurement of Variables of Importance The contes ted concept of democracy lies at th e heart of this dissertation; in order to discuss what is meant by democracy strengthening, it is important to first identify what is meant by democracy. In general, this debate is limited to specifications of liberal democracy, which is taken as the standard; there is little discussion on the viability of other models of democracy, or, in the case of African countries, the applicability (or lack of) of Western democratic models to African contexts, although there are some exceptions to this.12 However, is the championing of a liberal form of democracy where the emphasis is on voting within institutions that are perhaps unrepresentative of peoples conc erns really the best means to improving their lives? When Sierra Leoneans think of democracy, is it within the liberal boundaries of freedoms and elections, or are people searching for politic al alternatives more representa tive of their concerns? Only after identifying how Sierra Leon eans define democracy can we begin to measure whether their perceptions are influenced by pa rticipation in NGOs among other factors. Such questions are important because if there are differen ces between Western and Sierra Leonean conceptualizations, one cannot help but wonder how to resolve such contradictions. Whose definitions should theorists and policy-practitione rs use? What are the implications of using global rather than local notions of democracy? 12 See for example, Claude Ake, The Feasibility of Democracy in Africa Codesria Book Series (Dakar, Senegal: Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, 2000), Claude Ake, "The Unique Case of African Democracy," International Affairs 69, no. 2 (1993), Mohamed Abdel Rahim M. Salih, African Democracies and African Politics, Human Security in the Global Economy (London; Sterling, Va.: Pluto Press, 2001), Issa G. Shivji, State and Constitutionalism : An African Debate on Democracy 1st ed., Southern Africa Political Economy Series (Harare, Zimbabwe: SAPES Tr ust, 1991). Also see David Held, Models of Democracy 3rd ed. (Cambridge, UK ; Malden, MA: Polity, 2006), for a comprehensive discussion of various models of democracy.
50 While not central to debates on democratiz ation and democratic consolidation, some Africanists have discussed the limitations of a Western application of democracy to African contexts; for these scholars, the emphasis on political rights, with a focus on the individual is at odds with communitarian perspectives in which central concerns are social and economic rather than political: socio-economic advancements fo r the general populace are of primary importance rather than political concerns that focus on individual needs and values (Ake 1993; Owusu 1992). This is not to say that democratic concepts are alien to Africans. Some authors acknowledge that while there were elements of politics in pre-co lonial Africa antithetical to democracy, consensual models of governance in which traditional leaders were accountable to their publics were widespread. Nevertheless, there remain key differences between these practices and perspectives on democracy with Western democracy.13 The consensus among such scholars is that Africans need a democracy that resonates with local contexts, blending both Western and African values and traditions in to a home-grown model that can find wide acceptance across all segments of society (Osa bu-Kle 2000; Kpundeh 1992). For these authors, a democracy that ignores local cont exts and realities and fails to make it more relevant to local understandings will not take root as it lacks grou nding in local soils. In order for sustainable democratization to occur, the implemented democr acy must be one that resonates/is modified by local understandings; it has to take into account existing institutional stru ctures and social and economic realities experienced by African states (Owusu 1992). On the other hand, some scholars find no real difference between Africans and Western conceptualizations of democracy (Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi 2005). For these authors, 13 See for example, Sahr John Kpundeh, ed., Democratization in Africa : Afric an Views, African Voices : Summary of Three Workshops (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1992), : 9-10, for a brief overview of African perspectives on the disjuncture between western an d African understandings of democratic concepts.
51 Africans, like others, have a primarily proces s-oriented, largely lib eral understanding of democracy that places emphasis on individual ri ghts and liberties as opposed to substantive economic and social changes. For our purposes, it is important to know how participants in the study perceive democracy as this has implications for NGO assi stance in this arena. Are NGOs promoting what they think they are promoting? What are the potential ramifications for democracy strengthening, where organizations encourage a specific (liberal) vision of democracy at odds with peoples understandings? Such questions are important becau se if there are differences between Western conceptualizations, one cannot help but wonder how to resolve such contradictions. Whose definitions should theorists and policy-practitione rs use? What are the implications of using global rather than local notions of democracy? The debate on whether democracy in African countries is understood differently from Western contexts will be explored in further detail in Ch apter Five, where respondents conceptualizations of democracy are examined and discussed. Although they exist, questions on the suitabil ity of Western models of democracy are not the mainstream, and liberal democracy, with it s emphasis on the political, is the type of democracy most often promoted in post-confli ct contexts as Western countries are more comfortable exporting versions of what they have at home (De Zeeuw and Kumar 2006). In countries undergoing democratizat ion, the question that scholars a nd policy practitioners tend to debate is not what type of democracy should be implemented and how to improve it as much as it is implementing some element of democracy in the first place, which is often along the minimalist lines of electoral democracy. However, by ignoring a debate on what exactly democracy means for Africans, pr actitioners run the risk of imp lementing a form of democracy
52 that cannot be sustained. It al so complicates generalizing about democracy strengthening if there is no agreement on what is understood by democracy. Liberal democracy, the form most commonl y promoted, has itself undergone some variation. Schumpeters (1943: 269) definition of democracy as "that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people's vote," while encapsulating nicely two cen tral attributes of democracy: contestation and participation, is nevert heless limited to the abili ty of individuals to vote between competing elites as a means to le gitimize the resulting government and fails to consider mechanisms through which citizens can hold their rulers accountable (Schmitter and Karl 1991). While a conventional definition of political participati on: legal activities by private citizens that are more or less directly aimed at influencing the selecti on of government personnel and the actions they take (Verba, Nie and Kim 1 978: 46) emphasizes contact with leaders in the formal realm, by limiting citizen participation primarily to voting, both these conceptualizations do not conceive of a role for i ndividuals in the periods between elections. In addition, especially in African contexts where formal, elected leader ship is not the only form of leadership that counts, room needs to be made for informal pol itical behavior: African s engage with leaders outside of the state apparatus that nevertheless imp acts their lives, such as traditional leaders like chiefs and religious leaders. They also engage in community affairs and such interactions need to be taken into account (Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi 2005). Thus, other conceptualizations have come to include a broader understanding of what it means to participate: Dahl (1971) for exampl e, while keeping the definition of democracy relatively minimalist, as simply the existence of civil and political rights and fair, competitive inclusive elections, nevertheless, broadens partic ipation to include associational activity; citizens
53 can organize themselves into competing interest groups that lobby for attention at policy levels. Where citizen involvement is seen as central to the deepening of democracy, more emphasis is placed on a broader understanding of political part icipation. This takes the conceptualization beyond electoral democracy, with its focus on re gular competitive elections as a means for power turnover, to a consideration of political pa rticipation, an attribute that is missing from quite a number of indices measuring democracy despite being a significant component of democracy (Munck and Verkuilen 2002). Thus, while the mechanisms of elections and the quality of existing political instit utions are important, there also must be citizen involvement in the system. In addition to voting, citizens must have avenues through which they can express their political preferences and competing values as well as be able to hold political officials accountable. My emphasis on citizen participation in democracy takes the conceptualization beyond electoral democracy, where the focus is on regular competitive elections as a means for power turnover. Understanding citizen involvement in democracy also necessitates a focus on the degree of political rights and civil liberties presen t, as these are important if participation is to take place. Such a conceptualization rec ognizes that democracy requires the participation of the masses to be strengthened and speaks to John Stuart Mills point that, The people for whom the government is intended must be willing to accept it; or at least not so unwilling as to oppose an insurmountable obstacle to it s establishment. They must be willing and able to do what is necessary to keep it standing. And they must be willing and able to do what it requires of them to enable it to fulfill its purposes. The word do is to be understood as including fo rbearances as well as acts.14 14 Mills essay On Representative Government, cited in Larry Diamond, "Political Culture and Democracy," in Political Culture and Democr acy in Developing Countries ed. Larry Diamond (Boulder: L. Rienner Publishers, 1993), : 11.
54 While expanding an understanding of democracy to include the activities of the governed, a liberal definition of democracy still focuses largely on procedural fa ctors. This is the democracy most often promoted by international act ors as they tend to implement what they are most familiar with: a primarily elitist vision that is representative, rather than direct, and goes beyond voting as a measure of participation, give n discussions of the limitation of electoral democracy. Thus, the definition of democracy that I use to frame this study is a liberal one that extends the notion of pa rticipation beyond voting. While voting is a salient compone nt of participation, there are other ways in which citizens can become involved in the political system of their country, including contact of political leaders, making political contributions, as we ll as organizing protests and so forth. The components of this liberal democracy also include the protection and defense of civil liberties and freedoms, self-government thro ugh elections and legitimacy of the political system in place. While other components of liberal democracy such as institutions are also important, they are not examined here, as the focus is on mass political participation rather than the institutions through which this participation is exercised. Strengthening Democracy: Defining the Concept Given the specific com ponent of democracy th at is examined here, how then should one understand democracy strengthening? This concep t is closely linked to that of democratic consolidation of which much work has been done. As many now view democracy as the only viable game in town (Fukuyama 1992; Diam ond 1999), philosophical debates are not so much about finding other governance alternatives as th ey are about strengthening and consolidating fledgling democracies15. However, as the term consolidation is also one that has a multiplicity of 15 See for example, Lisa Anderson, Transitions to Democracy (New York: Columbia Univer sity Press, 1999), Larry Diamond, ed., Consolidating the Third Wave Democracies : Themes and Perspectives (Baltimore, Md.: Johns
55 meanings, it is necessary again to be clear a bout ones definitions (Schedler 1998). Schedlers typology of various ways of understanding democrat ic consolidation divide s existing literature into the following categories: avoiding democr atic breakdown preventing newly established democracies from regressing into authoritarian regimes through th e actions of anti-democrats; avoiding democratic erosion the subtle, yet insi dious hollowing out of de mocratic institutions through various activities such as behavior on the part of political leaders th at undermine the rule of law or the independence of electoral institutions; completing or stabilization of democracy moving from electoral to liberal democracy; democratic deepening, moving it from liberal to advanced democracies; and organizing democracy the building of the institutions of democracy (Schedler 1998: 95-101). Where does Sierra Leone stand, according to this typology? According to Freedom House, Sierra Leone is an electoral democracy, with scores of 3 out of 7 in both the political rights and civil liberties categories (F reedom House 2008). This is an improvement over political rights scores of 4 during 2007, following the successful conduct of free and fair national elections in which the incumbent party, Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) was defeated by the opposition All Peoples Congress (APC). Sierra Leone is thus in the partially free category, suggesting that citizens do indeed enjoy some measure of political and civil rights and liberties, but there is room for improvement. For the most part, government respect s the rights of freedom of speech and press, religion, assembly and asso ciation. In addition, the judiciary is somewhat independent, although there are in cidences of favoritism and unf air rulings depending on ones financial and social standing. However, women still face defacto and dejure discrimination, Hopkins University Press, 1997), Juan J. Linz and Alfred C. Stepan, Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation : Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996).
56 ethnic chauvinism is an aspect of political and social life and labor standards are not adhered to (Freedom House 2008). If one takes a historical perspe ctive, the argument could be made that Sierra Leone is not a new democracy per se, given the existence of both a constitution established in the 18th century and well functioning democratic institutions inhe rited from the colonial period. However, the years following independence saw the steady erosi on of such institutions under the repressive rule of Siaka Stevens. As a result, for many commentators, rather than talk of deepening democracy, it is more appropriate to talk about preventing regression to au thoritarian rule, where Sierra Leone is viewed as a newly established de mocracy in which political institutions are under construction. Sierra Leone can be considered a newly established democracy in some ways given that much of the democracy assistan ce channeled to Sierra Leone has focused on resurrecting political institutions such as the j udiciary, parliament, the police and the electoral system among others. Assistance has also been channeled into building civil society and the development of citizens that ar e politically informed and activ e; for its part, development assistance has also emphasized organizing citize ns to collectively work toward their own development, where the assumption, building on Pu tnam and other civil society proponents, is that citizens that are active in groups are more lik ely to have higher levels of trust and will learn attitudes, values and behaviors necessary for a vi brant democracy with the active participation of civil society. Thus, this study can be grouped within the body of work that understa nds consolidation in terms of how to prevent newly established de mocracies from regres sing. Such studies are concerned mostly with regime survival a nd the examination of actors who through antidemocratic motives can endanger the implemen ted democracy (Schedler 1998). Although such
57 actors can range from the military to the business classes, I am concerned here with the general population, as they too are theorized to play an important role in the persistence of democracy. If democratic consolidation is vi ewed in this way, democracy st rengthening can be understood as steps toward an increasing scale of consolidation, where positive ra tings of democracy as well as increased political participation are indictor s of the extent in which people are becoming committed to democracy at normative and behavioral levels. Despite the lack of consensus on the linkages between attitudes, beliefs and beha vior, and the importance of political culture, a body of literature within political science assume s that these two are re lated, with the former influencing the ways in which people behave. Such linkages are behind the attempts by NGOs to shape attitudes and beliefs in an effort to have a corresponding imp act on behavior. Although a number of the components examined under the rubric of democracy strengthening are similar to those found in a vision of consolidation that places emphasis on stabilization or democratic deepening, this term is avoided because I consider only a few of these components. For example, while numerous theoretical debates exist on how to consolidate fledgling democracies, a general conceptualization of democratic consolidation (understood as democratic deepening), holds that democratic principles and methods be embraced at the attitudinal and behavioral levels across elites, masses and institutions (Diamond 1994). This study however focuses only on the principles, methods and behavior of non-elites, who, while not neces sarily possessing the level of influence over political events and the genera l populace that elites have, are nevertheless important in the continuation of democracy in their countries (Diamond 1999). What exactly are these principles, methods and behavi ors that are considered important? Legitimation is central to consolidation, where all stakeholders come to view democracy as the only game in town, evincing a commitment to democracy at normative as well as behavioral
58 levels and in principle as well as in practice. Thus, this support must extend beyond the abstract to support for democracy within the specific cont ext most relevant for actors. This loyalty (Linz and Stepan 1978) to the democratic regime en tails a belief on the part of the elite and the mass public that their regime is worth their defense and obedience (Diamond 1999). In addition to legitimation however, Diam ond (1999) also include s three tasks that consolidating democracies must complete: democr atic deepening, making the formal structures of democracy more liberal and accountable; politi cal institutionalization, wh ere institutions such as the bureaucracy, the electoral system and the judiciary are strengthened, routinized and internalized; and positive regime performance to enhance political legitimacy. However, these components for the most part (with the possible exception of political institutionalization) focus on the supply side of democracy, on the political institutions that comprise it, and the performance of government, all of which have been covered to a certain extent in other works. Although they are examined to a certain extent in this study, they are not the primary emphasis. While mass behavior and beliefs are not the only aspects important to consider in studies on democratization, nevertheless, as Verba, Schlozman and Brady ha ve commented, citizen participation is at the heart of democracy (1995: 1). To understand how citizens view democratic principles and participate in democratic practices in the aftermath of conflict, is the objective of this study; thus the focus in this study is limited to that of the attitudes, beliefs and behavior of the mass public which has only recently returned to center stage in comparative politics in theories of democratic consolidation and deepening (Almond, in Diamond 1999). Combined, they are referred to here as democracy stre ngthening, encapsulating co mponents of political culture theory where democracy strengthening is defined as attitudes sup portive of democracy and political behavior, conditional of the judgm ents and evaluations people make about the
59 political system. Other component s important to democratic cons olidation such as government performance are considered only to the extent in which they impinge on citizen attitudes and beliefs on democracy. In the following section, the attributes of the two components identif ied here as belonging to the variable democracy strengthening (attitudes and behavior) are specified and operationalized. Following this, five competi ng hypotheses that can potentially impact democracy strengthening are highlighted and late r tested in addition to participation in NGO projects. Operationalizing Democracy Strengthening The two central com ponents of democracy strengthening employed in the study are attitudes/beliefs and behavior. Ho wever, given that understandings of democracy can vary across different contexts, it is important to first situat e such evaluations within definitions that the people surveyed hold. To this end, respondents were asked, what does democracy mean to you? This open-ended question, the same as that asked on the Afrobarometer16, allowed citizens to speak for themselves, thus enabling us to determine peoples understandings of democracy and ascertain the extent to which this understa nding matches the concep t of liberal democracy measured here. This addresses criticisms of aut hors such as Rose, Mishler, and Haerpfer (1998) who argue that interpretations of responses on the legitimacy of democracy are subject to potential ambiguity depending on the notion of democracy respondents hold. In addition, respondents were also asked questions with cons trained definitions delimiting various elements 16 References to Afrobarometer survey and results in this study, unless otherwise stated, refer to the twelve-country study by Michael Bratton, Robert B. Mattes, and Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Public Opinion, Democracy, and Market Reform in Africa Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics (Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), which surveyed the following co untries: Mali, South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Botswana, Uganda, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Mali.
60 that can be associated with liberal and social forms of democracy that allow for comparisons on recognized elements of democracy. Measurement of Attitudes and Beliefs Having established a baseline against which to com pare attitudes/be liefs about democracy, we can now turn to the specification of the stre ngthening democracy variable. At the level of attitudes and beliefs, elements of Almond and Verbas conceptualizati on of political culture, defined as a peoples predominant beliefs, attit udes, values, ideals, sentiments, and evaluations about the political system of thei r country and the role of the se lf in that system (cited in Diamond 1999: 163) are useful. Alth ough there is some disagreement,17 many believe that the attitudes that the general public hold about democracy can be influential in determining the likelihood that democracy will persist in that country (Inglehart 1990; Almond and Verba 1963). These attitudes include awareness of the political system and positive evaluations 9and feelings for it and the belief that one can participate and such participation can make a difference. Attitudes and beliefs are thus divided into two dimensions: one, belief in democratic legitimacy, and two, cognitive awareness, with the possible impact of NGO participation on these variables explored (see Figure 1.1). Belief in democratic legitimacy In the first dim ension, belief in democratic legitimacy, the values that people hold about their political system are measured using the fo llowing indicators: prefer ence for democracy (at the abstract level) and evalua tion and satisfaction with democracy (application in a specific context). 17 See for example, Edward N. Muller and Mitchell A. Seligson, "Civic Culture and Democracy: The Question of Causal Relationships," American Political Science Review 88, no. 3 (1994): who find that civic culture attitudes do not significantly impact changes in democracy.
61 Cognitive awareness In the second dim ension, cognitive awarene ss, I measure peoples knowledge of leaders and political concepts as well as their engagement in public and political issues operationalized as their self-perceived abilities to change an unjust law and to freely exercise their vote. The former dimension is important because supposedly, for citizens to participate, they also need to be informed (Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi 2005; Almond and Verba 1963).18 For example, Almond and Verba (1963) include in thei r conceptualization of a participant political culture political interest, info rmation and knowledge. Bratton, Matt es and Gyimah-Boadi write, The quality of citizensh ip improves as [citizens] learn to identify their leaders, understand how the political system works, and become exposed to contemporary policy debates (2005: 40). Thus, increased knowledge about their political system is one factor that can ostensibly increase citizen involvement in politics as it enables them to know about avenues for involvement, and potentially increase the likelihood of making informed decisions a bout policies and programs. In addition, citizens who have a subjective sense of self-confidence are more likely to engage with political leaders and believe their participati on can make a difference: leading to democracy strengthening.19 For this reason, I add to political awareness, extern al efficacy as a second component of the measure of c ognitive awareness. This examines the extent to which people believe their participation counts, measured by whether they believe they can do anything about laws they deem unfair and the sanctity of their vote. 18 This is not necessarily the case, as other authors have shown. 19 See Michael Bratton, Robert B. Mattes, and Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Public Opinion, Demo cracy, and Market Reform in Africa Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics (Cam bridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), for a summary of the literature discussing this.
62 Measurement of Political Behavior The second core conceptual attribute is behavi or in the political arena (Political Behavior). I divide the concept of political behavior into tw o central dimensions: political engagement and civic engagement (See Figure 1-2). Political engagement As regim e legitimacy is affected by citi zen experience with democracy, Diamond, among others, argues that citizens should value participa tion as a norm as well as actively par ticipate in politics (Diamond 1999; Inkeles 196 9). Liberal conceptions of democracy hold participation as central in the democratic pro cess as it is the primary mechan ism through which citizens can express information about their pr eferences, interests and needs as well as influence the activities of government and government response (Verba, Schlozman and Brady 1995). Consequently, the extent to which individuals participate in the political process can signal their belief in the political system as well as form the arena in which they learn to become more democratic. In existing research, participation is often measured by looking at central indi cators such as: citizen participation (measured by voter turnout), opposition participation, and former leader participation (see for e.g. Lindberg 2006). The addition of the latter two indicators (the opposition and former leaders) is not relevant wh ere the primary source of analysis is mass participation in politics; conse quently, my focus is only on the fi rst citizen participation. While conventional measures that limit participation to voting are relevant, given the importance of such expression, they fail to capture other rele vant components linked to citizen participation. Citizens can express their voice in many other ways. I thus consid er under political engagement, the following indicators of participation: atte ndance at political mee tings and contact with political leaders in addition to voting. Attendanc e at political meetings is measured by presence or absence at three different types of meetings open to community residents and contact with
63 political leaders by the extent in which citizens have contacted formal and traditional leaders in the community and nationally. Finally voting beha vior at national and local elections over a designated period are measured. Civic engagement The literature on the im pact of civic e ngagement on attitudes and behavior around democracy is contested, but one dominant belief is that participation in NGOs can lead to an increase in levels of civic engagement, he re operationalized as membership in civic organizations and participation in collaborativ e community driven development (CDD) schemes. The numbers of associations to which individual s belong is taken as a measure of civil society activism and is measured against other indicators of democracy strength ening to see whether it has any impact. Empirically, my measurement of ci vil society covers any and all organizations in which people organize themselves for a variet y of activities, whic h include cooperative development, mutual support and financial assist ance as well as secret society activities. Competing Explanations for Democracy Strengthening A num ber of competing (and often inter-relat ed) hypotheses have been put forward to explain why and how people adopt different at titudes, beliefs and practices concerning democracy. Following Bratton, Mattes and Gyim ah-Boadi (2005), we can identify five competing approaches to explain how people ad opt these attitudes: culture, socio-economic factors, institutions, cognitive awareness and performance evaluation. Institutional Explanations, Wi th a Focus on Civil Society At the level of nor ms, beliefs, and behavior, existing literature has identified education, socio-economic status, race and gender as key influencing variables on various components of democratization. More recently, following the fall of communist rule in Eastern Europe, much has been made of the concept a nd role of civil soci ety. This focus has generated a large volume
64 of work, that traces the origin s and conceptualizes the term (Hyden 1997; Carothers 1999; Van Rooy 2000; Edwards and Foley 1998), explores the applicability of the concept to developing countries (Callaghy 1994; Hutchful 1995; Kasfir 1998), and identifies it as the crucial missing link in democratic consolidation (Harbe son, Rothchild and Chazan 1994; Chazan 1993). Assumptions that rest on the strength of voluntary associatio ns can be classified amongst institutional explanations, as they act as structures that influen ce individual behavior, socializing citizens into the norms, values and beliefs th at can be supportive of democracy and that encourage greater political partic ipation. Or as Cohen and Rogers have written, they shape the beliefs, preferences, self-understandings and habi ts of thought and action that individuals bring to more encompassing political arenas (Cohen and Rogers 1992; Bratto n, Mattes and GyimahBoadi 2005). Although civil society is another contested te rm, meaning different things to different groups (Edwards and Foley 1998), there is some consensus on which approaches are mostly adopted by donors in developing contexts. Of th e four distinct schoo ls identified by Hyden (1997): associational, neoliber al, post Marxism and regime sc hool, international actors most often adopt the associational approach. For Hyden, the mostly US-centered associationa l perspective attribut es a strong role to civil society in strengthening de mocracy and promoting developmen t via a myriad of different yet, inter-related tasks, and has been adopted by NGOs pursuing both development and democratization agendas. Some of these task s include undertaking development activities, mobilizing participation through co mmunication of information as well as preventing state abuse of power (Hyden 1997: 9). This a ssociational perspective is also often paired with another related, and contested concept th at has been theorized to be supportive of democracy social
65 capital. Frequently seen as the lubricant that facil itates collective action, it is the glue that is both formed within associations and holds them together. It facilitates cooperation and coordinated action as shared norms, values and trust ar e often the basis upon which people can form associations as well as work successfully together in groups (Coleman 1990; Putnam, Leonardi and Nanetti 1993; Fukuyama 2001). It promotes coope ration within groups and enables them to achieve ends they otherwise might not have achieved (Fukuyama 2001; Coleman 1990). Social capital is also linked to civic cultu re as Putnam has succinctly shown: Whereas physical capital refe rs to physical objects and human capital refers to the properties of individuals, social capital refers to connections among individuals social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trus tworthiness that arise from them. In that sense social capital is closely related to what some have called civic virtue. The difference is that social capital calls atten tion to the fact that civic virtue is most powerful when embedded in a sense network of reciprocal social rela tions. A society of many virtuous but isolated individuals is not necessarily rich in social capital (Putnam 2000: 19). Within associations then, and facilitated by social capital, individuals are said to be able to learn the habits of the heart that are conducive to democracy. Through these lenses, participation in groups and associations, broadly c onceptualized as civil society, can also be an indicator of democracy strengthening, influencin g attitudes toward democr acy as well as levels of political participati on as individuals develop these norms and receive information. However, this perspective of civil society is criticized for failing to acknowledge that all civil society groups are not equal in terms of power and finan ces, and that more powerful groups will be able to have more of an influence in government policy (Hyden 1997). In addition, the idea of competing groups with opposing in terests seems to contradict a vision of individuals cooperating and getting along (Foley and Edwards 1998: 7). Relatedly, a contrasting perspectiv e of civil society that is as sociated more with European schools of thought, but can also be found within the associational school, places emphasis on the
66 role of civil society as watchdog, monitoring the stat e; this combative persp ective that sees civil society as being against the state (Foley and Edwards 1998) is in sharp contrast with the associational perspective of Putnam (1993), and Almond and Verba (1963) among others that see social capital and civicness as vital ingredient s for a stable society, contributing to generalized and specific trust in government. It is similar to Dryzek (1996) who, believing that pressures for democratization come mainly from civil societ y than the state, advocates that a flourishing oppositional society is central to further democratization. These two competing approaches can be seen in initiatives by intern ational organizations to build ci vil society. On the one hand, NGOs promote participation in various groups and enco urage individuals to work together and address development problems in their community; on the other hand, some organizations also encourage citizens to monitor state activity and ensure that they are accountable to citizen demands. Although they have differe nt foci, both these approaches are theorized to strengthen democracy by inculcating civic norms and values and also by promoting citizen involvement in the governance of their communities. In this study, ci vil society is examined to see which form is predominant and whether it has any impact on re spondent attitudes, beliefs and behavior pertaining to democr acy strengthening. Other institutional mechanisms that have been theorized to influence attitudes, beliefs, and behavior include party identification and the rules governing form al participatory procedures such as voting. The actual experience of participa ting in a democracy and ab iding by the rules of participation can not only affect behavior, but sh ape, in turn, attitudes and beliefs (Lindberg 2006; Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi 2005).20 Using indicators of votin g behavior over time, 20 See for a more detailed overview of th e literature addressing these links, Public Opinion, Democracy, and Market Reform in Africa Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics (Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005).
67 this hypothesis will be tested to see whether the act of voting has an independent influence on attitudes, beliefs and behavior. Socio-economic variables are another potential determinant of att itudes and political behavior to which many political scientists subscribe. Factors such as education, income and occupation have been theorized to affect citizen activity although there is some debate about how this exactly occurs. For example, the civic vo lunteerism model of Verb a, Schlozman and Brady (1995) postulates that the different components of SES have varying impacts on different kinds of participation; education is seen as important in determinin g who votes, but other activities requiring time and money are influenced by other factors such as resources. Another demographic of importance is age; for some res earchers, younger generations are seen as more likely to embrace change, whereas for others, age plays no decisive role (Shin 1999). Cultural explanations locate the impetus fo r attitudes and behavior on the deep-rooted values from which individuals derive meanings for their everyday interactions. For Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi (2005) in African co ntexts, such values, stressing as they do communal ties and obligations as well as respect for authority a nd hierarchical structures can impede political dissent. Rather than ascribing certain homoge nous values to all populations, they adopt a more flexible approach that allows for cultural flexibility as individuals adopt and discard various components of norms that respond to external changes (Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi 2005: 38). These authors find that the explanation most convincing to understand citizens evaluations of and responses to economic policies is what th ey term a learning approach. This consists of cognitive awareness, what people believe a regime is, and performance evaluation, their perception of what the regime does. Cognitive awareness holds that people must be well
68 informed in order to participate in politics, wh ile performance evaluations suggest that peoples calculations of regime performance will depend in some way on their experiences with it. Although the theory is used to explain attitude s to reform, I believe it can be modified to explain how participation in NGOs might impact attitudes and behavior about democracy. Their theory is flexible enough to account for the fact that peoples attitudes about democracy (and in their case, market reform) reflects both experi ences developed from childhood as well as more recent experiences encountered in adulthood. A po litical learning approac h, linked as it is to political socialization, assumes that experience and knowledge are bo th important. At the level of knowledge, people are interested in political matters and curre nt events as well as possess political efficacy. They are knowledg eable about policy as well as thei r political leaders. If one is to argue that NGOs can make a difference in th e ways in which citizens understand democracy and the way in which they behave, then this approach is appropriate as it assumes that there is room for individuals to change their attit udes and beliefs beyond those formed in childhood. Additionally, by grounding attitudes toward democracy and behavior in an experiential framework, one is able to account for ways in which people view a regime and their level of engagement with it, notwithsta nding evaluations of democracy in the abstract. Thus, I employ a social learning theory framework to understand and explain NGO impacts on political attitudes, beliefs and behavior. Theorized Relationships In view of the com peting hypotheses outlined above, this dissertation takes the learning approach advocated by Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi with some modifications. Although socio-demographic factors and culture are all pote ntially important, an approach that recognizes individuals continue to learn beyond childhood, allows for behavi oral and attitudinal change across all generations. At the same time, behavi or and beliefs are modified by peoples concrete
69 Figure 2-1. Core Conceptual Attribute 1: Interplay between NGOs and Attitudes/Beliefs Dependent Variable Democratic Strengthening Attitudes/Beliefs Belief in democratic le g itimac y Cognitive Awareness Evaluation of democrac y Satisfaction with Preference for democrac y Political Awareness External Efficacy This figure illustrates the relationship between exposure to international/local NGOs and the dependent variable, democracy strengthening at the level of attitudes/beliefs. Below the dotted line, is the disaggregation of the dependent variable. Independent Variable Exposure to NGO (International/Local)
70 Figure 2-2. Core Conceptual Attribute 2: Interplay between NGOs a nd Political Behavior Dependent Variable Democratic Strengthening Political Behavio r Political Engagement Civic Engagement Attendance at p olitical Voting (Local and National ) Contact with p olitical Participation in communit y Participation in CDD This figure illustrates the relationship between exposure to international/local NGOs and the dependent variable, democracy strengthening at the behavioral level. Below the dotted line, is the disaggregation of the dependent variable. Independent Variable Exposure to NGO (International/Local)
71 experiences with the regimes in place. Furthermore, institutions are also important, and I test the likelihood that NGOs increase peoples participation in civic organizations that are specifically geared toward increasing political participation and/or addressing develo pment needs within the community, and whether this also impacts attitudes and beliefs hypothesized to influence democracy. If these assumptions are correct, that individu al beliefs and political participation are a function of the learning that comes from expos ure to NGO activity and/or from civil society development, the following propositions should be hold: First, at the level of attitudes and beliefs, individuals that are or have been involved in NGO activ ities will be more cognitively aware: that is, more informed about opportunities for political par ticipation, politic al leaders and political concepts. They will also have greater leve ls of efficacy: internal efficacy, the belief that they can participate in the formal political arena, as well as extern al efficacy, believing that their participation can and will make a difference. Second, while respondents activ e in NGOs might be more lik ely to espouse abstract support for democracy, their support for democracy in practice will hinge on their experiences with democracy and its constituent institutions. Those that have benefited from increased political participation will be more likely to support it than those th at have had a negative experience. These people will be more likely to turn to alternative means such as local leaders to address their problems. Third, at the level of political participation, respondents that have been exposed to NGO projects will belong to more groups and associati ons than other respondents. Fourth, empirically speaking, we should see greater numbers of such ci tizens participating actively in the political arena, attending meetings and contacting political leaders. However such participation will be
72 mediated by experience with democracy, as sugg ested by the learning appr oach. Where political participation has made little difference in individual lives, we might expect that they learn to retreat from active political participation and seek other means to address their problems instead, going back to contacts with local, influential elites. Methods of Research To answer the central research qu esti on of the impact of NGOs on democracy strengthening, I used qualit ative and quantitative methodologies in order to collect rich empirical data as well as achieve a high level of descriptive accuracy wh ile engaging in comparative analysis and enhancing the gene ralizability of the findings. Me thods included semi-structured interviews, focus groups, free lists, and surveys. I conducted semi-structured elite interviews with organization heads in Freetown as well as w ith regionally based field staff of the various development organizations currently operating in these communities that fit the identified profiles. Questions asked expl ored NGO conceptualizations of democracy as well as the programmatic and ideological goal s of these interventions. I also collected basic demographic indicators of these organizatio ns such as size, and funding. Second, separate focus groups were held with both men and women to get a sense of collective locally rooted and context-specific understandings of democracy. During the focus groups, participants were asked to list all the wo rds they associate with democracy. They were also asked about their political values and reasons for political participation. Responses reflected local perceptions of what const itutes both democracy and political participation, and served as a reference point for survey responses on the same question. In the focus groups, participants also revealed the linkages they identify between their participation in NNGO activities and strengthened democracy.
73 In addition, survey questionnaires were random ly disseminated in the communities in the two districts that included ques tions taken from the AfroBarome ter and the World Bank Social Capital Assessment Tool examining levels of de mocracy, governance, social capital and political participation in developing countries. The protocol also included questions culled from focus group and key informant discussions as well as those formulated by the research team. Participants were asked to compare current understandings of democracy and levels of participation with those prior to NGO invol vement. The survey questions permit the identification of the number of groups to which participants belong, the ty pes of activities (both NGO-sponsored activities as well as locally generated activities) in which they participate, levels of trust of government and in each other, and political participa tion. One respondent per household was identified, alternating by gende r in each subsequent household. Although the initial target was 90 interviews in each co mmunity, in smaller communities this number was reduced to 60 or 30, depending on community size. A total of 420 interviews were disseminated in the five communities. Out of these questionna ires, four were refused, resulting in a total number of 416 completed questionnaires. To gain an understanding behind survey data responses, which pertain mainly to behavior, and to see how NGOs impact peoples attitudes, values and understandings of democracy and how/whether local cultures transform these messages, longer ethnographic interviews were needed (Spradley 1980). Consequently, in addition to focus group discussions (FGDs) in each community, semi-structured interviews were conducted with key informants (elites), identified as community members knowledgeable on cultural practices and politic s of identified communities.
74 Notably, Chiefs (paramount/section chief), Mammy Queens ,21 female councilors and female parliamentarians were interviewed. In a similar fashion to the FGDs, these interviews allowed for perspectives about democracy and political pa rticipation that emerged from the experiences of the respondent, outside of the researche r-driven categories of survey instruments. Criteria for Research Site Selection Taking democracy strengthening as my dependent variable, and international ass istance as my independent variable, I identified the goa ls as well as the pr ojects that NGOs and International Non-government al organizations (INGOs)22 had in place by region, differentiating by level of assistance in a geogr aphic area, as well as among or ganizations mainly concerned with reconstruction and rehabilitation activit ies and those with mo re explicit goals of democratization. Such variation in the research sites was to allow for the comparison of democratic beliefs and political participation ac ross different contexts to assess the impact, if any, of presence and differentiated NGO activities. Ho wever, as will be di scussed in subsequent pages, constraints imposed by existing realities on the ground meant that th is approach could not be realized. Selection of Districts and Communities Districts were selected u sing a most different systems design (MDSD) and chiefdoms and communities using a most similar systems desi gn (MSSD). The MDSD approach (Przeworski 21 Mammy Queens are traditional women leaders appointed by a group of women elders to organize, supervise and manage womens affairs in the community, supervise and women leaders, generally elders that supervise and organize activities for women in the community. 22 The focus in this dissertation is assistance channele d through INGOs and NGOs, as they are a significant, although not the only source of development and democracy assistance. The emphasis is largely on the role of INGOs; although NGOs are also active, they tend to be reci pients of aid from the larger INGOs, rather than donors themselves and often reflect the mandates and concerns of INGOs. For ease of reference, in subsequent discussion, I refer to these organizations for the most part unless differentiation is necessary, as NGOs.
75 and Teune 1982) entailed the compar ison of districts with dissimilar histories in order to be able to do systematic comparison and control for c onfounding variables. The MSSD design compares units that are similar across a host of factor s except for a key feature that accounts for the political outcome. Consequently, it posits that di fferences in patterns of behavior must be attributable to the presence of the key explanatory variable. The method allows for the control of common features while also enabling the identific ation of those features that might explain differences in outcome. The two districts, Ka ilahun and Koinadugu, were both affected by the war, but with different levels of severity. Kailahun was a chief rebel base during the war, and given its proximity to the diamond industry, expe rienced destruction rates of 80 percent, as rebels burned down dwellings to discourage people from returning and to ensure th eir control of diamond fields (Development Assistance Coor dination Office 2004). In addition, its location, standing as it does at the borde r crossroads of both Guinea and Liberia, as well as between Konos diamond mines and Liberia, made it highly susceptible to conflict. As one of the areas most affected by the war, Kailahun received inte nse NGO attention, primarily in the form of community-driven development (CDD) activities, including reconstruction and rehabilitation initiatives. Specifically, projects in the selected regions have had he alth, agriculture, economic and educational components, and cover a variety of activities More recently, select communities in Kailahun have been the recipien t of activities aimed at build ing democracy; and thus Kailahun was deemed an appropriate site to test th e activities of both NGOs concerned with providing material as well as intangible benefits. On the other hand, Koinadugu had about 44 perc ent structural damage, at war end, given the remoteness of the region and difficulty of accessibility (Dev elopment Assistance
76 Coordination Office 2004). Koinadu gu also did not benefit greatly from post-war relief efforts given this remoteness, as well as lower levels of destruction. Such marg inalization originates from before the war. The largest district in Sierra Leone, Koinadugu is also among the least developed, with an extremely poor road system. Consequently, it is on the outskirts of most development interventions, by the state as well as international actors. Cultural attitudes here are also among the most conservative; Koinadugu is the only district without any female political representation at the national level, whereas Kailahun has the most representation. The two districts also vary in terms of predominant ethnic groups. Over 80 percent of residents in Kailahun are Mende, whereas Koinadugu is more mixed ethnically, with predominantly Limba Yalunka and Kuranko residents, among others (Development Assi stance Coordination Office 2007). Selection of Chiefdoms and Rura l Communities Within C hiefdoms I originally selected as my independent va riable, NGO presence and number as well as type of NGO. Consequently, within target chiefdoms, selected rural communities had to vary significantly on the independent va riable; that is, they had to differ on the number of NGOs present as well as type of NGO assistance (democ racy/development oriented). Once the districts were selected, lists of chiefdoms and then co mmunities were drawn up within the identified clusters of types of NGO assistance (number and type of NGOs present), and randomly selected, using a random table, with the exception of th e community with limited or no NGO presence. In both Koinadugu and Kailahun Districts, names of communities matching these criteria were elicited by asking key informants within the co mmunities, including NGO staff, councilors and
77 staff from the National Commission of Social Action (NACSA).23 Given names were listed, and one randomly selected, again using a random table. Selected Communities: A Successful Process? The procedure used to identify communities was som ewhat successful. In Kailahun, three communities in three chiefdoms were selected : one with democracy assistance, one with development assistance, and one with relief assistance (in the community with little or no NGO presence). In Koinadugu, four communities in tw o chiefdoms were identified. Three of these communities had development assistance, and on e with no NGO assistance. In Koinadugu, there were no NGOs identified with a mandate of demo cracy strengthening, while in Kailahun, all the targeted communities had some level of NGO pr esence. In addition, all communities in Kailahun met the criteria of variation on the key expl anatory variable of NGO presence or absence. However, in Koinadugu, residents in one community (Yaedia) differe d along criteria of ethnicity as historic tensions between two ethnicities resi ding in the same area had led to a division of the community into two, with Fullah people living in one part and Yalunka in th e other (Table 2-2). Other districts that could have been selected were discarded due to lack of significant project progress. For example, the analysis of a major progra m funded by DFID identifying Kenema as a second pilot-site had to be discontinued because the project was behind implementation schedule.24 The program, Enhancing the Interface between Civil Society and the State (ENCISS) was a newly created consorti um (2005) of NGOs work ing to increase civil society capacity to participate, influence, monitor and contribute to government policies 23 These actors were deemed as having sufficient familiarity with the terrain to be able to identify regions with little or no NGO presence, given their extensive development work and with the communities. 24 The program progress was communicated to the author through an interview held with the director in February 2006.
78 including the Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan (P RSP) and local decentralization initiatives (CARE 2005). Rather than analyzing results by district, information obtaine d during the research process revealed that it was more applicable to analy ze individual participation in NGOs. The mobility of the population during the war year s yielded a population with va ried exposure to NGO activity beyond that identified during the research pr ocess (see the section on methodological issues below for more details on this). By determini ng each individuals experience with NGOs, it is possible to account for the impact of organizations over time as well as the variety of exposure that individuals receive. The vari able NGO assistance then, refers to individual pa rticipation in NGO projects, rather than community level exposure. Specification of the Independent Variable: Th e Meaning and Process of NGO Pa rticipation Participation in NGO projects takes a variety of forms, depending on the type of assistance and the mode of operation of the particular organization. Three general mechanisms can be identified. Relief organizations targeted people in camps, a nd all members were generally eligible for disbursements of food and material s upplies such as cups, blankets and clothes. For development projects that emphasized reconstructi on, such as the rehabilitation of houses burnt down during the war, members in the community would identify those residents deemed as most poor and deserving of assistance. Civic educati on programs were targeted at two main groups: those active in the newly create d decentralization process such as councilors who received training about various components of their new tasks, as well as general citizens who could choose whether or not to attend information se ssions about their roles as citizens. For the purposes of this dissertation, the variable, part icipation in NGO activity can be defined as any involvement/exposure to any type of NGO activity, be it receipt of relief supplies, participation
79 in civic education workshops, or participation in a CDD rehabilitation initiative sponsored by NGOs. Research Team Composition and Execution of Research The research was conducted in conjunction with Oxfa m GB in Sierra Leone. One of the requirements of Oxfam GB was the utilization of participatory methodologies, specifically, Gender Action Research (GAR). This entailed th e active involvement of community members in the research process, the enc ouragement of community members to develop research questions addressing their central concerns, and their involvement in data collection and analysis. It was believed that this would addre ss the empowerment and participat ory goals of GAR that stress promotion of change through research. The practical implications of this were the use of several community-based data-collectors. Other member s of the research team were employees of Oxfams locally based partner 50/50, a civil so ciety organization. They participated in the identification, selection and tr aining of local community enum erators and monitored data collection for quality purposes. They also assist ed in rudimentary data coding process and in providing feedback to the communities base d on their responses to the research. Research Process Data collection took place over a six-week peri od. The first week was spent pre-testing the questionnaire and receiving comments and feedback f rom community members to ensure that the final questionnaire reflected their input. During week two, the research team re-assembled in Freetown to provide collective input on community suggestions to the questionnaire, revise, finalize and print the questionnair e. Weeks 3, 4, and 5 were spen t on data collection. During the final week, data collectors and research team memb ers briefly analyzed the data and presented it to community members for input and feedback.
80 Methodological Issues In term s of methodology, the initial research design conceptualized data collection using an experimental design comparing regions with different types and le vels of NGO activity. However, in a post-conflict setting, such a design proved to be unrealistic. Communities experienced high levels of displacement during th e war nearly all respondents had left the community at some point because of war-rela ted violence. Thus they had a variety of experiences; some had spent the majority of the war in camps in Guinea and Liberia where they received relief assistance in the form of shelter, food and basic equipment, whereas others had no assistance, and lived in the bush. In the years sin ce the end of the war, there have also been a large number of interventions as well as high turnover of NGOs thus some people have been exposed to four, five or even six NGOs whereas others have been e xposed to one NGO or none. This meant that analysis had to take place at th e level of the individual, rather than at the community level. Consequently, relating impact to type of NGO assistance is extremely difficult since determining whether one NGO has more impact than another, or if democracy oriented projects are overall more benefi cial than development ones woul d require holding activity type or NGO constant. Given the selected communities, in which respondents for the most part had been exposed to a wide variety of assistance ranging from relief, to development, to democracy, this was not possible. Exposure to multiple NGO activity is one conseque nce of a post-conflict context where the number of NGOs has multiplied to meet felt needs, and interventions have changed quite rapidly from immediate relief to po st-conflict reconstruction and development. Another limitation of the resear ch design is that the conduct of research under the auspices of Oxfam might have infl uenced received responses. Although attempts were made to stress the independence of the research agenda from the activ ities of Oxfam, and that received information was simply for informational and assessment purposes with no attached benefits from Oxfam or
81 concomitant influence on the organizations funding priorities, in situations of post-conflict such as in Sierra Leone, local populations are well aware that NGOs pose a potential windfall. They can thus tailor responses to suit such purposes, in the hope that their responses will result in increased assistance, be it from the NGO or governm ent. Such expectations have been reinforced by numerous needs assessments conducted in local communities prior to undertaking interventions. Following these interventions, in some cases, NGOs would implement projects in response to expressed needs.25 In the survey, responses that seemed to most indicate the influence of Oxfam were those pertaining to levels of wealth. Some responses to wealth baseline questions that asked, among other things, how often the res pondent had gone without money, food, or school fees for children were clearly over-inflated, reflective of the belie f that the worse a picture one can paint, the higher the likelihood of potential assistance. Furthermore, during FGDs, respondents asked repeatedly what the tangible results from the st udy would be, and requested that we take back their concerns to central government. They also made numerous references to their communities isolation from government, and the need for NGOs /government to provide further assistance. In Kailahun, such responses we re especially prev alent in Ngeblama, a remote community where the main and shortest form of access to th e community is via a four-person raft across a small river. During the rainy season, flooding resu lts in school children in the community being cut off from schools (there are no schools within the community), as well as other parts of the district, and community members expressed their fear of being forgotten by central government. They felt that despite knowing and taking the st eps required to ensure government development activity in their community, thei r pleas had gone unanswered, a nd they preferred instead to 25 Author interviews with NGO heads on the process of project identification and implementation in select communities.
82 contact NGOs for assistance. Where government had responded to a central concern, the need for a bridge to connect the community be tter to the rest of the district,26 they complained that the bridge was taking too long to bu ild. At the time of the FGDs, work on the bridge had ceased, ostensibly due to a shortage of funds. FGD partic ipants complained that inferior materials were being used, and they had not been consulted in the decision-making process that determined who would be awarded the bid. They felt that funds for the bridge had been misappropriated, and they wanted to know the mechanisms through which th ey could hold the builders accountable. These concerns were recounted during the FGDs along with the hope that we would pass this message along to the powers that be. Concerns of ab andonment by central government, and requests to alert them to the plight of community members were also made in all surveyed communities in Koinadugu, reflective perhaps of that regions gr eater marginalization compared to Kailahun. Fanthorpe (2006) among others has noted that the post-war c ontext has implications on the responses that community members give to re searchers, NGO workers and government officials alike. For this study, concerns of possible over-inflation of respons es pertaining to wealth meant that these responses were excl uded from the final analyses. Another potential problem with the research design was the use of community-based enumerators, one of the requirements of the Oxfam-driven GAR methodology to meet concerns that research be empowering, and include community-members. Thus, although evaluations did not simply focus on project beneficiaries or use evaluators associated in some way with the program that could potentially lead to constr ained responses (common criticisms of evaluation 26 The National Commission for Social Action (NACSA) had commissioned a bridge in the community. NACSA is the government body charged with implementing community-based, demand driven activities for development in Sierra Leone. See for more details of their work, National Commission for Social Action, "Mission Statement," http://www.nacsasl.org/mission_statement.html.
83 methodologies sponsored by implementing organizat ions), the use of enumerators known to the community could have neverthele ss hindered the veracity of responses as respondents might have felt constrained in answering sensitive questions. This is espe cially true of questions such as those asking their political preferences, wh en such questions were posed by people with whom they were familiar. This problem was mini mized somewhat in Koinadugu as all but one of the enumerators came from a different community since none of the residents in the surveyed communities met the education requirements. In Kailahun (Ngeblama), this was true of only one of the data collectors. Since one data colle ctor in this community met the education requirements, the other respondent was from Ka ilahun town and was based in Ngeblama solely for the duration of the research. The rest of th e data collectors resided in the communities in which data was collected. Another cause for concern was the level of education of enumerators. In some communities, especially in Koinadugu, levels of education for enumerators was low, and this impacted the quality of data collected, as da ta collectors struggled with translating the questionnaire from English to local dialects, and then summarizing responses from the local dialects into English and r ecording these responses. Question wording and item choice were additi onal limitations of the questionnaire. For example, the measure of external efficacy used considered whether people felt that their vote was independent, and if they had the pow er to change laws they believed to be unjust. It would have been useful to consider other laws regarding rights and protections as well, to better substantiate this measure. In the following chapter, I turn to an examina tion of the socio-politic al history of Sierra Leone, to provide the contextual framework th rough which this research can be understood.
84 Table 2-1. Areas of democracy assistance Election Assistance Human Rights Assistance Media Assistance Constitutional and legal reforms Human rights observation Media and elections Establishment of election administration (inc. national election commission) Support for war crimes tribunals and truth commissions Legal and regulatory reforms Training of election staff Legal reforms and human rights commissions Creation of alternative media Political party assistan ce Strengthening law enforcement agencies Conflict resolution programming International election monitoring Assistance for nongovernmental organizations Training of media professionals Civil society aid (e.g. voter education) Support to media NGOs and other relevant organizations Reprinted from De Zeeuw (2005: 484) Table 2-2. Community selec tion by region and criteria Selection Criteria Chosen Community Kailahun Koinadugu Community with development NGO Ngeima, Luawa Chiefdom (Oxfam) Ngeblama, Yawei Chiefdom (previous NGO presence Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Yaedia, Dembelia Sinkunia Chiefdom (CARE) Koindukura and Gberia Fatombu, Sulima Chiefdom (previous NGO presence Catholic Relief Services (CRS)) Community with democracy NGO Jojoima, Malema Chiefdom (International Rescue Committee/Management Systems International (IRC/MSI)) Community with no NGO presence Kambaia, Sulima Chiefdom (No NGO presence)
85 CHAPTER 3 SIERRA LEONE: FROM COLONIALISM TO POST CONFLICT Sierra L eone is particularly appropriate to examine the extent in which international organizations contribute to democracy strengthen ing in post-conflict contexts. As a state once designated as failed, Sierra Leone is the reci pient of substantial am ounts of international assistance, targeted both at development as we ll as democracy strengthening. Although a weak state long before the 1991-2002 civ il war, the severity of the wa r plunged the state from weak into failed (Reno 2003): the government was neith er able to secure th e peace of those living within the country nor provide citizens with social services. At war end, the government was faced with the task of rebuildi ng institutions and repairing statesociety relationships. In this chapter, I briefly review the hist orical political development of Si erra Leone, the impact of the war, and current initiatives undertaken by the in ternational community in conjunction with the Sierra Leone government to rebuild the state and strengthen democr acy. The purpose is to provide the historical contex tual independent variables th at might possibly influence NGO interventions in Sierra Leone as well as possible intervening ones. Sierra Leone: The Pre-Colonial to Post-Colonial Years Arguably on e of the oldest modern states in Africa, with a constitution dating back to 1787, Sierra Leone was for many years seen as stable country, flourishing economically and politically in the years leading up to independence. At the eve of independence, many predicted success for this small West African country, bordered by Liberia and Guinea. It enjoyed a peaceful transition to independence (1961) and made history in 1967 when it became the first African country in which an opposition party ca me into power through the ballot box (Thompson 1997). With a sound foreign reserve account, and lead ers with a history of political participation
86 in various capacities alongside the British, it wa s believed Sierra Leone would be a showcase of West Africa (Thomas Patrick Melady, cited in Pham 2004). Figure 3-1. Map of Sierra Leone (Source:http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/profile/sierrale.pdf)
87 How did a country with an ostensibly promis ing future find itself struggling economically in subsequent years, undergoing civil turmoil, with a last-place ranking seven out of ten years on the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI)? Today, Sierra Leone holds the record for the worlds shortest life expectancy (37 year s), with a GDP per capita of $253 (World Economic Outlook 2007). Once a country with a renowned hi gher education system, the current adult literacy rate is 34.8 percent with less than half of the population enroll ed in some form of primary, secondary or tertiary institution (United Nations Development Program 2007). Although there have been significant improvement s (for example, The Economist Intelligence Unit (2008) reports economic growth rates of 6.5 percent, with a pr ojected rate of 6.3 percent in 2009), there remains much to be done. Many of the current problems Sierra Leone faces can be traced back to the historical and political development of the country during and af ter colonialism. Current interventions aimed at strengthening democracy, building political accountability and promoting economic development are not implemented in a vacuum, a nd it is important to unde rstand the contexts in which they operate and how these c ontexts might influence results. The Colony versus the Protectorate: th e Sierra Leone Colonial Experience Like neighboring Liberia, Sierra Leone was once a haven for form er slaves repatriated from various countries. The first wave of settl ers was the black poor (1787), a group of freed slaves residing in Great Britain. They were joined by the Nova Sc otians (1792), freed slaves that had fought on the British side during the Amer ican War of Independence, and in 1800, by Maroons, ex-slaves from Jamaica that were also living in Nova Scotia. Added to their numbers were liberated Africans, rescued by British cruisers from illegal slave ships following the abolition of slavery in 1833. T ogether, these groups came to form the distinct ethnic group known as Krio.
88 Sierra Leone became a crown colony in 1807, but British influence was initially limited to Freetown. Influence was extended into the interior only in 18 96 when a protectorate was declared over the hinterland. British differentiate d policies and treatment of colony and crown inhabitants marked Sierra Leones political trajectory in the ear ly years of colonialism, setting the stage for much of the ethnic tensions and riva lries that have persisted in Sierra Leone since independence. These policies initia lly pitted the minority Krios ag ainst protectorate Africans, the other eighteen or so ethnic groups indigenous to Sierra Leone. In the wake of independence however, the more salient ethnopolitical divide is between th e two largest groups, the Mende and Temne, each comprising approxim ately 30 percent of the population. a) b) Figure 3-2. a) Sierra Leone map by ethnic groups, 1969 (Source: Sierra Leone Maps, PerryCastaneda Map Collection, UT Library online: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/sierra_leone.html Last acces sed June 2008). b) Sierra Leone map by district, 2000 (Sour ce: United Nations Office for the Coordination for Humanita rian Affairs (OCHA)): http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.N SF/db900SID/SKAR-64 GC49?OpenDocument Last accessed August 2008).
89 The Politics of Divide and Rule: British Differ entiated Policies in the Colony and Protectorate In the early years of British occupation of Sierra Leone, the Krio received favored treatment from the British, give n their adoption of many Western practices, dress and behavior. The Krio had been taught to prize Europeani zation and the status that it conferred in the colonial era (Spitzer 1974; Colli er 1970). The British colonial pow ers also encouraged them to believe that they were superior to indigenous Africans because of their Europeanization through missionaries, education, and prolong ed contact with the British. This favoritism was reflected in the political system as well. Krios were British subjects whereas Protectorate Africans were designated British protected persons. As such, Krios were governed under British common law whereas a mixe d system of customary rule and British law prevailed in the protectorate, and they initially had greater political repr esentation than Africans in the interior. Educational institutions appeared first in the Colony as well; the Grammer School, a missionary school for boys, was establ ished as early as 1845, followed by the Annie Walsh Memorial School for Girl s four years later. Educati on was highly valued amongst the Krio, and two of the first Africans from a British colony to graduate from Oxford and Cambridge (1876 and 1879 respectively) were Krio (C onteh-Morgan and Dixon-Fyle 1999). Many Krios went on to send their children to college, either at the reputable Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone, or for those with the means to do so, ab road. They soon emerged as a small middle class elite, with many in professional occupations such as medicine and la w. Krios were also active in the civil service sector with posts in the colonial administration in Freetown or in the interior as emissaries of the colonial government. Others made their wealth from trad ing in the Protectorate in goods such as palm oil, rubber and groundnuts.
90 Outlets for Political Participation in the Colony The Krio also enjoyed som e, if limited politic al outlets for political participation. In 1863, the British established Executive and Legislative councils to which the Governor could nominate Africans as unofficial members; in itial, albeit token representation, was limited to Krios, and the first, John Ezzidio was appointed to the Legislative Council that year (Fyfe 1962). Representation for Protectorate Africans di d not come until 1924, when provisions were made for the appointment of three chiefs to the Legislative Council (in addition to opening up three of the unofficial posts reserved for colony members to election, rather than appointment). The colony also received the fran chise (albeit limited given the stringent literacy and property requirements)27 earlier than their protectorate coun terparts, who received it in 1957. Other avenues included the Freetown Municipal Council that allowed elected representatives from 1895 as well as local boards loca ted in villages in the col ony, active from 1901 (Hayward and Kandeh 1987). There were other outlets for political organization and expression. The Krio were also initially at the forefront of civil society movements in Sierra Leone, creating a host of organizations aimed primarily at addressing th e social and occupationa l interests of their members (Conteh-Morgan and Dixon-Fyle 1999), es pecially following the rupture in relations with the British, and the accompanying discrimina tory measures against them (see discussion below). Pressure groups such as the Negro Progressive Society ( 1908), the Rate Payers Associations (1909) and the Af rican Progress Union (1919) serv ed as vehicles for change, articulating the concerns of their constituents to the government, albeit without much success. Although these efforts were aimed more at protecting Krio privile ge in the face of growing 27 Only 1,016 persons qualified and were registered to vote out of 25,000 ; see Alexander Peter Kup, Sierra Leone : A Concise History (Newton Abbot David & Charles, 1975).
91 British preference for Protectorate Africans than reaching across ethnic boundaries and agitating for broader political participation for all Sierra Leoneans, they are nevert heless illustrative of the vibrancy of civil society in th e pre-independence era. In addi tion, these organizations were a training ground for some of the nationalist move ments that would emerge following the first world war geared more toward greater political representation. Prominent among these was the West African Youth League (WAYL) organized in 1938, under I.T.A. Wallace-Johnson. Notable as one of the few genuine attempts made to bridge the Protectorate-Colony Divide (ContehMorgan and Dixon-Fyle 1999: 57), it ultimately fa iled faced with concerted opposition from the colonial government, who feared its popularity. The years of Krio dominance were coming to an end however, as Africans in the interior gained favor with th e British. In addition, as more Protectorate Africans received e ducation, they also organized polit ically to agitate for increased political representation, in direct challenge of Krio hegemony. The Rise of Political Activism among Africans from the P rot ectorate and the Fall of the Krio The increasing economic and political integration of the colony with the protectorate towards the end of the 19th centur y, as well as the rise of racist ideology led to deteriorating relations between the British and their 'prot gs'. Boundary conflicts with the French and lucrative trade opportunities among other reasons motivated British interests for more control over the interior, and they declared a Fo rmal protectorate over this area in 1895.28 At the same time, the British began to look upon the Krios wi th contempt, seeing thei r Westernized habits and adoption of British ways as pretentious, pref erring in their stead, the inhabitants of the interior (Kandeh 1992; Cartwright 1970). It was also politically advantageous for the British to 28 For a detailed description of the motives behind colonial expansion in the interior, see John R. Cartwright, Political Leadership in Sierra Leone (Toronto ; Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1978), : 38.
92 align more with Protectorate Africans given their interest in the economic benefits to be derived from greater control of the Protectorate. Krio s were increasingly replaced in civil servant positions in the colony by white officials: they he ld eighteen of forty posts in the bureaucracy in 1892; by 1912, this number had dwindled to fifteen of ninety seats, and by 1917 stood at ten (Conteh-Morgan and Dixon-Fyle 1999; Fyfe 1962). In the protectorate, the British adopted a policy of indirect rule using African chiefs, ag ain shutting out Krios. The Krio also saw their dominance of the trade and commercial sectors erode as Lebanese immigrants established linkages with people in the interior and solidified control of transportation facilities of materials for export. By the 1950s, Krio dominance in politics as well as commerce was well on the decline (Cartwright 1970). Krio decline was accompanied by a rise in Pr otectorate fortunes. Protectorate Africans availed themselves of educational opportunities as primary and secondary schools were set up in the interior29 as well as sent their ch ildren abroad for higher ed ucation. Although they lagged behind Krio for many years in the education sector,30 there nevertheless developed a welleducated urban elite that would eff ectively challenge Krio aspirations. Through organizations such as the Committee of Educated Aborigines in the Protectorate (CEA, 1922) and the Protectorate Educational Pr ogressive Union (PEPU), established in 1929, they too advocated for greater political represen tation and power for Protectorate Africans. They saw a number of key successes although the reforms ensured the domination of chiefs in these formal political institutions: the 1924 constitution provided for the appointment of three 29 The first, Bo School, was established in 1905, although the British initially restricted admittance to sons and nominees of Paramount Chiefs. 30 For many years, education enrollment figures were high er in the Colony than the Protectorate. For example, enrollment figures in the Colony for primary school children was 12,311 (55-60% of children aged six to 13) compared to 12,311 (4.5%) in the same cohort, Annual Report of the Education Department for the Year 1948 in John R. Cartwright, Political Leadership in Sierra Leone (Toronto ; Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1978).
93 Paramount Chiefs to serve as representatives of Protectorate interest s; the creation of the Protectorate Assembly in 1946,31 a body with advisory roles to the government also ensured Protectorate representation as did the revised 1951 constitution. This provided an African majority in the Legislative Council for the firs t time, but with greater representation from the Protectorate: it expanded their membership in the Legisl ature from zero to 13, with one representative elected by each one of the 13 Prot ectorate administrative districts and two others elected by the Protectorate Assembly (Hayward and Kande h 1987; Conteh-Morgan and DixonFyle 1999; Cartwright 1978). This was in contrast to the seven elected colony representatives. Moreover, as the chiefs for the most part contro lled the District Councils and were the majority representatives of the Protectorate Assembly, they wielded significant power over the composition of the Legislature (Cartwright 1978: 47). Such developments would influence the relationship between chiefs and e ducated elites in the Protectorat e, as the elites relied on the Chiefs for political representation in the form al institutions of government in Freetown, and would later depend on their support to deliver the votes of the masses with implications for politics in the post-independence period. Thus, a central ramificati on of British policies was the ascendancy of the elite at the expense of the masses: British collusion with chiefs in the Protectorate and the rise of an educated Protectorate elite in th e colony working in collaboration with the chiefs, and often coming themselves from chiefly backgrounds, meant a dominance of elite over mass interests (Kilson 1966) 31 The Protectorate Assembly numbered forty-two, there were ten official members, six nominated African unofficial members and two members from within the 13 district councils, who were predominantly chiefs. Laws of Sierra Leone, chapter 185, Sec 7 (2) Politics in Sierra Leone 1947-67 ([Toronto]: University of Toronto Press, 1970).
94 Sowing the Seeds of Future Unrest: British Polic ies in the Protector ate and the Role of Chiefs The chiefs also wielded signifi cant control in the rural areas; both in their capacity as chiefs as well as within the new administrative structures of District Councils introduced by the British in 1947. As part of their policy of indirect rule, the Britis h implemented a separate system of government in the protectorate. Whereas Engl ish law prevailed in the Colony, customary law governed lives in the protectorate and the British had a less direct presence there, often working through traditional mechanisms of leadership, through the chiefs. Historically, chiefs/kings were the primary source of authority, ruling over small political units, often consisting of a town and its surrounding dependent villages. They had various responsibilities that in cluded supervision of communal labo r for public works, land allocation, administration and dispensation of justice and the protection of residents w ithin their chiefdoms, and assisting the needy (Fanthorpe 2006; Colli er 1970). Although the position was limited to a few ruling families and hereditary means of succession,32 chiefs were nevertheless subject to some form of accountability, governing with the assistance of chiefdom councils comprised of the chiefdom speaker, sub-chiefs as well as ot her elders from ruling houses in the chiefdom (Cartwright 1970). Poorly performi ng chiefs could be removed by a variety of means, depending on the rules obtaining for a partic ular group, and his position was c ontingent in some part on his ability to retain the support of his people by meeting their ne eds (Cartwright 1970: 28). While the rules of succession, scope of duties and eligib ility could differ from area to area and ethnic group, chiefs in all regions were ultimately resp onsible for securing the material and physical wellbeing of their people (Collier 1970; Cartwright 1970), and could suffer repercussions if they 32 Ruling families were descended from original settlers or warriors that had conquered the land (see Earl ContehMorgan and Mac Dixon-Fyle, Sierra Leone at the End of the Twentieth Century : History, Politics, and Society Society and Politics in Africa; Vol. 8 (New York: P. Lang, 1999), : 49-50.
95 failed to do so. Intimately linked with the chieftainc y system were the secret societies; social and religious institutions that not only served as a unifying force, instilling a common sense of identity amongst chiefdoms sharing a common ethnicity but also provided chiefs their legitimacy. For example, societies such as the Po ro (a male Mende secret society), could depose a chief (Little 1967). In Temne areas, an unde r-performing chief could be killed by his councilors (Cartwright 1978). The British manipulated the chieftaincy system however; they undermined traditional checks to tyrannical rule and larg ely removed from chiefs jurisdiction much of what made them respected. At the same time, they strengthe ned authoritarian components (Cartwright 1970). Under colonialism, chiefs retained control on ly over domestic and customary issues, (with ultimate accountability to the Br itish) while the British concerned themselves with law and security. The Protectorate was in itially divided into five admini strative districts on annexation, headed by a District Commissioner for each district. Under this system, chiefs reported now to the European District Commissioner and were responsible for ensuring that subjects obeyed unpopular colonial directives such as hut tax payments. The system further stripped chiefs of many of their adjudicating rights; they now had responsibility only for minor crimes with major issues handled by the Superior Court of the District Commissioner, in which chiefs played no direct role (Conteh-Morgan and Dixon-Fyle 1999; Cartwright 1970). By undermining existing systems of accountabil ity, colonial support of the chieftaincy system contributed to various abuses of power and for some authors, sowed the seeds of resentment, frustration and anger that were later reaped during th e civil war (see for example, Richards 1998; Jackson 2007; Fa nthorpe 2006). The responsibility for retaining or removing chiefs now fell to the governor, a British offici al appointed to oversee th e administration of the
96 colony. British administrators often ignored many of the rules of succession, appointing as chiefs those receptive to British interests (Conteh -Morgan and Dixon-Fyle 1999; Fanthorpe 2006). Furthermore, colonial boundaries between commun ities were arbitrarily drawn, and leadership reorganized to give preference to those local rulers from whom they had support. This included in some cases, the promotion of persons with no previous ties to ruling hou ses at all, but whose support of British interests made them desi rable allies (Little 1967; Abraham 1978; Kilson 1966). Thus while colonialism was of mutu al benefit to Chiefs and the British,33 it was disempowering for the rural masses. It led to the entrenchment of policies that marginalized the poor and reinforced the power and social and economic privile ge of elites. Chiefs benefited from their positions in a variety of ways. One primary source of their power derived from their positions as custodians of land; in this context they could determine citizenship, land allocation and use, which enabled them to disproportionately distribute land to favorites and relatives. They init ially retained rights to tribut e and labor under the new system allowing them to expand their farms and businesse s, increase their wealth and consolidate their status as patrons (Conteh-M organ and Dixon-Fyle 1999). Attempts at Reform: The Implementation of N ative Administration, 1937 and the District Councils In an effort to modernize the system, the British administration intr oduced a new system of Native Administration in 1937. Unde r this system, chiefs were assigned modern bureaucratic tasks such as collection of taxe s and the provision of social se rvices and development in their chiefdoms (Kup 1975: 198). The new system broke away from the past in several ways. In some aspects, it undermined chiefly authority: restricti ons placed on the tributary system meant chiefs 33 The system in place enabled the British to govern on the cheap, with little ne ed for substantial presence on the ground. At the same time it allowed chiefs their traditiona l rights to service as well as supplemented this power through providing them access to the economic benefits that accrued within the colonial state, see, Gershon Collier, Sierra Leone: Experiment in Democracy in an African Nation (New York: New York University Press, 1970).
97 could no longer request labor for their farms, and rivals to his authority whom he no longer possesse[d] traditional means of suppressing (Little 1967: 212), were now tolerated. Their rights to forced labor was reduced, and their former s ources of revenue including access to tributes, fines and fees received from Native Courts and re bates from the hut tax were now ear marked for the chiefdom treasuries that funded the Na tive Administration (Kup 1975). However, some chiefs still retained access to local sources of revenue, particularly through fees and fines of Native courts, in addition to the regular sala ries they now received from the colonial administration (Kilson 1966). These salaries ofte n claimed the largest sh are of administrative expenditures, leaving little for social services provision (Kup 1975; Cartwright 1970). In many ways, the Native Administration system simply enabled chiefs to consolidate their privileged financial and political positions (Collier 1970). Furthermor e, they benefited from rents and royalties levied on mining co mpanies for use of land. Chief authority was even extended into the Colony34 where the 1924 constitutional revisions allocated seats to chiefs as representatives of Protectorate interests in the Legislative Council. This was expanded to include one appointment to the Executive Council in 1943. Often, only chiefs and their relatives were able to send their children to school, so many of the ne w elite in the Colonies had chiefly connections, underscoring the linkages between traditional fo rms of government, the modern state and the new political elite that were to take over in the wake of independence. Other attempts by the coloni al government to improve th e system of governance and increase representation for peoples in the rural areas,35 served mainly to entrench the prioritization of elite over mass interests. The advisory role of the district councils were 34 See the previous discussion above on the increased representation of chiefs in the politics of the colony. 35 Notably, through the creation of the Distri ct Councils and the Protectorate Assembly.
98 expanded in 1950 when all development matters of the protectorate was placed under their jurisdiction. Although they we re eligible to receive revenue with goals for development, much of this money went to salaries and other personal costs, much to the di ssatisfaction of rural residents. In addition the bulk of councilors we re chiefs, again ensuring that non-elites were marginalized in systems of rule. Ethnic Tensions at the Brink of Independence The sm aller numbers of the Krio, the expansion of political rights to protectorate Africans, the development of an educated elite with pr otectorate ties having aspi rations for political representation, as well as British racism and disdain for what they saw as Krio pretentiousness, left the Krio unable to ward off Protectorate chal lenges of their political dominance. Finally, the expansion of the franchise from the colony to include Africans in the protectorate in 1957 ensured the political ascendancy of Africans fr om the protectorate given their numerical advantages. The Krio-Protectorate split was not the only salient divide however; tensions also existed between the ethnic groups in the Protectorate, bu t these were largely subsumed under the greater threat posed by the Krio prior to independence. The Mende were disproportionately represented among the elites in leadership in Freetown; the Southern region was home to the agricultural commodities that would generate the most expor t revenue like cocoa, ginger, piassava, and coffee, in addition to having export crops also found in the north like pa lm kernel, kola and groundnuts (Cartwright 1978). Moreover train routes were concentr ated in this region, moving goods from the interior to Freetown for overseas export to Britain. These regions as a result came into more frequent contact with, and received more attention from the colonial government. There was also a north-south educational divi de, with southern populations overall more educated than their northern counterparts. The 1948 Annual Report of the Education Department
99 put northern enrollment in primary schools at 3,291, significantly less than the 11,466 in southern regions (cited in Ca rtwright 1978). The growth of the mining industry from the discovery of diamonds in 1930 also encouraged new patterns of mobilization, patronage and political tensions. In addition to diamonds, mining also in gold, platinum, and iron ore increased.36 The more depressed regions of the nor thern provinces were disproportionately represented in the numbers of laborers flocking to the mining regions of Kono and Kenema, and Cartwright (1978) has estimated that there ma y have been as much as 30-40 percent of northerners involved during 1954-1961. The developm ent of mining communities contributed to the rise of new sources of mobilization: by brin ging together people of various ethnic groups to work in the mines, they fostered the creation of new cross-ethnic li nkages and enabled Temne and other northern groups to break more decisive ly from the elite centered politics practiced by Southerners. At the same time however, mining c ontributed to the develo pment of a politicized Kono, who despite the con centration of diamonds in their region failed to reap much economic benefit. Their dissatisfaction would eventually fi nd expression in the Kono-dominated party, the Kono Progressive Movement, as well as through a pol itical alliance with th e Krio in the party, the Sierra Leone Independent Movement, cr eated in November 1956 (Conteh-Morgan and Dixon-Fyle 1999). The newfound wealth generated by diamond reve nues also provided an alternative source of income for patronag e policies in populations with weakened tradit ional ties given their distance from homes and exposure to people of different groups. It thus stood in contrast to the 36 In 1939 mining employed 16,506 people, up from just 48 ten years earlier. In addition, revenue from mining exports surged, climbing to 22.1% in 1937 compared to 5% in 1935. This tr end was also reflected in the shifting export patterns, as mining overtook agriculture in importanc e: growing from 21.5% of total exports to 70% in 1940. See, Earl Conteh-Morgan and Mac Dixon-Fyle, Sierra Leone at the End of the Twentieth Century : History, Politics, and Society Society and Politics in Africa; Vol. 8 (New York: P. Lang, 1999), : 49-50.
100 patronage structures of the old elite and the ch iefs that prioritized ethnicity and could pose a challenge to it (Cartwright 1978). The above illustrates the salien ce of ethnicity in shaping politi cal developments in Sierra Leone during the years of colonialism and in the build-up to independence. Although tensions existed between different groups in the Protecto rate, the chief political divide in the period leading up to independence, was between the Krio and the other ethnic groups of the Protectorate. The two groups generally viewed each other with mutual distrust. For those from the interior, the Krio were collaborators of British colonial interests, foreign agents used by the British to further their domination of Protectorate peoples (Collier 1970). Fo r their part, the Krio felt threatened politically by the numerical superiority of those th ey had considered inferior, and worried about their political standing and pr ivileges should Protectorate inhabitants receive political power. These concerns were realized in the year s leading to independence and beyond as Krios were eclipsed from the political scene. The rami fications of these deve lopments for political developments in the post-inde pendence years are clear; thr ough favoritism a nd preferential treatment, the British used divide and rule t actics to keep groups fr om uniting in the common interests of the people at large; rather, as power became associat ed with privilege, it was pursued primarily as a mechanism for instrumental gain37 and ethnicity became a mechanism through which groups tried to mobilize support, forming the primary basis of political organization (Collier 1970; Kandeh 1992). Initially, Protectora te Africans united agains t the Krio threat; once that was nullified, chasms emerged within othe r groups primarily along ethnic dimensions. This 37 For a classic description of the differences between the civic and primordial realms and the resulting implications for the politics of ethnic competition, see Paul Ekeh, "Colonialism and the Two Publics in Africa: A Theoretical Statement Comparative Studies in Society and History 17, no. 1 (1975).
101 lack of unity among various groups in Sierra Leon e has not only encouraged ethnic rivalries but contributed also to the patrona ge policies that have dogged Sier ra Leone since independence. Whither the People? Mass Resp onses to Colonial Rule Many of the colonial directives were unpopul ar with the general populace. Entrenched privileges fo r chiefs, a lack of corresponding acc ountability combined with measures such as taxation for the masses resulted in some expre ssions of mass discontent. One of the earliest manifestations of discontent was the 1898 Hut Tax Wa r organized in response to a flat rate tax implemented by the British in January 1898 to subs idize the costs of colonial rule. This provoked armed rebellion as various groups from both the north and south m ounted a resistance against the British. British reprisals against dissidents were swift and brutal chiefs that encouraged their people to not pay the taxes were imprisoned wh ereas those loyal to the administration were amply rewarded. The war underscored the divisions that the British had exploited; Krio traders as well as chiefs supportive of the alien administra tion were targeted as collaborators and nearly a thousand people died (Cartwright 1970). For th eir part, the government burnt houses and farms belonging to dissidents (Barrows 1976) and there were casualties on both sides. In the aftermath of the war, the generous reward of those loyal to the administrati on contributed to further abuses of power, as they were secure in Britis h support (Conteh-Morgan and Dixon-Fyle 1999). Another spontaneous expression of dissatisfaction occurred in 1919, when anti-Lebanese riots broke out in the city following the return of troops deployed in the First World War to poor economic conditions and unemployment. Continued abuses by chiefs in the rural areas combined with poor working conditions and colonial backing of international firms underc utting Sierra Leonean attempts to launch commercial businesses led to a series of riots in the 1950s. Lack of job opportunities as well as low pay, led workers in Freetow n to riot and strike in Fe bruary 1955 (Conteh-Morgan and
102 Dixon-Fyle 1999; Cartwright 1978). Peasants in the rural areas rose up against the chiefs later than year, in November, in protes t of arbitrary taxation, continued extortion in the form of forced labor and unfair levies and fines, and general un interrupted corruption of chiefs. Chiefs saw the destruction of their property, with attacks especially committed against those chiefs seen as colluding with Europeans.38 Organized expressions of discontent also ex isted and citizens through various professional associations strove to improve working conditions and pay. Organizations such as the mostlyKrio local chapter of the National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA, organized in 1920) and the Northern-dominated Committee for the Educated Aborigines (CEA, created in 1922) sought to increase political repr esentation for Krios and natives respectively. Trade unions and professional associations organized strikes a nd protests against low wages and poor working conditions in the city, meeting with limite d success (Conteh-Morgan and Dixon-Fyle 1999). For example, between 1906 and 1914, skilled workers saw a rise in their earnings from thirty-five to fifty percent following strikes, although these be nefits did not accrue to the unskilled (Wyse 1981; Conteh-Morgan and Dixon-Fyle 1999). Conversel y, the six-week railwa y workers strike of 1926 which saw Krio elite and Protectorate Chiefs in the Legislature colla borating to assist the strikers resulted in the retrenchment of political positions of the Krios, including the dissolution of the Krio-dominated city council, and fewer pr omotions into the civ il service (Conteh-Morgan and Dixon-Fyle 1999). The WAYL, with its call for unity and aspiratio ns to represent work ers spanning all ethnoregional divides and occupations we nt further than other organizati ons in terms of representation. The organization embraced the skilled as well as unskilled and employed and unemployed 38 See for an excellent review of the causes and scope of damage inflicted by these riots, John R. Cartwright, Political Leadership in Sierra Leone (Toronto ; Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1978), 66-70.
103 workers. Concerned with political as well as economic reform, the League also called for increased political representation of Africans in addition to economic progress. However, in light of the extensive support it garnered across ethnic and occ upational divides, the colonial government repressed it, and imprisoned its leader, ITA Wallace Johnson. The Role of Secret Societies Secret so cieties were (and still are) influen tial in mobilizing and organizing all aspects of citizen life. The majority of ethni c groups in Sierra Leone have s ecret societies, with the major exception being the Krio ethnic group. An ancient cultural institution usually associated with some connection to the spirit world, these societ ies are not limited to Sierra Leone and can be found throughout the Upper Guinea West African Coast. They are the primary institutions responsible for the socialization of adolescent boys and girls into adulthood, teaching them the various culturally ascribed gender-specific roles and identities. Sc ott called it probably the most important political force in the country (1960: 174), and it remains an influential means to organize political life. For exampl e, prior to colonialism, the Mende-based Poro Society could remove a chief that failed to meet his obligati ons (Cartwright 1970). Secret Societies could also deliver votes for politicians and ruling chiefs an d cases were reported of Poro as well as Bundu (womens secret society) member s being made to swear to support a certain candidate over the other.39 With membership open to all peoples of that ethnicity group, secret societies such as the Poro served as an overarching means of social organization and enable d citizens to retain 39 For more details of this, see Fred M. Hayward and Ji mmy D. Kandeh, "Perspectives on Twenty-Five Years of Elections in Sierra Leone," in Elections in Independent Africa, ed. Fred M. Hayward (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1987), Jimmy D. Kandeh, "Transition without R upture: Sierra Leone's Transfer Election of 1996," African Studies Review 41, no. 2 (1998), Jimmy D. Kandeh, "In Sear ch of Legitimacy: The 1996 Elections," in Between Democracy and Terror : The Sierra Leone Civil War ed. Ibrahim Abdullah (Dakar, Senegal: Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, 2004).
104 affective ties that transcended locale. For example, many of the Protectorate elite in political positions in the Western Area (formerly the Colony) had ties and memberships in Secret Societies. Secret Societies could also mobilize citizen support against unpopular directives (Kilson 1966); for example they played a central role in organizing resistance to the unpopular Hut Tax during the 1898 war as well as in the 1955-1956 riots (Gorvie 1945; cited in Cartwright 1970). Concerning the latter, Sir Herbert Cox wrote, [t]he influence of the Porro Society is secret, profound and universal. The aloofness in some few cases of the chiefs from the Society has enabled them to be undermined, for it is a cult which almost at will can become a primitive government of its own (cited in Cartwright 1970). While such sentiments underscore the administrations wary stance toward Secret Soci eties, it also illustrates their strength and influence. In more recent years, they were instrumental in organizing young men through civil defense forces (CDF) to protect their communities during the civil war. The political influence of these societies was also pointed out by a female politician who felt that womens participation in the political arena in high positions today was constrained by the fact that they were not privy to political decisions taking pl ace within the Secret Bush.40 Although there are both women and male societies, many important political issues are discussed and d ecisions taken within the male societies. What are the implications of secret soci eties for democracy building? Despite the importance and prevalence of these organizations many contemporary theories on civil society and social capital discount them; although not ne cessarily parochial, th ey nevertheless do not meet Eisenstadts criteria that civil society be accessible to citizens and open to public 40 Author interview with female councilor, in Kailahun Town, August 15, 2006.
105 deliberation not embedded in exclusive, secret ive or corporate settings (Eisenstadt cited in Diamond 1999). They are very much a part of patronage structures; membership in a Secret Society of the region/community is often necessary for a politician to be considered for election in that region, and once elected, these politicians are expected to provide opportunities for their fellow community members. Given that the governm ent remains a foreign entity for many in the rural areas, Secret Societies ar e also the primary source of af filiation and support, negotiating relationships or contact between national gove rnment and local populace (Fanthorpe 2007). Thus some argue that they are a hindrance to democr acy as they provide an alternative governance structure to that of national government. In addition, the assumption is that its hierar chical structure oste nsibly precludes the development of civic norms of trust and coope ration, which can only emerge where horizontal ties are the norm (Diamond 1999). However, as others such as Jay, Richards and Williams (2002) have pointed out, secret societies can be a source of community solidarity, and ignoring such institutions in the literature on social capital is a sign of West ern bias that marginalizes an important component of associatio nal life familiar to many Africans.41 From Independence to Civil War: The Post-Colonial Years In the build up to independence, the Protectorate Africans living in the colony united against what they perceived to be a comm on thr eat -the Krio. By unifying politically, they were able to back a claim to inherit power from the British because of their superior numbers vis--vis the Krio. Having effectively shut the Krio out of key posts in politics, however, tensions 41 Other authors that advocate making traditional institutions a part of the discussion on civil society building include Milton J. Esman and Norman Thomas Uphoff, Local Organizations : Intermediaries in Rural Development (Ithaca: Cornell University Pre ss, 1984), David C. Korten, Getting to the 21st Century : Voluntary Action and the Global Agenda Kumarian Press Library of Management for Development (West Hartford, Conn.: Kumarian Press, 1990). For these authors, it is important to realize that ex isting social realities matter and interventions cannot simply create from scratch new institutions; furthermore, to be effective, civil society must emerge from bottom-up initiatives rather than top-down directives.
106 then emerged between the different ethnic iden tities of the Protectorate (Conteh-Morgan and Dixon-Fyle 1999; Collier 1970). Mo st notable was the rift between the Mende, constituting the majority people in the South (30 percent) and the Temne, the majority of the North (30 percent). Although the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) had initially emerged as a unified force of Protectorate Africans challenging Krio political aspirations, the partys significant gains in the 1951 as well as 1957 elections led to concern among other groups as percepti ons of the party as Mende-dominated gave rise to f ears that it promoted only Mende interests (Collier 1970; Kilson 1966). This perception was reinforced by rela tively greater economic development of the southern and eastern provinces of Sierra Leone predominantly Mende in makeup. These areas, in addition to the Western area around Freetow n were markedly more developed than the northern province from which many Temne haile d. SLPP economic patronage in the southern and eastern provinces further und erscored these grievances (Beb ler 1973). The perception of the SLPP as a Mende party intensified under Albert Margai, who pursued a more aggressive policy of consolidating the party under Mende rule than had his brother (Conteh-Morgan and DixonFyle 1999). In addition, with its cl ose ties to chiefs, the SLPP wa s seen also as elitist party, concerned with the needs of the rich and well-educated (Cartwright 1970). Thus, cleavages along ethnic lines dominated early post-independence politics in Sierra Leone, a factor that ha s persisted until today. Clearly, ethnic politics di ctated party alliances more than issues and ideology. In the rural areas, chiefs, especially in the Southern and Eastern regions enjoyed close tie s with the SLPP, and were often able to persuade citizens on how to vote. However, this relationship retarded the de velopment of an autonomous party structure with independent support rooted in local communities. As the SLPP relied on chiefs to deliver their support there was no need to spend time reaching out to the masses in rural areas and building up
107 support of their own (Cartwright 1970). By the same token, chiefs had no incentive in seeing a strong party structure at local levels as this could potential ly undermine their own power (Cartwright 1970: 261). Without a national overarching organization to lend weight to potential political aspirants, appeals were personal rather than general, relying on personality and contacts. As Cartwright writes, an aspiring representative had to cultivate a personal rather than a party appeal to the electoratethe SLPP leadersha d no incentive to draw the masses into direct participation in politics, or to try to ma ke sweeping social changes (Collier 1970). The APC addressed this somewhat, reaching out to the poor urban masses as well as marginalized northerners. Disenchanted groups including Temne and Krio concerned with apparent Mende hegemony searched for politi cal alternatives, and found this in the 1960 formation of the All Peoples Congress (APC) under the leadership of former trade union leader, Siaka Stevens, a Limba, one of the smaller No rthern ethnic groups. St evens trade unionist beginnings helped him to reach out to these popu lations and mobilize support, and played a role in his ascension to power. The APC originated from another breakaway party from the SLPP before independence, the Peoples National Pa rty (PNP); however, following that partys dissolution, many of the non-Mende members went on to join Stevens party, seeing within it the possibility of advancing their ethnic interests (Conteh-Morgan and Dixon-Fyle 1999). Contrary to the SLPP, the APC was popular with the worker s, the poor living in rural areas as well as those tired of the oppression of the chiefs (state ment of the National Reformation Council on the Report of the Dove-Edwin Commission of Inquir y, cited in Collier 1970), and the party actively campaigned among the masses, representing hope for social change and political development of heretofore-marginalized areas, especially in the north.
108 The SLPP narrowly held onto power in th e 1962 elections with overwhelming ethnoregional support from Mendes, but in 1968, desp ite strong-arm tactics that included election rigging and fraud the APC narrowl y defeated the SLPP. The obse rvations of the Dove-Edwin Commission of Inquiry on the ethno -regional alignments of those elections are still very much salient in contemporary politics in Sierra Leone and echo many curre nt observations of elections today:42 The 1967 results showed sectional alignments throughout the country. The Sierra Leone Peoples Party was confined to the Southern Province, Kailahun and Kenema Districts and part of the Kono District in the Eastern Pr ovince; the All Peoples Congress was confined largely to the Northern Province and the th en Western Area (Hayward and Kandeh 1987). The year 1967 also marked a turning point in Sierra Leone politics, ushering in a period of decreased political openness and tolerance. Until th is time, Sierra Leone wa s widely regarded as a model of democracy, holding largely free and fair elections marked by vigorous contestation of various parties and vibrant political associ ation and discussion (Thompson 1997), although political participation and contestation was limited largely to the capital. These elections were the first in Africa in which an opposition party defeated the incumbent, attaining power through electoral means (Zack-Williams 1999), but Stevens was prevented from assuming leadership immediately. His reinstatement as prime minist er only came in April 1968 following three coups over a one year period: the first by Brigadier Davi d Lansana, loyal to Margai, who believed that Stevens victory was prematurely declared as the Governor-General di d not include election results from the chiefs; a counter-c oup by junior officers th at falsely promised a return to civilian rule, the National Reformation Council (NRC), a nd a final coup a year later in April, by noncommissioned officers who returned Stevens to power one week later (Legum and Drysdale 42 See for example, Colin Legum and John Drysdale, Africa Contemporary Record : Annual Survey and Documents, 1969-70 (Exeter: Africa Research, 1969), Colin Legum and John Gordon Stewart Drysdale, Africa Contemporary Record : Annual Survey and Documents, 1968-1969 (London: Africa Research Limited, 1969).
109 1969). Following his reinstatement to power in April 1968, politics under Stevens was characterized by increasing brutality and political repression as well as the politics of patrimonial rule necessitated by the importance of ethnici ty in political alliances and cleavages. Stevens and the Patrimonial State Stevens inherited a country, which, while no t wealthy, nevertheless had som e foreign exchange in the bank, a relatively strong GDP per capita and received more in exports than she paid for imports. By 1968, the economic turmoil of the immediate post-independence years as well as the coup had abated with improvements across board (See Tables 3-1, 3-2 and 3-3). In the early years of colonialism, revenue fr om agriculture comprise d the bulk of exports, although much of this revenue was re-directed to Britain. Sierra Leone, like many other colonized nations of this time, bore the hallmarks of dependent capitalism exporting raw materials to the mother country and importing more expensive finished products in return (Conteh-Morgan and Dixon-Fyle 1999). In the 1 930s, minerals replaced agriculture, with diamonds being the dominant export. In 1968 around 85 percent of export revenue came from diamonds (Legum and Drysdale 1969), as illustrated in Tables 3-4 and 3-5. In 1968, the government also had plans to increase expenditure on social services, including education, health and water supplies. Not only was the economy sound, but civil society was active there was a l ong history of vibrant political activity, at least in the capital where a number of civil society group, (albeit organized along the predominant ethnicprotectorate divide with some few exceptions) competed to make their interests and concerns known to colonial administrators. Much of this changed un der Stevens leadership and state failure had its antecedents in his corrupted and terror-driven rule. Given the ethno -regional component to politics in the country and the resulting flexible nature of political affiliations and loyalty, patronage was a primary
110 mechanism to ensure support. Patrimonialism, a feature of Sierra Leone politics before independence (Boas 2001; Richards 1998), characterized by the use of state resources for private gain, enabled Stevens to defuse opposition and maintain a hold on power. Although Weber associates patrimonialism with a traditional-based system of rule that disappears as countries move from tradition to modernity where rule is grounded in rati onal or legal authority (Weber 1968), it thrived in Sierra Leone where, there was a long-estab lished political legitimacy of patrimonialism in the eyes of a largely rura l and conservative electorate to whom state sponsorship was but a village-level moral economy writ large, in which patron-client relationships were essential to survival in a harsh and capricious agricultural environment (Richards 1986, cited in Richards 1996: 40-41). In this context, politics is marked by scar city, and power is the mechanism through which various groups can ensure the distribution of these scarce resources in their favor. Additionally, where the discrepancy between official wages/inco me and the cost of living was extreme, ones survival depended on these networks. Stevens expa nded these networks, using patrimonialism as a way to entrench his political position. His s upport base were workers from the poorer northern regions where the discovery of mining deposits in the 1930s had shifted the focus of exports from the agricultural products of the south to mi nerals such as bauxite, iron, rutile and diamonds by the 1950s. In order to entrench his political pos ition, he needed to reach out to other segments of society and thus, despite campaigning on a plat form of ending patronage, his rule was also characterized by corruption and nepotism that sp anned all areas of economy and society (Reno 1998; Abraham 2001; Boas 2001), leading to severe deterioration of the economy as he used key mineral resources to su pport these networks.
111 The presence of small valuable mineral resources like diamonds facilitated this exploitation. In the vein of resource curse theories (see for example, Ross 1999; Collier and Hoeffler 2001; Leonard and Straus 2003) diamonds have proved a disadvantage rather than a blessing in Sierra Leone. The presen ce especially of alluvial diamonds43 facilitated smuggling as their ease of extraction made it easy for anyone to engage in the trade and their portability made government oversight difficult (Cartwright 1978). At the same time, rents could be extracted from big firms with exclusive rights also e ngaged in mining. Revenue from diamond smuggling was a central element in Stevens ability to ma intain power and mines were exploited for his personal advantage and that of his supporters (R ichards 1998). According to the Bank of Sierra Leone, before Stevens rule, diamonds generated a bout $200 million in profits in Sierra Leone's formal economy, and provided 70 percent of fore ign exchange reserves. However, by 1987, only $100,000 worth of diamonds passed through formal, ta xable channels (Bank of Sierra Leone, cited in Reno 1998). The economic growth genera ted by minerals was pocketed by a privileged few and consequently did not benefit the state or the country as a whol e. Stevens and several associates appropriated not just diamond profits, but also diverted profits and assets from other state enterprises, notably from oil and rice marketing. High interest rates on loans and revenues received by peasant producers unde r the auspices of the Sierra Leone Marketing Board (SLMB) and pocketed by urban elite (Zack-Williams 1999) also contributed to the decline in the agriculture sector as peasants withdrew from the formal domestic market, and turned to the informal economy. The marginalization of the agri cultural economy can also be attributed to the growth in importance of mining. Whereas all exports prior to 1929 were agricultural, by 1933 43 Alluvial diamonds are lodged in se diments and riverbeds, close to the ea rth surface, and do not require capitalintensive methods of extraction. Instead they can be easily obtained using informal techniques with shovels, pans and even hands; as such they are an attractive option for poor, marginalized youth with few alternatives.
112 minerals made up 21.5 percent of exports ri sing to 70 percent in 1940 (Conteh-Morgan and Dixon-Fyle 1999). The ruling elite also made money from kickbacks and rents from logging companies (Bates 1981; Richards 1998). Such actions, in redirectin g money away from the economy to support and sustain patronage networks contributed substant ially to undermining the effectiveness of most state institutions, sowing the seeds of future inst ability as it undermined state legitimacy (Bates 1981). This shadow state as Reno (1995) term s this confluence of interest between politicians/warlords and internat ional business to generate the revenue to support patron-client networks, maintaining the faad e of a state while at the sa me time undermining the states bureaucratic capabilities, severe ly weakened the economy and re tarded development (Richards 1998; Francis 1999). This shaky structure of the state and its ab ility to perform was further undermined as patrimonialism itself came under challenge: or expe rienced what Richards has called the crisis of the patrimonial state (Richa rds 1998: 36-37). This crisis is rooted in the reduction of available resources for redistribution given falling internationa l prices for raw materials, constraints imposed by structural adjustment progr ams, and the decrease in aid assistance with the end of the Cold War (Adeba jo 2002: 80). The decline of the mining industry in the 1970s led to greater poverty. This, in addition to the re trenchment of the state demanded by external powers under the policies of structural adjustment increasi ngly rendered it unable to provide kickbacks to its supporters and perform public tasks, ge nerating more discontent. The brutality and repression characterizing Stevenss regime was another source of dissatisfaction. Stevens crushed what was previo usly a quite active civil society through cooptation of trade unions, agricu ltural cooperatives a nd business and professional organizations
113 (Tangri 1985). Following his ascension to power in 1968, he made moves to consolidate power in his hands and eliminate political opponents (Kandeh 1998). Subsequent elections held in 1973 and 1977 were among the most violent, with the opposition SLPP boycotting the 1973 elections for fear of candidates security (Kandeh 1998; Hayward and Kandeh 1987). Opposition to SLPP calls for a one-party regime had formed a central component of his successful 1967 campaign; on attaining power ho wever, Stevens soon became a one-party state advocate, ostensibly as a means to st amp out ethnic chauvinism (Kandeh 1998), and he introduced a one-party constitution in 1978 throu gh a biased referendum. In actuality, elections held under the one party banner simply exposed the class tensions underpinning ethnic tensions (Kandeh 1998) and the 1982 elections were even more violent than those held under the multiparty system. Although subsequent elections were more peaceful, patronage nevertheless continued as a means to garner support in a system without significant competition from viable political alternativ es (Richards 1998). As Stevens activities sabotaged state ec onomic performance, and hindered political freedoms, politically and economically marginali zed citizens became disenchanted with the state and looked for alternative means of support (Kandeh 1998). Student de monstrations in 1977 sparked a harsh government response with many a rrests, detentions and the closure of schools and universities. University student protests in 1985 led to many expulsions. Coups and assassination attempts from army ranks led to swift reprisals: executions and imprisonments. Despite the reduction in revenue to maintain pa trimonial networks, growth of the informal economy and intensification of di ssatisfaction, through a combination of repressive politics, the cooptation of the opposition into a single party regime and patronage-based distribution of
114 resources, Stevens was able to stay in power until his 1985 retirement wh en he transferred the mantle to his handpicked successor Brigadier Joseph Momoh. Momoh and the Advent of Civil War Things fared little better under Momoh and eco nom ic and social condi tions remained poor. Although he was more open politically than Stevens, restoring multi-party system amidst internal and external pressures in a 1991 referendum, his effectiveness was hindere d by an inability to sustain patronage networks due to structural adjustment policies, St evens continued hold on much of the existing resources, as well as his own weaknesses as a leader. The civil war started within this context when a group of rebels, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), including elements of the Liberian civil war struck Sierra Leone on 23 March 1991. The rebels received support from Charles Ta ylor, the Liberian wa rlord, and some had received military training in Libyan camps (Zack-Williams 1999). They counted among their members politically and economically excluded intellectuals and a multi-ethnic makeup, as their populist goals of an end to economic marginal ization and poverty a nd a search for socioeconomic development for all transcended all groups (Zack-Williams 2004; Richards 1996). The movement ostensibly fought for those largely marginalized by the APC regime, including high school and/or college graduates without jobs, lo w skilled workers trapped in low paying and dangerous jobs and the peasant you th in the rural area without prospects. Its stated aim was the removal of a state unable to provide public goods su ch as roads, schools, education or health care (Abraham 2001) and its replacement with one th at worked in the interests of the people. However, they perpetrated many of their atrociti es on the very people on whose behalf they were fighting. Government ineptitude in dealing with the rebels led to a coup in 1992, when junior military officers under the leadership of 27-year old Captain Valentine Strasser stormed
115 Freetown in protest of low wage s and poor equipment. By this time, the government lacked the financial capacity to pay most public sector employees, includ ing the soldiers fighting on the Liberian border as well as doctors, nurses, teachers and civil servants. The poor economic situation, high levels of corruption among political elites as well as indifference to the poor living conditions and shoddy equipment of soldie rs, all motivated the co up, and most Sierra Leoneans initially welcomed the change in regime. However, Strassers National Provisional Ru ling Council (NPRC) was unable to make significant gains in ending the war or impr oving the economic situation, and the economy continued to shrink at an average of 1.5 percen t per annum largely because of rebel activities. The NPRC regime was also blamed for diamond smuggling. Facing internal and external pressures to democratize, by late 1994, Strasser outlined a timetable for return to civilian rule, scheduling elections for the end of 1995. The move toward elections included two consultations with broad segments of society (Bintumani I and II) including civil society, churches, traditional leaders, army and political party representativ es. Bintumani II was convened following a counter coup by Strassers close friend and associate, Brigadier Maada Bio in January 1996, who justified this act by claiming that Strasser had no t intended to go forward with the elections in February. However, Bios later actions seemed to suggest that it wa s Bio himself who was against the forthcoming elections and giving up pow er. He declared his intention to seek peace with Foday Sankoh and the RUF before holding electi ons but retreated from this position in light of public outcry (for example, participants at Bintumani II, held February 12, overwhelmingly voted for elections before peace). Despite logis tical problems and voter intimidation from NPRC as well as the RUF (with the la tter chopping off limbs as a deterr ence to voting) presidential and parliamentary elections were held February 26, 1996 with substantial in ternational financial
116 assistance (Boas 2001). Ahmad Te jan Kabbah was inaugurated as president on 29 March 1996, and a cease-fire was signed with the rebels on Nove mber 1996. Despite the return of civilian rule in 1996 and the peace agreement, fighting continued, especially up-country, between the RUF, the ousted junta and Sierra Leonean and ECOMOG troops. The rebels, though initially a small rag-tag group, used techniques of forced coercion drugs, and violent initiation techniques such as forcing young recruits to kill parents as mechanisms to build their numbers. Under the influence of hallucinogenic and mind altering dr ugs, rebels, many of whom were children, performed acts of astonishing brutality incl uding chopping of limbs and murder of immediate family members for initiation. The assistance of a South African mercen ary group, Executive Outcomes allowed the government to make some inroads in stemming the rebel threat, but, under pressure from the IMF to reduce expenditure (they were paid in diamonds), the government terminated their contract and they left in Janua ry 1997. The bulk of community prot ection then lay in the hands of civil defense forces (CDF); groups of citizens that organized themselves to protect their communities against the rebel threat. A notable example were the Kamajohs, historically a traditional warring group; their successes in protec ting their communities and apparent ties with the government (Sam Hinga Norma, their Nationa l Coordinator was also Deputy Minister of Defense in Kabbahs government) led to some tensions between the group and the army, many of whom had been former APC supporters w ith roots in the north (Abraham 2001). Citing dissatisfaction with the government for not ending the rebel war and for not undertaking effective economic reform, on May 25 1997, the ar my once again intervened, led by Corporal John Paul Koroma in cooperation with the RUF; ma ny of the soldiers involved in the coup were from military barracks in Daru in Kailahun, a re bel strong-hold, (Abraham 2001: 219). The junta
117 released and armed inmates of the capital Freetown s main prison in the heart of the city. They then invited Sankoh to return to Sierra Leone from Nigeria where he was under house arrest, and take part in forming their government, the Ar med forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC). They were only removed from power following the intervention of Nigerian-dominated ECOMOG troops that reinstated Kabbah in March 1998. Ho wever, ECOMOG influence was limited largely to the capital, and the RUF remain ed strong in the rural areas. The arrests, trials and executio ns of so-called coup collaborators in the wake of civilian return angered both the rebels and AFRC and in January 1999, they invaded Freetown in what was the most devastating and brutal attack of th e war. In that one w eek, at least 3,000 children were abducted and 7335 people killed (Abraham 2001). In the wake of peace talks following the invasion, the governme nt signed the Lom Peace Accords that not only provided blanket amnesty to the coup-makers but also allocated ke y cabinet posts to the RUF including the newly created post of chairman of th e commission for the management of strategic re sources, national reconstruction and development (CMRRD) (Abraham 2001). Although a brief peace followed, Sankoh and his fi ghters were slow in disarming and the large concessions they received in the peace agre ement only reinforced the message that conflict was a means to power. As one commentator note d, it gave the RUF at the negotiating table all the things it could not capture on the battlefield.... It was surre nder at its most abject ... [and] legitimized barbarities of rare ferocity (US Republican Senator Judd Gregg, 2000, cited in Abraham 2001). Problems again resurfaced in May 2000, wh en after months of harassment and disarmament of UN troops, the RUF captured 500, l eading to internationa l outcry and protests from domestic civil society. In addition, UN troops were increased from 1,100 to 8,700 and the British sent military assistance. Following skir mishes between Sankoh supporters and citizens
118 that had marched to his Freetown residence in protest, Sankoh was eventually captured and imprisoned, and the presence of UN and British troops prevented the war from breaking out again on a large scale (Abraham 2001; Boas 2001) Disarmament and demobilization of all warring factions was successfully complete d February 2004 with a total of 72,490 fighters disarmed and 71,043 demobilized, including 6,845 child soldiers (Kaikai 2004; cited in IRIN 2004). On May 14, 2002, the country experienced larg ely peaceful elections setting it on the path of post-conflict reconstruction. Contributing Factors to Civil War in Sierra Leone Scholars have advanced a num ber of causal fact ors to explain the start and continuation of civil war in Sierra Leone.44 Most agree however that the ex istence of a patrimonial political system, the presence of mineral resources, the marg inalization of educated as well as non-literate youth by governing elites in a highly centralized system with few avenues for organized dissent and political participa tion are primary causes. Some have found a correlation between mine ral resources and ci vil unrest where the availability of such resources are associated with the origins as well as continuation of civil war (Le Billon 2000; Berdal and Ma lone 2000; Abraham 2001; Franci s 1999). While competition for these limited resources can cause war, once underway, the state of disorder can be beneficial to warring factions, leading to its continuation. Under such circ umstances, war is beneficial enabling as it does, the amassing of fortunes in a context where lack of order also means lack of policing; and, 44 See for example, Paul Jackson, "Chiefs, Money and Po liticians: Rebuilding Local Government in Post-War Sierra Leone," Public Administration and Development 25 (2005), M Boas, "Liberia an d Sierra Leone Dead Ringers? The Logic of Neopatrimonial Rule," Third World Quarterly 22, no. 5 (2001), Alfred B. Zack-Williams, "Sierra Leone: The Political Economy of Civil War, 1991-98," Third World Quarterly 20, no. 1 (1999), Ibrahim Abdullah, ed., Between Democracy and Terror : The Sierra Leone Civil War (Dakar, Senegal: Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, 2 004), Paul Jackson, "Reshuffling an Old Deck of Cards? The Politics of Local Government Reform in Sierra Leone," African Affairs 106, no. 422 (2007).
119 the winners, those who stand to gain from a state of war, may prol ong a conflict if they have the power to but cannot ensure that an outright victory would keep them on the winning side. In fact the perpetuation of war can become an end in itself, providing and justifying the use of violent means to create or sustain economic profits and political power (Le Billon 2000: 1). In Sierra Leone, wartime disorder provided an opportunity to access benefits, and soldiers, rebels and citizens alike were involved in diamond smuggling (Zack-Williams 1999; Boas 2001; Le Billon 2000). Seemingly opposing factions such as the Rebel United Front (RUF), army coup leaders, National Provisional Ruling Council (NP RC), and civilian militia like the Kamajohs, Westside Boys, and other armed movements were able to quite easily cooperate and work together (Francis 1999). This did not go unnoticed by citizens who coined the term sobels to describe the dual identities of soldiers who we re both defenders of the government while also supporting and taking part in rebe l activities and spoils. It also incorporated CDF groups who also perpetuated atrocities and pa rticipated in smuggling activities Mineral resources contributed to the start and perpetuation of political inst ability, as it provided a means through which people benefited economically, illustrating the rationa lity of conflict and state failure. However, the war cannot be attributed to mine ral resources alone, but can also be read as symptomatic of entrenched grievances within a marginalized society (Fithen and Richards 2005). The war was a means through which citizens deprived from benefits and oppressed by patriarchal, hierarchical systems in which tradi tional leaders such as chiefs coerced youths to give their labor and levied hi gh and unjust fines, could expr ess their voice (Richards 1998). In this context, the perpetuation of war was benefici al as it allowed previous ly marginalized groups access to heretofore denied resources (Le Billon 2000). Foreign intervention also contributed to the war. Most directly, Char les Taylor, currently under prosecution in the Hague for war crimes a nd crimes against humanity, has been accused of providing arms and funding to the rebels; ostensibly in retaliation for Sierra Leones harboring of
120 ECOMOG troops that fought Taylors men during his attempted takeover of Liberia (Boas 2001; BBC News 2006). Additionall y, some of RUFs leadership including former army photographer Foday Sankoh had received training in Libya n military camps (Zack-Williams 1999). To summarize, reasons for civil war in Sierra Leone ranged from a patrimonial regime that had unfairly distributed resources to a privileged few, leaving ma ny without, to the machinations of a leader bent on revenge. The legacy of ne opatrimonialism resulted in many segments of the population with grievances and th ey were only too ready to pick up arms when the opportunity arose. The conflict was also exacerbated by the interference of Charles Taylor, president of neighboring Liberia who provided ma terial and training support to the RUF in return for access to Sierra Leones mineral wealth. The brutality of the war, its duration, and the use of child soldiers has been attributed to the prevalence of drugs that encouraged people to do things they otherwise might not have done. Impacts of War The consequences of war were wide-rangi ng. At least 70,000 people out of a population of 5.2 m illion perished (Fofana September 16, 2005). No definite figures exist for the numbers of amputees (those with body parts, including limbs, ears, tongues and so forth cut off by rebels) but estimates range from several thousand (Handicap International 2008) to 20,000 (Human Rights Watch (HWR) 2005). The true numbers of abused and abducted women, whilst high, is also unknown. The war led to extensive infrastructural damage, and economic ruin: over 3,000 villages were burnt down, 1700 educational facilit ies destroyed, 400 health posts vandalized and 3,000 water wells polluted and damaged (D eutsche Gesellschaft Fr Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) 2002). Displacement was al so high, with more than 1 million people internally displaced, at least 55 percent of who were women (P hysicians for Human Rights with the support of United Nations Assistance Mission in Sierra Leone 2002). The destruction and
121 loss of many production tools, vandalization of lo cal industries and reduced access to arable land further hindered economic producti on. Political instability also characterized the war years; during the civil war, there we re no less than three coups a nd counter-coups, as well as a succession of military and civilian rulers. International interventions took place within these contexts. Of central importance was the issue of grievances, and the identif ication of mechanisms to enable local people, especially those living in rural areas to have more influence on the political system and be able to articulate their needs and hold government accountable. Psychological healing and punishment of perpetrators were also high on the list of goals. In the imme diate aftermath of war, the government identified the following as priority areas of intervention in 2002-2003: 1. Restoration of state authority 2. Rebuilding communities 3. Peace Building and Human Rights 4. Restoration of the Economy45 In the Aftermath of War: Emphases for Reconstruction Restoration of the State As the above shows, the restoration of effective governm ent authority in both the chiefdoms and the capital was the number one prio rity for government in the post-war context. Given that state corruption, patrimonialism and lack of accountability were all cited as principal causes behind the war, institutional reform is one the primary areas of emphasis in the aftermath of war; especially reform geared toward increasi ng the ability of marginalized citizens to have a voice in the political arena, boos ting state accountability and res ponsiveness to citizen needs. This took place on several levels. At the district level it meant the restoration of District Administrations and Councils, abolished since 1972 by Stevens. This formed the central 45 Government of Sierra Leone, National Recovery Strategy (Freetown: Government of Sierra Leone, 2002), 3.
122 decentralization initiative, aimed at citizens as well as councilors. With assistance from three principal donors, the World Bank, UNDP and DFID, the government revived the 12 district and five urban councils in existence during the colonial era, and char ged them primarily with raising taxes and spearheading reconstruction and development in their respective communities. This includes provision and running of social services such as heal th and education (Jackson 2005). However, the power struggles between the chiefdom administration and the district councils have yet to be resolved. In addition, little has changed from the district councils implemented under colonial rule in 1950. At th at time, the councils were responsible for development, while the chiefdoms remained the lo cus for decisions affec ting local life such as customary land allocation, taxes and law and orde r (Fanthorpe 2006). The lines between the two tasks are blurred, and in some cases can lead to tensions. For example, although local councils can set the tax rate, the chiefdom administration is charged with collecting the taxes. They are now also mandated to share this revenue with the Local councils whereas in the past, it was the sole preserve of the Chiefdom administration. Th e possibilities for tension in such a set up are large. A recurring concern articulated in intervie ws conducted by this author in discussions with chiefs, was with whom does the true power lie?46 Although the government has skirted this issue, maintaining that both are equally importa nt, community residents are not fooled. This is evident in a remark made by a focus group re spondent in Ngeblama, who said of the power relationship, you cant have two bosses and no l eader and, if there are two trees growing, one has to be above the other.47 46 Personal interviews conducted with paramount and section chiefs, July-August 2006. 47 FGD Discussion held with male respondents in Ngeblama, August 2, 2006.
123 Relatedly, many chiefs fear that decentralization will undermine their powers with many of their tasks taken over by the dist rict councils, rendering them obs olete. In some communities, chiefs are using their influence to affect th e selection of councilo rs, which potentially undermines the process of accountable and represen tative government as it replicates the elitism of the pre-war era. In other chiefdoms, open conf licts between the chiefs and the councilors can result in a stalemate for that community, as development is difficult without their mutual cooperation. Moreover, local govern ment reform initiatives have ignored the institutions of Chiefdom Administration; although the actions of ch iefs were another cont ributory factor to the marginalization that precipitated the war, the institution of native administration remains largely unchanged and reports are beginning to resurface of the repetition of past abuses on youths such as arbitrary fines and forced labor (Richards, Bah and Vincent 2004). The same is true of the financial arrangements, with funding for the operation of these councils coming from development grants and local taxes collected at the chiefdom level as the 149 chiefdoms remain the main unit of political administration (Fanthorpe 2006). A revenue base that depends on income of rura l earners that are often poor can lead to disproportionate development in chiefdoms with various levels of economic wealth, as some chiefdoms will be able to raise more money than others. Restoration of state authority also extends to security sector reform; and includes initiatives aimed at improving the police sector, army, prisons and courts. Each one of these institutions have received (or still receive) trai ning and sensitization on their duties to improve performance. For example, the British have kept a 115-member Internationa l Military Assistance Training Team (IMATT (SL)) statione d in Freetown that provides training and equipment to the Sierra Leone army.
124 Community Development As part of rebuilding communities, the comprehensive DDR program demobilized and reintegrated thousands of ex-combatants into th eir communities, and provided them with skillstraining as well as financial rem uneration to assist them in their new lives. Additionally, houses, schools, health centers and other infrastructure have been bui lt or are under construction. Peace Building and Human Rights The institutions of the Truth and Reconcilia tion Comm ission and the Special Court set up in 2003 are integral components of peace-buildin g and human rights initiatives, which were created out of the Lom Agreement. The Special Courts goal was to facilitate national healing and reconciliation by providing a platform through which victims and perpetrators of violence could meet, and discuss in a mediated environm ent, experiences, share stories, explain and apologize for past actions. Through the TRC, perp etuators of violence and their victims were given the opportunity to meet, talk and give a nd receive forgiveness. The Special Court on the other hand is mandated to try those bearing the greatest responsibility for the crimes committed during the war. The two remaining trials are those of Charles Taylor and th e RUF; the trials of the CDF and the AFRC are concluded. Verdicts are pending for the RUF following the end of closing arguments in August 2008. The trial for the CDF defendants was controvers ial, as many Sierra Leoneans viewed them as heroes for their actions in protecting their communities from the RUF. Despite this, the two surviving defendants were found guilty and in 2008, received sentences of 15 and 20 years respectively. However, these sentences were much lighter than those levied on AFRC defendants, who were found guilty on a number of counts and received sentences ranging from 45 to 50 years, perhaps a sign that the CDF were given leniency in light of popular perceptions.
125 In spite of the resources and publicity of the Special Court, its activities are not widely followed by local Sierra Leoneans. Although the h earings and testimonies are public, they are not well attended, and many Sierra Leoneans see the Special Court as a waste of money, having little impact on their lives. 48 Economic Development The economy is another priority area targ eted for reform Current emphases are on increasing food croup output, improving mining conditions and regulations and increasing diamond and rutile mining exports, r econstruction of communications and road infrastructure as well as use of micro-finance to stimulate de velopment among rural elites in particular. In the years since the war, Sierra Leon e has shown signs of turning around, although progress is slow. Politically, it appears that democracy is taking root in Sierra Leone, along with other West African states such as Ghana and Liberia (Timberg 2008). Presidential and parliamentary elections held in 2007 were deemed la rgely free and fair by international and local monitors alike. The APC narrowly defeated the widely favored incumbent party, the SLPP, and despite allegations of fraud, there was a peacef ul turnover of power, with the APC assuming leadership in January 2008. The second local gov ernment elections were held July 5, 2008 and were also declared free and fair despite out breaks of violence in contested areas like Kono. However, the low voter turnout was ascribed to disenchantment with the decentralization process. International assistance is playing a prom inent role in Sierra Leones recovery and the country receives aid in support of all asp ects of society and economy, from psychosocial counseling to facilitate the reinte gration of ex-combatants into so ciety, to state and civil-society building. In the following section, I further de scribe the political economy and institutional 48 This observation is based on authors personal observation of Special Court Trials and discussions with Sierra Leoneans in 2006.
126 structures in the post-war period, w ith specific reference to the role that internati onal assistance and, more specifically, NGO assistance is playing. I provide an overview of the different types of assistance Sierra Leone currently receives before focusing specifically on the assistance that is important for this study that provided by NGOs. International Assistance in Post-C onflict Sierra Leone The civil war was officially declared over in January 2002, following a succession of international military initiatives that included a coalition of West African forces (the Economic Community of West African States Monitori ng Group (ECOMOG)), under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), mercenaries such as Executive Outcomes, as well as 800 British paratroopers. Sim ilar to other post-conflict countries, Sierra Leone received substantial amounts of international assistance, ini tially for emergency relief, and more recently, for development and democracy initiatives. Currently, Sierra Leone receives more aid than neighboring West African states undergoing or emerging from conflict. 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 200420052006 Year Cote d'Ivoire Guinea Liberia Sierra Leone Togo Figure 3-3. Overseas development assistance to five African countries. (Source: DACO 2006, http://www.daco-sl.org/report.ht m. Last accessed March, 2008).
127 Sierra Leone receives aid from a variety of s ources, including bilate ral and multilateral donors, various UN agencies and NGOs. Assistance is from overseas development assistance (ODA)49 as well as non-ODA sources. In 2006, Aid assistance to Sierra Leone totaled $396.2m, up from $286m in 2005 (Development Assistan ce Coordination Office (DACO) 2006)50. Although overall levels decreased in 2003, a reflection of the countrys transition from the emergency relief dominance of the immediate post-conflict er a, it picked up again in 2006, as donors shifted emphasis to long term recovery, developmen t and democracy strengthening (DACO 2006). 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 19901991199219931994199519961997199819992000200120022003200420052006 Y ear Figure 3-4. ODA net disbursements fo r Sierra Leone 1990-2006. (Source OECD, http://www.oecd.org/document/33/0,2340,en_2649_34447_36661793_1_1_1_1,00.ht ml. Last accessed March, 2008). Due to changes in the way the Development Assistance Coordination Office (DACO)51 measures aid, 2006 is the first year in whic h figures reflecting NGO assistance from the organizations themselves is reported separately, rather than counted as part of overa ll bilateral 49 ODA is defined as Flows of official financing administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as the main objective, and which are conc essional in character with a grant element of at least 25 percent (using a fixed 10 percent rate of discount). (OECD Glossary of statistical terms, Official Development Assistance (ODA )). ODA refers primarily to assistance from bilateral and multilateral institutions. 50 Hereafter referred to as DACO 2006. 51 DACO is the body charged with collecting data on levels of international assistance in Sierra Leone.
128 and multilateral assistance. In previous year s, only ODA assistance was counted. Although total levels of this type of a ssistance channeled th rough INGOs and NGOs has decreased from 26 percent in 2005 to 15 percen t, the inclusion of non-ODA52 assistance in 2006, totaling $34.8m means that aid from NGOs remains consid erable. In 2006, NGOs and INGOs received 26 percent of non-ODA and ODA assistance to carry out activities in Sierra Leone. Although the highest proportion of aid assistan ce (36 percent) went to the cat egory of ministry, department and agency (MDA),53 and the new method makes it difficult to compare NGO activity in Sierra Leone across time, it is nevertheless clear that NGO activity in Sierra Leone is significant. INGOs and NGOs proliferated toward the end of the war (Zack-Williams 1999), growing from 30 in 1996 to 90 in 2002, according to the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning (MODEP).54 In 2005, over 300 national and interna tional NGOs were registered with MODEP.55 Aside from NGOs and INGOs, the various organizations under the United Nations also receive donor aid to implement development activities. The Government of Sierra Leone (GOSL) also receives assist ance through direct budget and balance of payment support (DACO 2006). The proportion of aid given to each modality is shown in Figure 3-5. In the next section, I review the principal ar eas in which NGOs are active in Sierra Leone, illustrating the transition from post-war recovery to the more long-term focus on development and democratization, which form the basis of this research. 52 Non-ODA assistance to NGOs and INGOs refers to assist ance these organizations receive from donations by the general public, philanthropists and their headquarters. Th is is differentiated from ODA-assistance, received from bilateral and multilateral institutions. See, Development Assistance Coordination Office (DACO). "Development Assistance to Sierra Leon e, 2006." (Place Published: Development A ssistance Coordination Office, Office of the Vice President, 2006), http://www.dac o-sl.org/reports/Dev_ass_rep06.pdf 53 Project support assistance channeled through Project Implementation Units (PIUs) located within government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). 54 Personal communication with MODEP Director, 2002 55 Follow-up interview with M ODEP Director, February 2006
129 Direct Budget Support 16% Aid given through MDA's 36% Aid given through NGO's and INGO's 26% Aid given through UN agencies 9% Undisclosed aid modalities 9% Balance of Payments Support Figure 3-5. Proportion of aid given to Sierra Leone by aid modality. (Source: DACO 2006, http://www.daco-sl.org/report.ht m. Last accessed March, 2008). NGO Sectoral Targets: From Relief to Democracy and Development Organizations active during and immediately after the war focused m ostly on emergency relief and aid, providing shelter to refugees, food and material suppl y provision in camps, as well as resettlement and reintegration as areas became safe for return (Turay 2001). Short-term relief provision was soon replaced in 2003 by programs st ressing long-term strate gies; these have a development-oriented approach advocating strengthening local capacities with a view to longterm rehabilitation and economic developm ent (UNDP and GOK 2005; DACO 2005). As Figure 3-6 shows, there is a sharp decrease in humanitarian and food aid as the country moved out of the immediate post-conflict context. On the other hand, assistance in the so cial sector increased
130 significantly, with moderate increases in infrastr ucture and governance and security (see Table 36 for detailed descriptions of the various categories of assistance). 0.00 20.00 40.00 60.00 80.00 100.00 120.00 140.00 200320042005 Yea r Social Infrastructure Governance & Security Agriculture & Natural Resources Macro-economic and private sector Humanitarian & Food Aid Figure 3-6. Total disbursements by sector 2003-2005. (Source: DACO 2005, http://www.dacosl.org/report.htm. Last accessed March, 2008). Democracy-building initiatives such as inst itution strengthening, decentralization, civil society and social capital building have mo re recently accompanied these programs (DACO 2006; Smillie 2001). Currently, donors implement act ivities according to the three pillars identified in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Pape r (PRSP), and a growing number of initiatives have addressed the concerns of Pillar 1, good governance (see Table 3-7 for a breakdown of financial disbursements by pillar). In terms of overall levels of donor assistance, (bilaterals, multilaterals and NGOs), activities under this pillar are almost equally shared with those under Pillar 3, Human Development (28 percent and 27 pe rcent respectively), with 29 percent of funds spent on activities under P illar 2, Food Security. However, this reflects the extent in which NGOs are active in Pillar 3. With the removal of NGO assistance as well as direct budget support, one finds that a higher proportion of overall assistance is directed toward good governance, peace a nd security activities. Total aid to Pillar 1 rises three percentage points, to 36 percent; Pi llar 2 receives 30 percent of aid and Pillar 3, 29 percent of assistance.
131 Pillar I 28% Pillar II 24% Pillar III 27% X-Pillar 21% Figure 3-7. 2006 Aid disbursements by pillar including NGO assistance (Source: DACO 2006, (Sesay and Hughes 2005; Turay 20 01). Last accessed March, 2008). Although NGOs are the largest gr oup of donors in the third p illar, they also have a significant presence in Pillar 1. USAID are the la rgest donor in this category behind the EC, and they work entirely through NGOs (DACO 2006). Democracy strengthening is a key component of recovery strategies with a target of rebuilding failed states, promoting economic development and stabiliz ing peace. In Sierra Leone, this is evident in the significant amount of aid allocated to this sector. Although current development discourse emphasizes the importance of democracy for economic development, the initiatives of NGOs in promoting economic development through collective action initiatives such as CDD have received attention alongside activities that emphasize civic education. This dissertation will answer the question as to wh ether these initiatives have any effect in strengthening democracy at the individual level. Additi onally, it will contribu te to understanding what the linkages are between NGO assistance a nd democracy strengthening, and the processes through which this occurs in post-conflict settings.
132 Table 3-1. Sierra Leone financia l statistics (m. of US dollars) 56 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 International Liquidity (m. of Leones) Central Bank 19.1 21.3 19.2 15.9 27.5 IMF Gold Tranche Position 1.3 1.3 0.8 Foreign Exchange 17.7 19.9 18.4 15.9 27.5 Central Bank Foreign Assets 13.61 15.18 13.73* 13.25 22.90 Reserves Money 16.57 18.03 19.34 17.70 21.35 Foreign Liabilities -* 3.81 3.79 Commercial Banks Reserves 2.78 3.19 4.69 2.97 3.21 Foreign Assets 1.67 0.23 0.24* 0.21 1.02 Foreign Liabilities 7.02 5.71 5.92* 5.17 4.31 Foreign Assets (net) 8.26 9.70 8.05* 4.48 15.82 Exports (f.o.b.) 67.97 63.22 59.22 50.46 79.72 Diamonds 39.82 36.96 31.29 29.76 46.57 Iron Ore 10.46 10.90 9.77 9.02 10.32 Palm Kernels 4.87 5.68 4.62 1.10 8.59 Imports (c.i.f.) 69.47 77.40 71.40 65.27 75.48 Prices (1963=100) Consumer Prices 112 117 122 128 129 *Foreign assets and liabilities revalued during November, 1967. (Source: International Monetary Fund, in Legum and Drysdale 1969: B606) Table 3-2. GDP at current factor cost 1963-64 201.2 m Leones 1964-65 226.2 m Leones 1965-66 240.4 m Leones 1966-67 248.0 m Leones (Source: Legum and Drysdale 1969: B-605) Table 3-3. External trade (m. Leones) 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 Summary Export and re-exports 68.63 63.22 59.06 50.53 79.87 Imports 70.82 77.41 71.70 65.27 75.48 Balance -2.30 -13.65 -12.64 -14.75 +4.39 (Source: Legum and Drysdale 1969: B-606) 56 US$=1.2 leones; all the following tables are reprinted from Colin Legum and John Drysdale, Africa Contemporary Record : Annual Survey and Documents, 1969-70 (Exeter: Africa Research, 1969), Colin Legum and John Gordon Stewart Drysdale, Africa Contemporary Record : Annua l Survey and Documents, 1968-1969 (London: Africa Research Limited, 1969).
133 Table 3-4. Principal exports (m. Leones) 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 Diamonds 39.82 36.96 31.29 29.74 46.93 Iron Ore 10.46 10.90 9.63 9.03 10.50 Palm Kernels 4.87 5.68 5.10 1.10 8.59 Coffee 2.72 1.35 3.92 0.64 3.13 Cocoa 1.14 0.90 1.44 1.46 2.32 Piassava 0.71 0.44 0.39 0.40 0.93 Bauxite 0.41 0.58 0.78 1.05 1.48 (Source: Legum and Drysdale 1969: B-606) Table 3-5. Expenditure on Gro ss National Product (Percentage) 1963/64 1964/65 1965/66 Private consumption 80.0 83.2 79.8 Public consumption 8.6 8.0 7.6 Gross investment 11.4 8.8 13.6 Total domestic demand 100.0 100.00 100.0 Import surplus 0.5 2.5 4.0 Gross National Product 99.5 97.5 96.0 (Source: Legum and Drysdale 1969: B-606) Table 3-6. Categories of assistance defined Sector Definition Social Health and Sanitation, Education, HIV/AIDS, Recovery, Youths, Gender Infrastructure Energy, Roads, Transport, Water, Communication, Housing Governance and Security: Security, Public Sector Management, Decentralization Agriculture & Natural Resources: Ag riculture, Marine, Minerals, and Environment Macro Economic and Private Sector Macro-economic, Private/Informal sector, Trade, Industry, Micro-finance, Tourism and Culture Humanitarian and Food Aid Humanitarian, Emergency Relief and Food Aid (Source: DACO 2003, http://www.daco-sl.org/reports/Dev_ass_rep03.pdf Last access ed February, 2008).
134 Table 3-7. Sierra Leone assistance by pillar, 2006 Pillar Area of Concentration USDm Pillar I: Good governance, peace and security Includes working on issues such as reforming the civil service, increasing transparency and accountability of MDAs, decentralization of government 98.6 Pillar II: Food security and job creation Focus on promoting growth, with a particular focus on increasing food security and creating employment; working towards private sector development, particularly in enhancing the productive sectors such as Agriculture, Mining and Fisheries 85.19 Pillar III: Human development Promoting Human Development through addressing low levels of education, poor health statusespecially of the poor and vulnerable, little access to water and sanitation and health care related to HIV/AIDS 99.87 X-Pillar A combination of all three sectors 76.44 Total Support 360.1 (Source: DACO 2006: 30-32)
135 CHAPTER 4 PARTICIPATION IN NGOS AND DEMO C RACY STRENGTHENING: A COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP Democracy strengthening takes place on two leve ls: first, in the realm of attitudes and beliefs, and second in the realm of behavior. Thus, for there to be any increase in democracy strengthening, people must believe in democracy in principle as well as practice and their political behavior be reflective of their experience with democr acy. The purpose of this chapter is to explore the relationships between participation in NGOs and democracy strengthening. Attitudes as well as behavior are examined, in re lation to NGO exposure, a nd different levels and types of NGO assistance. The cen tral hypothesis is that NGO partic ipation makes a difference in democracy strengthening. The following types of assistance are all cons idered under the rubric of NGO assistance: democracy, economic, social and relief assistance. Democracy assi stance refers to any and all assistance with the end goal of promoting de mocracy in its various components; economic assistance to improving the financial wellbeing of participants; social assistance, the social development of participants in arenas including e ducation and health; and relief assistance to that provided by NGOs during the war and immediate pos t-war years in areas such as food supply and shelter. Does international assistance affect peoples belief s and attitudes about democracy? Does it influence them to behave more democratica lly? In this chapter, I provide a picture of the respondents, presenting the distri bution of socio-economic indicators, religion, gender and age. The distribution of data is accompanied by test s on the hypothesis that participation in NGO activity impacts democracy strengthening. These are followed by multivariate models exploring the relationship between a variet y of possible independent vari ables on democracy strengthening, including participation in democracy projects. In the conclusion, the broader implication of this study for NGO activity in post-confli ct contexts is discussed.
136 Demographic Breakdown of Participants Participan t identification and selection initially took place at the level of chiefdom within two regions, Koinadugu and Kailahun, although the i ndependent variable, participation in NGOs is measured at the individual level (see Chapte r 2). Using an experimental design, communities were selected according to whether they were r ecipients of development, democracy and/or no assistance (Chapter 2). Of the five chiefdoms targeted, three are in Kailahun (Luawa, Yawei and Malema) and two in Koinadugu (Dembelia Sinkunia and Sulima Chiefdoms). Although community exposure to these three types of NG O assistance formed the initial baseline for community identification, pre-te sting of the questionnaire reveal ed that individual respondents participated in NGOs beyond those of immediate interest to the rese arch. High levels of displacement during the war, refugee experience and high project turnover meant that in some cases, individuals had been exposed to two, three and even four different types of projects. For this reason, NGO participation is measured at the le vel of the individual, ra ther than at the level of community. Consequently, the overall dist ribution of socio-economic variables is first covered without respect to region, before turni ng to general distributio ns of the dependent variable. It is important to first know the distribution of the variables of interest before elaborating specifically on how NGO participation affects demo cracy strengthening as such distributions are instrumental in identifying potential relationships of interest and are important in getting a feel for the data Frequency of Distribution of Demographic Variables The key demographic indicators collected were gender, ethnicity, re ligion, age, education and occupation (see Tables 4-1 to 4-6 for the di stribution of socio-econom ic characteristics of respondents). Selected communities in Kailahun were in Luawa (Ngeima), Malema (Jojoima) and Yawei (Ngeblama) Chiefdoms respectively; in Koinadugu, they were from Sulima
137 (Koindukura and Gberia Fatombu), and Demb elia Sinkunia (Yaedia) Chiefdoms. Total population size of Koinadugu District is estimated at 234,330 and in Kailahun, 358,259 (Sierra Leone Census, cited in Development Assistance Coordination Office 2007). Men were slightly over-represented in the sample (52.4 percent to 47.6 percent) given that the questionnaire was conducted during the rainy season and women were harder to reach as they were often out on their farms. The majority of respondents we re from the Mende ethnic group (53.9 percent), reflective of the responses coll ected from Kailahun, which were all in Mende dominated regions. Yalunka (36.7 percent) and Fullah (5.8 percent) were the next tw o highest numbers of responses; in Koinadugu, although the main ethnic groups are Limba, Kuranko and Yalunka, in the communities surveyed, the majority of respondents were Yalunka, and this is reflected in the high number of respondents from this ethnic group. In terms of religion, the majo rity of respondents were Muslim (89.7 percent) as the two Districts surveyed are predominantly Muslim Levels of literacy ar e low overall in the two regions; however, they are high er in Kailahun than in Koinadugu, also reflected in the survey sample. The average literacy rate in Koin adugu is 21 percent (Development Assistance Coordination Office 2007); in the survey only 7.7 percent had some sort of formal education, compared to 40.6 percent in Kailahun District, where according to the 2004 census, actual literacy figures are 32 per cent (Development Assistan ce Coordination Office 2007).57 Levels of education were thus lower in the sample than actual reported figures, re flective perhaps of the remoteness of some of the communities represented in the sample. Commun ities in both districts rely heavily on farming for their livelihood; in Kailahun, coffee, cacao and rice are primary, whereas in Koinadugu, cattle rearing and palm oil production are central. In addition, mining 57 The higher numbers in the sample data could be reflective of the fact that men are over sampled; literacy rates for males is 43 percent.
138 Figure 4-1. Demographic breakdown of Kailahun district. Source: Geographic Data Planning Map, last accessed from http://www.daco-sl.org/encyclopedia/8_lib/8_2b5_p.htm August 11, 2008.
139 Figure 4-2. Demographic breakdown of Koinadugu district. Source: Geog raphic Data Planning Map, last accessed from http://www.daco-sl.org/encyclopedia/8_lib/8_2b5_p.htm August 11, 2008. takes p lace in both regions. In the sample, 82 pe rcent of respondents listed farming as their primary occupation. Standards of living in both chiefdoms are low; life expectancy in Kailahun is 48.6 percent, and nearly half of the populat ion (46.1 percent) lack regular access to safe drinking water. In Koinadugu, life expectancy rates for both sexes average 49.3 percent, and nearly 69.1 percent lack access to safe drinking water, reflective of the grea ter marginalization of the region, compared to Kailahun District. There are also fewe r schools and peripheral health units (PHUs) in the former as compared to th e latter. The maps that follow illustrate the distribution of popula tion by chiefdom.
140 Impact of NGO participation on Democracy Strengthening: an Overview of the Distribution of the Dependent Variable In this sec tion, the frequenc y distribution of variables associated with democracy strengthening are prov ided and explained, looking at th e key subcomponents making up this concept. In the subsequent section, I examine th e impact that participation in NGOs has on the various components of the democracy-strengthening va riable, at the level of attitudes, beliefs and behavior. The premise is that democracy stre ngthening takes place on two levels: first in the arena of attitudes and beliefs about democracy, an d second, at the level of observed behavior. The two components at the level of attitudes and beliefs are belie f in democratic legitimacy and cognitive awareness. At the level of behavior, the following two components are examined: political engagement and civic engagement. In sum, de mocracy strengthening entails an abstract preference for democracy, evaluations within the specific country-context that depend on experiences with democracy, and the belief their participation can make a difference. This in turn should affect behavior and we should see levels of political engagement that correspond with knowledge about democracy. In addition, we should also see greater levels of associationalism and participation in CDD. The central supposition tested is that the two components of attitudes and behavior are influenced by partic ipation in NGO programs and projects. Sierra Leonean Understandings of Democracy Prior to exploring the distri bution of responses on attitudes and beliefs, and specifically, the distribution of responses around dem ocracy, it is important to know how Sierra Leoneans understand democracy as this will allow us to have a consistent understanding of democracy as well as ascertain the extent to which there is a disjuncture between NGO democracy promotion attempts and how Sierra Leoneans perceive de mocracy. Do Sierra Leonean conceptions of
141 democracy resemble Western conceptualizations or are they culturally specific, with a focus on economic and social improvements as some theori sts posit? To answer this question, respondents were asked, What does democracy mean to you? This encouraged resp ondents to talk about democracy in their own words. Although the ques tion was translated into local vernacular, the English word democracy was retained to assess respondent familiari ty with the term. The findings to this question were very sim ilar with those of Bratton, Mattes and GyimahBoadi (2005) in their analysis of African conceptualizations of democracy in twelve African countries.58 First, respondents aware of the concep t overwhelmingly gave responses that revealed positive associations with the word democracy (97.1 percent) Only 1.3 percent had a negative conception of democracy, where democr acy was equated, among other things, with bad governance and social and political conflict. A few respondents also gave neutral definitions of democracy (1.7 percent), seeing it as civilian government, or simply a change of government. The positive evaluations found among Sierra Le onean respondents is actually higher than in the Bratton, Mattes and Gyim ah-Boadi study, where the laudato ry responses of the concept ranged from 73 percent to 93 percent of respondents. The number of negative responses is almost the same, however; only 1 percent of respondents in their study gave a negative definition. The overwhelming number of positive re sponses is also consistent with judgments on democracy in other post-transition contexts, even outside of Africa (Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi 2005). A second finding that resonates with their study is that respondents define democracy in procedural as well as substantive terms, contrary to predominant perceptions that Africans are more concerned with substantive questions of so cial and economic development. Of those that could give a definition for democracy, 71.8 percent gave responses that correlated with 58 See Table 4-7 and 5-8 for a comprehensive list of responses, and their distributions.
142 procedural understandings of democracy; that is, those clas sified as civil liberties, popular participation and political rights A minority (28.2 percent) defined democracy in terms of what it could deliver substantively, including peace and unity, equality and justice and socio-economic development. In their study, Br atton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi (2005) find that 54 percent of interviewed Africans defined democracy in proce dural terms. Thus, it would appear on initial observation, that respondents subscribe to a vi ew of democracy dominated by individual rights, at odds with the communal concerns most co mmonly ascribed to African respondents (Cobbah 1987; Owusu 1992). Relatedly, Sierra Leonean respondents offered largely liberal definitions of democracy. The most commonly cited definition was civil lib erties (27.8 percent), with emphasis on general freedoms and freedom of speech followed by othe r individual liberties, and to a lesser extent, political rights. Popular part icipation was the next response (12.7 percent), with government by, for and of the people most frequently cited. Peace and unity came next, (11.6 percent); more than likely reflective of weariness of eleven years of civil war. Along the same lines, Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi (2005) find that civil liberties and personal fr eedoms are the most frequently cited (41 percent overall), again followed by de finitions of democracy as government by the people and government by, for and of the people. The prevalence of popular responses, found in th e Afrobarometer as well as this study, are unsurprising, reflecting not only perhaps learne d responses from school and sources such as NGOs, but also the desire for political par ticipation beyond elections that scholars have described as being culturally rooted (Bratton, Mattes and Gy imah-Boadi 2005). Although to a certain extent, chieftaincy structures in Sierra Leone are inherently auth oritarian, stemming from pre-colonial times, chiefs were supposed to be accountable to their subjects or risk being
143 removed. They were also supposed to implement de velopment projects that were in the interests of these people. The central role still ascribed to chiefs in their communities presently is evidenced by the fact that they are often the first point of contact fo r any and all plans and projects that community residents (as well as outside organizations) wish to undertake. In the same way, many citizens in FGDs and open-ended responses emphasized the importance of government that was responsible to their needs and interests. In addition to responses that democracy meant government by the people, and for the people, respondents also stressed that democracy meant that the government involved citizens in political affairs, or as one respondent put it, Everyone is allowed to give his or her opinion about how government should be run. Still more detailed responses were given in response to the question about what they considered good government.59 In addition to the provision of substantive socio-economic goods, the characteristics of a good government included a government that should have concern for their people and their children; meet s his people, works with them, listens to their views, allows them in development participa tion; listens to ever yones opinion; and so on. Respondents further elaborated on these views wh en discussing reasons for voting. For example, among the most prevalent of reasons cited for d eciding to vote against a particular councilor was the absence of that councilor from the commun ity, and his/her failure to implement programs and plans that addressed ci tizens expressed needs. Closely following popular participation, incorpor ating not just a government that listened to people but also involved them in debate and discussion, was peace and unity (8.5 percent). This finding is again similar to Bratton, Matt es and Gyimah-Boadi (2005), who found that peace 59 See Table 4-9 for the full range of responses to the ques tion, In your opinion, what are the characteristics of a good government?
144 and unity were mentioned concerns, especially in Ug anda, where it is attri buted to that countrys long involvement in civil war. Nearly one-third of respondents were unable to give a definition for democracy however, (32.6 percent) showing that there still rema ins quite a bit of uncertainty about what democracy means. Respondents exposed to NGOs we re more likely to give definitions that focused on individual rights and liberties su ch as civil liberties and politic al rights. Although it would appear that Sierra Leoneans hold very similar conceptualizations of democracy as Western liberal democratic models, it is interesti ng to note that the majority of responses to the question, what in your opinion is good government? referenced definitions that emphasized substantive accomplishments such as social and economic development. For many Sierra Leoneans (69.4 percent), a goo d government is one that provides roads, schools, hospitals, shelter and so forth, rather than political liberties and freedoms (accounting for only 4.9 percent of responses). Respondents el aborated that a good government was one that cared for its people, where the emphasis is on socio-economic wellbeing. Peace and stability was the next frequent response, although much lowe r than responses on socio-economic development (8.5 percent). Popular participation came a clos e third with 7.3 percent of responses. Although some respondents referenced good governance and civil liberties, these we re the minority (5.6 percent and 4.9 respectively). Thus substantive rather than pro cedural concerns dominate local understandings of good government, a very different scenario from definitions of democracy. Although many Sierra Leoneans state that democracy is the best system of government, many of the given definitions are at odds with the char acteristics respondents later ascribe to a well performing government.
145 How can this disjuncture be explained? One possi bility is that Sierra Leoneans, especially those exposed to NGOs and having some level of education, are familiar with the terminology of democracy; especially liberal de mocracy as this correlates clos ely with what is heard on the radio, taught in schools and propounded by NGOs. Howe ver, this understanding of democracy is not only shallow, but in terms of what people hold to be important, it appears to be least on their list of priorities. Thus, the encour agement of one particular view of democracy that for the most part, embraces liberal discourses of individuality, rights and freedom s can in fact be undermining government in Sierra Leone as it does little to he lp the state figure prominently in peoples lives and to perform the tasks that would render it legitimate in the eyes of the populace. Distribution of Responses on Attitudes/Belie fs At the normative level, respondents were asked about their belief in the legitimacy of democracy. Belief in democratic legitimacy Under legitim acy the following three indicato rs were measured: preference for democracy, evaluation of democracy and satisfaction with democracy.60 Overall, respondents reacted favorably to the concept of democracy in prin ciple and in practice; nearly 95 percent of respondents indicated a preferen ce for democracy compared to any other form of government (see Table 4-10). 60 These questions are the same as those used on the Afrobarometer. The high rate of respondents favorable to the concept of democracy is comparable to Afrobarometer findings across other countries in Africa; Across 12 countries in which the surveys have been implemented, 70% indicat e a preference for democracy (Bratton, Mattes, GyimahBoadi 2004). Sierra Leone is among other countries like Botswana, Tanzania and Nigeri a, where greater than 80% of the populace indicate a preference for democracy.
146 This response is closely related to rejection of alternative regimes,61 wherein respondents were asked about their support or rejection of various ways in which their country could be governed.62 Respondents overwhelmingly rejected the va rious forms of authoritarian government including one-man rule (94 percent), one-party rule (90.5 percent), and military rule (83.7 percent). This is similar to a majority of the interviewed countries in the Afrobarometer where many respondents were overwhelmingly against m ilitary and presidential dictatorships, although in a few countries, notably Namibia, South Af rica and Lesotho, the average mean score of respondents rejecting authorit arian rule in general were lower (60, 66, and 63 percent respectively compared to scores in the 70s a nd 80s for other surveyed countries). On the contrary, quite a substantial amount of respondents are willing to have a political system that gives them more voice in the decision-making and political running of their country, a finding that is echoed in open-ended responses in wh ich citizens felt that a good government was one that consulted its people and included them in the decision-making process. The popularity of direct rule suggests that while respondents do not want a return to traditional rule, they are nevertheless in favor of more voice in the runnin g of the country, desiring greater government consultation with citizens, involvement in pol itical decision-making a nd increased government accountability. In conclusion, the re sults reinforce that respondent s are in favor of democracy and overwhelmingly reject authoritarian regimes. Respondents were more critical in terms of the substantive performance of democracy in Sierra Leone (See Table 4-12). Over half of the respondents (56.8 percent) expressed positive levels of satisfaction with democracy as practiced in Sierra Leone. Given that satisfaction with 61 See Table 4-11 for a distribution of responses to this question on preferences for different regime types, including one-man rule, one-party rule, military rule and popular rule. 62 Responses of oppose and strongly oppos e are collapsed for ease of representation
147 democracy is a measurement that uses as a frame of reference, concrete regime performance rather than an abstract ideal, it is no surprise that percentages are lower than those expressed in support of democracy. Respondent responses on satis faction with democracy closely mirror that of other African countries surveyed by the Afrobarometer where on average, 59 percent of respondents expressed satisfaction with democracy. This is similar to Eurobarometer scores of 56 percent in 1996, but higher than Eastern Europe in the same period where only 34 percent were satisfied and Latin America where 30 percent said they were satisfied in 2000. Such positive responses could perhaps be a reflection of a country still riding on the waves of peacetime euphoria; after so many y ears of war, the existence of a regime in which peace is safeguarded is regarded as a positive change. Respondents were also less likely to rate Sierra Leone a full democracy.63 Nevertheless, compared to responses on the Afrobarometer, Sierra Leoneans rate Si erra Leone a democracy higher than the regional average of 30 percent and comparable to the re gional high of Botswana at 46 percent. Only a small minor ity of respondents (7.9 percent) i ndicated that Sierra Leone was not a democracy. This suggests that despite pr oblems, Sierra Leonean respondents do believe that Sierra Leone is a democracy, although levels of satisfaction with this democracy vary. Why the variation in responses will be explored in greater detail in upcoming sections. Cognitive Awareness The second dim ension of the variable, democracy strengthening, at th e level of attitudes and beliefs, is cognitive awareness, measured by political awar eness and external efficacy. Political knowledge has been lin ked to the ability of citizens to hold officials accountable, evaluate leader performance and support for politi cal reform (see Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah63 See Table 4-13 for the distribution of responses to the question, in your opinion, how much of a democracy is Sierra Leone today?
148 Boadi 2005: 213). Political knowledge is also linked to political participa tion, with more citizens reporting higher levels of participation (Milner 2002). In terms of political awarene ss, respondents were asked about their knowledge of political leaders (where the expectation is that higher levels of knowledge would be linked to higher levels of contact); their knowle dge of the political concepts de mocracy and decentralization, and external efficacy as measured by their self -perceived impact on political affairs. To measure political knowledge, respondents we re asked whether they knew the names of their Paramount Chief, Ward Councilors, Presiden t, Vice President and Member of Parliament (Table 4-14). Findings indicated high knowledge of traditional leaders (Paramount Chief/Section Chief), but showed more varia tion on knowledge of other leaders. For national leaders, a majority of respondents were able to name the pr esident (70.3 percent), perhaps reflective of the high interest generated in the elections in the aftermath of war. Although lower in number, a majority of respondents (52.3 percent) were also able to name the Vice President, similar to other countries surveyed by the Afrobarometer, where despite some regional variation, a majority of respondents could identify this pe rson. However, only 17.1 percent could name their MPs, below the average of one in three respondents survey ed in the Afrobarometer (Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi 2005). More respondents could name their regiona l representative, with over half of the respondents able to identify their councilor. This is more than the average of four in ten reported in the Afrobarometer, and closer to high performing countries like Botswana, Ghana, Mali and Zimbabwe, where over half of the respondents c ould name their local representative. Sierra Leoneans are also better inform ed than US respondents, where only one in three respondents could name their House representa tive (Morin 1996, cite d in Milner 2002: 44). Thus, despite the
149 newness of the local council system, and strugg les for power between ne wly elected councilors and traditional leaders th at have led to low levels of knowledge of councilors in South Africa (in 2000, less than 1 percent could name their councilor),64 in Sierra Leone, levels of awareness are quite high. This could be reflective of the c oncerted attempts made by both government and NGOs to sensitize local populations to the role of councilors; many respondents were able to articulate concerns about the la ck of performance of local council representatives in open-ended questions on their perceptions of various governing institutions The relatively high knowledge of councilors also implies that decentralized systems of governance, in which leadership is situated at the local level and theoretically easier for people to access, and ensure control and accountability, is ostensibly a good thing; in a ddition, knowledge is positively correlated to contact. However, on the whole, citizens had unf avorable perspectives of councilors, perceiving them as difficult to access; potentially mini mizing many benefits of this knowledge. There is some regional variation however in knowledge of leaders; communities in Kailahun, where there are overall higher levels of education and NGO involvement, reported significantly higher levels of knowledge of the following l eaders: president 91.5 percent (compared to 63.5%) and vice president ( 66.5 percent compared to 37 percent).65 When it came to political concepts, over half of the respondents had heard of democracy and were able to give a defin ition (See Table 4-15). Much lower numbers reported hearing about decentralization, the other political concept (21.0 percent) and only slightly more had heard of the Local Government Act, the legislative act that ushered in the decentralization process. Decentralization is a major com ponent of the move to increase democracy in Sierra Leone and 64 Cited in Michael Bratton, Robert B. Mattes, and Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Public Opinion, Democracy, and Market Reform in Africa Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics (Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005). 65 X2 values significant at .000 level
150 many NGOs have undertaken sensitization around its precepts and the role of citizens in such a context. Nevertheless, given the premise that demo cracy is important in c onsolidating peace in a post-conflict context, and that one of the priorities of NGOs as well as government is in the promotion of democracy, there is still a substan tial amount of people that are unfamiliar with this concept as well as related concepts. The po ssible implications of this for democracy strengthening are elaborat ed in the conclusion. External Efficacy The second indicato r of the variable, democracy strengthening, at the level of attitudes and beliefs is external efficacy: the belief that one can participate and such pa rticipation can make a difference. To this end, respondents were asked about their perceptions of the independence of their vote, as well as the ability of their vote to change/influence unfair laws at the chiefdom (local) level and the national level.66 Respondents expressed low levels of efficacy in terms of their ability to alter laws perceived as unfair. The law at the chiefdom level referred to was that of taxation, which was recently increased to LE 5,000 ($3.00) per household. During focus groups, participants expressed dissatisfaction with this new law, f eeling the tax was too high. This indicator was chosen as the issue of tax paymen t is historically a source of conf lict in Sierra Leone. It was the central contributing factor to one of the most serious challenges during colonial rule the 1898 Hut Tax War, and more recently, has been a sour ce of some contention given that where chiefs formerly controlled the sett ing of tax rates, collection and usage of revenue, under decentralization, the local governme nt can set the tax rate and share collected revenue with chiefs. 66 See Tables 5-16 and 5-17 for the distribution of responses on these variables.
151 The ability to change an unjust law at the chie fdom level (in this case, the contribution of three bushels of rice per family to the chief) was the second issue debated. Richards (1998) among others has suggested that excessive demands by chiefs and lack of accountability was one of the factors contributing to war, and one of the areas in which chiefs have been perceived as taking advantage is in this aspect. Respondents indicated very low levels of efficacy for both these questions, with 75 percent and 70 percent respectively saying they had no chance to change either one of those laws; a slightly higher pe rcentage expressed more chance at changing an unfair law imposed at the chiefdom level. Slightly over half of the re spondents believed in the integr ity of their vote however, and that they had the power to refuse if a big ma n tried to tell them which way to vote. Some respondents who indicated no elaborated in the open-ended follow up asking why or not, saying that even if they could not say no to the person, the sanctity of the voting booth ensured their privacy and the po werful person would not be able to see which way they voted. Distribution of Responses on Political Behavior In addition to norm s and beliefs, democracy strengthening is also hypothesized to take place at the level of individual behavior, or more specifically, participatio n in the political and civic arenas. This participati on can take several forms. Political Engagement Under the political engagem ent dimension, (def ined as the level of political activism of individuals within their communities), I add atte ndance at political meetings and contact of traditional and elected political le aders to the standard measure, voting, which is frequently used as an indicator of participation in studies of electoral democracy. However, voting as a sole measure of participation is limite d, and does not do justice to the large number of other existing avenues through which individuals can articulate their interests, express their preferences and
152 advocate for change (Richards 1998; Verba, Schlozman and Brady 1995). Consequently, under political engagement, I measure attendance at po litical meetings and contact of aforementioned leaders in addition to voting. Attendance at local meetings Respondents were asked about attendance to polit ical m eetings held at the chiefdom and district level, which are inst rumental in the formulation and implementation of development plans for the community. With decentralizati on, communities are charged with the task of identifying development needs within their comm unity and provided with a variety of avenues through which these demands can be made. Three opportunities for input and discussion exist. At the most basic level, community members can attend Village Development Committee (VDC) meetings, spearheaded by a VDC committee. These are present in all vill ages, and are the most accessible. Although VDCs existed before the civ il war, many were resuscitated in the postconflict period by NGOs who needed a facilitating body to implemen t development plans within the community. Ward committees are increasingly replacing VDCs as the primary instrument through which community members can become involved in the development of their community as VDCs and Chiefdom Development Committees (CDC s) are becoming associated with corruption and elite interests (Fanthorpe 2006). Wards are th e smallest arm of local government in Sierra Leone consisting of aggregates of several neighb oring villages. NGOs work more in partnership with them now than with CDCs and VDCs. Each ward committee is made up of councilors elected from that ward, the Paramount Chief, if applicable, and no more than ten people (five men and five women) el ected by ward residents.67 According to the Local Government Act, 67 See Government of Sierra Leone, The Local Government Act, 2004 (Freetown: Government of Sierra Leone, 2004).
153 WCs are the approved focal point for developmen t in the ward, responsible for the organization and mobilization of citizens for voluntary CDD activities and educati ng citizens about their rights and responsibilities in th e wake of decentralization. With monthly meetings open to all residents, wards are also the focal point fo r residents to discuss community development priorities, and air their concerns, which the ward can then act on or make recommendations to the Local council (charged with implementing development activities for the district) for further action. Last, the Local Council is the focal point of local government and the principal organ for development at the local level. M eetings are to be held at least once monthly, at the district or town headquarters, and are open to all residents. All ward committee members are supposed to have input into these meetings, bringing petitions and requests from their various constituencies for consideration by the Local Council. Local councils are th e main link between central government and people in their locale, responsib le for ensuring that development plans and projects are undertaken in the inte rests of those they represent. They can take decisions on which development plans to implement and make financia l allocations based on monies collected from local taxes as well as allocated by the government and donors. The council c onsists of at least twelve members, consisting of the Chairman (e lected, one of the counc ilors), other elected councilors from the locale, and select Paramount Chiefs. However, local council meetings are often a distance away from the average commun ity resident and are less easy to attend. Although the times and location of ward committ ee and district council meetings are to be publicized throughout the community and are free and open to the public, overall knowledge of ward committee meetings and district council m eetings are low; village/chiefdom development committee meetings are better attended, as would be expected given the lower costs associated with attendance and its familiarity with citi zens. Only 14.4 percent of respondents reported
154 attending district counci l meetings, compared to 21.9 percent th at said they had attended a ward committee meeting in the past year. On the other hand, 46 percent of respondents reported attending at least on village development meeti ng during the same time frame (see Table 4-18). Contact with political leaders Another component of political engagem ent is the extent to which citizens have contacted political leaders within the past year. Linked to this is knowledge of polit ical leaders; one would expect that knowledge of ones leaders would be positively correlated to higher levels of contact. This was indeed the case: the lower levels of knowledge of formal leaders coincided with low rates of contact; on the other hand, respondents we re more likely to have contacted traditional leaders, with whom they were more familiar. Reasons for this varied. In the open-ended questions on the questionnaire, many respondents co mplained that councilors did not reside in their wards (although they are mandated to do so) and were difficult to contact. Many of them resided instead in Freetown. This was also true of members of parliament who also resided in Freetown with respondents finding them far remove d from the concerns of those they were elected to represent68. In focus group discussions, male respondents we re also more likely to indicate willingness to contact local chiefs and female respondents, Mammy Queens69 about development problems or issues. In contrast, to elec ted formal leaders, traditional leaders such as Mammy Queens and Chiefs are resident in the community as ar e community groups and NGOs Participants also expressed dissatisfaction in both FGDs and openended questions with the slowness of response 68 See Table 4-19 for the actual breakdown of the distribution of responses to the question,, In the past year, have you ever got together with other people/by yourself contact ed the following people [insert person] to either talk about a problem or suggest they do something that will benefit the community? 69 Mammy Queens are traditional women leaders appointed by a group of women elders to manage womens affairs in the community.
155 of government to articulated demands, preferring instead to take matters into their own hands through locally organized community driven development groups, appeals to NGOs, or traditional elders such as the chiefs. This could potentially have a negative impact on democracy strengthening as citizens have little incentive to engage with the formal channels of development or with the state. Voting The third indicator of political engagem ent is voting. Respondents were asked about voting behavior at nationa l and local levels ( see Table 4-20). Questions asked were on whether they voted in two national elections ( 1996, 2002) as well as the first lo cal council elections held in many years (2003). The year 1996 marked the first elections since the adop tion of the multi-party system in 1991. In general, voter turnout in Sierra Leone is high, far exceeding turnout in US presidential elections. National election tur nout was higher in 2002 than in the 1996 elections, which took place during the war. Those elections faced significant problems given the then existing political insecurity and heightened violen ce of rebels as well as a milita ry government against elections before peace (Kandeh 2004). Although responses on voting are often over-ex aggerated given its characteristic as a political activity that is laudabl e and seen as something that good citizens should do, in this case responses are actually less than those reported by respondents, although st ill quite high overall. Despite some discrepancies between reported offi cial figures and national averages, it is clear that the voter apathy that is part of the US politi cal system is yet to reach Sierra Leone. People see voting as not only a fundamental right, but also a duty/obligation. They also associate it with the arena through which political change can ta ke place, citing dissatisfaction with current president/councilor as a reason for voting. Officially reporte d voter statistics for the 2002
156 elections at 81.4 percent is much higher than the Afrobarometer m ean of 57.9 percent, as are the self-reported figures: 78.4 per cent compared to the Afrobaro meter mean of 71 percent. Interestingly, in over 50 percent of cases where respondents expressed dissatisfaction for current standards of living, they were still willing to vote for the same party, citing the incompetence of the advisors around the presid ent for economic proble ms, rather than the president himself. There is a larger discrepancy between self-reported and official figures for the 1996 elections: self-reported tur nout figures for the 1996 elections are 20 percentage points lower than official figures; this was reflected in open-ended questions that queried reasons behind not voting; the majority of people that did not vote in the 1996 el ections could not do so because of voter intimidation or they were refugees in another country. Some respondents were also too young to vote. Civic Engagement This dim ension of political behavior looks at respondents involvement in development activities in their communities. The indicators used are involve ment in community groups and respondent participation in communi ty-driven development activities. Membership in community organizations Respondents overall were reasonably active in groups, with an average of over two groups per person (see Table 4-21). The most common t ype of group membership were development groups, that is, groups related to community driven development and mutual assistance such as labor gangs (organized groups that work on each others farms), road brushing (keeping the roads cleaned and passable), credit or savings groups, and youth groups.70 The next group with high membership was cultural groups; much of this reflected membership in secret societies. 70 See Table 4-22 for a breakdown of the types of groups to which participants belong.
157 Also classified in this category were religious groups and cultural associations. Membership in professional associations, such as teacher associ ations, trade unions, labor and educations groups like school management committees was 18 perc ent, while recreati onal group membership (sports groups) and political groups reported the lowest levels of membership. Participation in community-driven development Most of the respondents repor ted participating in CDD ac tivities (see Table 4-23). The most frequent type of activities reported were road brushing and town cleaning. Other communal activities in which respondents were involved include the construction of communal facilities such as m osque/church, town hall, bridges, he alth facilities and schools (the latter two in conjunction with NGOs); working on a communal farm with proceeds sh ared; organizing into labor groups and selling labor to raise proceeds to fund construction of communal buildings like mosques and churches, and contri buting to the reconstruction of shelter for selected community residents. Labor was divided in constr uction activities, with men pr oviding the sand, making the bricks and contributing labor, and women often responsible fo r provision of food items and cooking for the workers. NGO Participation and Democracy Strengt h ening: What are the Relationships? The central hypothesis of this study is that exposure to NGO projects results in strengthened democracy, measured at the level of attitudes/beliefs and beha vior of individuals. In this section, the impact of NGO participation on the two components of democracy strengthening is explored to see whether this is indeed the case. Attitudes and Beliefs: Belief in Democratic Legitimacy The m ajority of respondents held largely favor able perceptions of democracy in principle (94.9 percent), with smaller per centages expressing favorable opini ons of democracy in practice
158 (42.6 percent believed Sierra Le one was a full democracy, and 56.7 percent expressed some level of positive evaluation of democracy). However, to what extent does pa rticipation/not in NGO activities influence preference for democracy, ev aluation of democracy and satisfaction with democracy? Using a T-test to measure whether differences exist in the means of NGO participants and non-NGO participants, we find that there are indeed sign ificant differences in the means within all categories. On the preference for democr acy question asking respondents to rank which statement they agreed with th e most, respondents active in NGOs71 were less likely to indicate a preference for democracy than t hose participants that had not participated in NGO projects.72 On the question of how much of a democracy is Sierra Leone), respondents that had not participated in NGO projects,73 were more likely to indicate a preference for democracy than those participants active in NGO projects.74 Finally, the group that participated in NGO projects75 was also less likely to be satisfied with democracy than its peers.76 Given the low overall numbers of respondents that said a non-democratic government was preferable in certain situations (3.6 percent) or felt that to peop le like me it doesnt matter what form of government we have (2.0 percent), some cel ls had counts of less than five and so cross tabs were not feasible. Thus, although more respondents exposed to NGOs indicated that democracy is preferable to any form of government, (192 compared to 179), it is not possible to 71 (X=1.87, SD=.472). 72 (X=1.96, SD=.273), t (391) = 2.287, p= .023). 73 (X=2.21, SD=.985). 74 (X=1.85, SD=.981), t (341) = .001. 75 (X=2.36, SD=1.582). 76 (X=2.36, SD=1.582), t (353) = .013.
159 determine whether this difference is significan t. However, the large number of respondents indicating democracy as a preferable means of government allows us to infer that a majority of Sierra Leoneans do indeed support democracy, si milar to Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi (2005) findings that democracy enjoys popular support especially in countries recently undergoing multi-party elections. In Sierra Leone, despite, or perhaps as a result of the turbulence of recent years, respondents are especially committed to democracy, seeing within it the possibility of peace and stability. Citizens in the majority of African countries surveyed by the Afrobarometer consistently express high leve ls of support for democracy, in a variety of circumstances: from stable countries with a relatively long history of unbroken solid regime performance (Botswana) to Zimbabwe under Muga be. Thus it would appear that regardless of participation in NGOs, citizens in Sierra Leone like many other citizen s across Africa hold the principle of democracy dear. Endorsement of democracy in practice is less en thusiastic. In terms of concrete evaluations of democracy within Sierra Leone more dissatisfaction is expressed (see Table 4-24). There is a clear demarcation here between respondents w ho have been exposed to NGOs and those who have not participated in any NGO programs/projects. Respondents in the former category are less likely to express satisfaction with the way in which democracy operates in Sierra Leone than those in the latter category, a difference that was statistically significant, using Fishers Exact Test.77 Relatedly, using chi-square tests to uncover association (note, these tests do not assume causality), the percentage of respondents that believed Sier ra Leone was a full democracy differed depending on NGO participation,78 with respondents exposed to NGO les likely to 77 Categories were collapsed into satisfied/not with democracy, excluding those that expressed no opinion, do not know, and no response. 78 ( 2 (3, N = 346) = 1.80, p < .000)
160 believe this to be the case (see Table 4-25) Despite these differences, respondents reacted favorably overall to the c oncept of democracy in principle and in practice. Attitudes and Beliefs: Cognitive Awareness This section considers the im pact of NGO participation on political awareness (m easured specifically as knowledge of lead ers and of political concepts/def initions of democracy, Local Government Act and decentralization) and exte rnal efficacy, respondents self-assessments of their ability to change unjust laws and freedom of their vote. Knowledge of leaders Respondents were asked whether they knew th e nam es of their Paramount Chief, Ward Councilors, Members of Parliament, Vice Presid ent and President. Traditional leaders were included since informal politics is also a central aspect of politics in African countries, and such leaders are often an integral part of any polit ical system (Bratton, Ma ttes and Gyimah-Boadi 2005). Findings indicate that know ledge of traditional leaders (P aramount Chief/Section Chiefs) is high across both sets of respondents. This parallels the findings of Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi (2005), who note that Africans are more likely to contact traditional leaders for community problems than elected representatives. It also reinforces the idea that knowledge of leaders is an important pre-curs or to contact; implying that people are more likely to contact people with whom the are familiar. These finding also echo Verba, Schlozman and Brady (1995) who find in their study of US politics, that personal acquaintance with public officials increases the likelihood that citizens contact these official s, and that the relative accessibility of local officials increases the likelihood that they are known by respondents.
161 Knowledge of other leaders was much lower. Knowledge of councilors was low overall, and NGO participation made little/no difference79. There were significant differences amongst knowledge of some, although not all political leaders. In cases of community leaders located at the chiefdom or community level, such as the ch ief, many people were already familiar with this person, and NGO participation made little if no di fference in this knowledge. NGO participation also did not make a significant difference in kno wledge of ward councilors. On the other hand, NGO participation made an impact on knowledge of formally elected leaders, specifically the Vice President, MP and President. A greater num ber of people that had participated in some form of NGO activity were able to correctly name these politicians. Of respondents not active in any NGO projects, 29.7 percent could correctly na me the Vice President. On the other hand, 75.6 percent of respondents exposed to NGOs were able to correctly name the Vice President. The same is true of knowledge of the president. Although more people we re able to correctly give the presidents name, for respondents that had not participated in NGO projects, 57.3 percent were able to correctly name the president as compar ed to 96.7 percent of respondents exposed to NGO projects. Knowledge of political concepts Respondents that participated in NGO projects were significantly more likely to have heard of the political concepts democracy and d ecentralization, and offer definitions, as well as know about the Local Government Act.80 79 See Table 4-26 for the impact of NGO activity on knowledge of leaders. 80 (p = .000), see Table 4-27.
162 Attitudes and Beliefs: External Efficacy The second com ponent of cognitive awareness is external efficacy, measuring the ability of respondents to change laws they consider unjust and their belief that they can vote as they choose to free from pressures of elites in the community. Ability to change unjust law Not all of th e three components making up ex ternal efficacy (ability to say no to vote persuasion, and ability to change unjust chiefdom and national laws) yielded means that were significantly different. In terms of the thre e components making up external efficacy, t-tests reveal different levels of significance in th e means of each category. The only significant difference in means is found in the number of re spondents that believe they have the power to change an unjust chiefdom law,81 as compared to those who believe they have no power.82 Furthermore, 2 tests reveal a statistically significant relationship between NGO participation and ability to change an unjust ch iefdom law with 36.0 percent of respondents with NGO experience responding in the affirmativ e compared to 22.7 percent in the non-NGO category (see Table 4-28). Thus, it would a ppear that respondents participating in NGO activities were significantly more likely to believe they had the power to change an unjust law, but only at the chiefdom level. There was no significant difference between the two categories on changing a law at the national level, or on the ability to resist pr essure to change ones vote. The perception of greater influence at the local level reinforces the view that individuals believe they have more control/power over matters closer to them, as well as the importance of local-level politics compared to national level politics. 81 (X = .51, STD = .743) 82 (X = .33, STD = .650), p = .008.
163 Political Behavior There are a variety of ways in which individuals can participate in the political arena. In addition, civic participation is also linked to greater political partic ipation, thus both are considered under pol itical behavior. Political Behavior: Political Engagement Not only is politica l engagement/participati on a multi-dimensional concept, the informal aspects of political behavior in many African countries as well as the emphasis on communal activities necessitates the consider ation of contacts with traditi onal leaders as well as formal ones, and civic engagement. Similar to Western countries, participation encompasses more than voting. The indicators of political engagement (attendance at political meetings, contact of political leaders and levels of voting) showed different impacts depending on NGO exposure. Attendance at political meetings Political (developm ent) meetings are a prim ary mechanism through which individuals can impact development and change in their commun ities, as well as hold officials accountable. However, overall knowledge of ward committee m eetings and district council meetings were low, and knowledge of and attendance at these meetings was not significantly affected by NGO exposure. On the other hand, at the community level, attendance at village development meetings while originally high increases even more depending on exposure to NGO projects. 83 A total of 39.4% of respondents with no exposure to NGOs said they attended VDC meetings. This increases to 52.1% for respondents who have had some contact with NGOs. This suggests that while NGOs might have some impact on people s willingness to be ac tive in development 83 See Table 4-29 for the impact of NGO participation on VDC meetings.
164 programs in their communities, respondents still prefer that local problems and issues are solved at the lowest often non-formal level, rather than through the formal channels such as the ward and local councils established by th e state. When asked to elaborat e on the topics discussed at the last community meeting they attended, the majori ty of responses indicated meetings organized spontaneously by concerned individuals in the co mmunity for self-help purposes, such as road construction, brushing of each others farms (to ensure better growth of produce), and the building of a community centre or place of worship. Few people take advantage of the decentralized structures of governance provided by the government to increase their input into local development priorities, petition government and hold them accountable, similar again to the findings of Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi (2005) that respondents in half of the countries surveyed were more likely to engage in loca lly organized collective action for development purposes than go through formal state channels. Contact with political leaders The findings depicted in Tabl e 4-29, that respondents are m o re likely to be active in meetings at the lowest organizational level ar e consistent with those of Bratton, Mattes and Gyimah-Boadi (2005), who find relatedly, that Afrobarometer respondents across all surveyed countries are also more likely to contact traditio nal political leaders rather than formal elected ones to address problems in their communities (by 27 percent compared to 14 percent) and social networks are more important than formal ones. In similar fashion, findings in this study indicate that respondents were twice as likely to contact informal leaders and local community groups than formal ones. This feature is consistent among respondents with NGO exposure as well as those who have not participated in any NGO proj ects. Although more respondents in the former category reported contacting chiefs, mammy queens, and local community groups than in the latter category, the differences we re not significant. In this respect it would appear that the locus
165 of authority for Africans continue s to be rooted in local contex ts as embodied by chieftaincy or other traditional systems rather than national governments as Owusu (1992) has claimed, regardless of whether they participate in an NGO or not. This emphasizes the distance that continues to exist between individuals and the fo rmal institutions of the state; where people can, and do live their lives outside of state intervention and assistance. However, it is important not to overstate the case, as some res pondents do report contact with local elected official s, albeit at lower rates. Even the pattern of this contact is again reflective that gove rnment representatives closer in geographic space to re spondents are more likely to be contacted: thus, respondents report contacting ward councilors more frequently than they do councilors (26.1 percent versus 22.9 percent), and government in Free town much less (9.9 percent). Voting Participation/not in NGO activities had very l ittle im pact on whether people voted, at the presidential and parliamentary level as well as lo cal council. In the 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections over 70 percent said th ey voted from both cate gories. Turnout for the local council elections in 2004 was lower in bot h categories, averaging about 50 percent, but again, there is no significant difference across th e two categories. However, higher numbers in national elections than local elections could indicate that lo cal government has yet to take root in local communities. As mentioned earlier, decen tralization is a relatively new phenomenon in Sierra Leone; district councils have only recently been reinstat ed (2002) since their abolition during Stevens era. Political Behavior: Civic Engagement Participa tion in voluntary associations, and in community-driven development activities can ostensibly serve as a traini ng ground for citizens to inculcat e civic norms, and hone skills necessary to engage in the political world. To what extent are citizens exposed to NGOs more
166 likely to participate in voluntary associations and participate in activities aimed at developing their communities? Participation in community associations Respondents with NGO experience were m ore likely to belong to more groups than those not exposed to these organizations.84 Only 10 percent of respondents with some NGO contact did not belong to any group at all, compar ed to 38.6 percent of respondents with no NGO contact.85 Again, many of these groups are ones orga nized by community members to address development needs they may have, rather than or ganizations created by the state. Some of these groups are also created/sponsor ed by NGOs; thus NGOs provide an alternative source for development assistance and organi zing to meet these development needs outside of the state. Participation in CDD Respondents with NGO exposure we re significantly m ore likel y to participate in CDD activities in their communities, th an those without NGO exposure, with 85 percent of those in the former category participating compared to 69.4 percent of respondents without NGO exposure.86 While it can be argued that it is only natural th at a higher numbers of participants exposed to NGOs are also active in CDD given that NGOs do en courage citizens to orga nize collectively to address their development needs and provide avenues for them to do so, a majority of respondents, regardless of whethe r they belong to NGOs or not are nevertheless active in their communities. This shows that many commun ity members are involved in addressing development concerns in their communities, ev en without the external impetus provided by 84 See Table 4-30 for a breakdown of the impact of NGO membership on the number of groups to which respondents belong. 85 (p = .000). 86 See Table 4-31.
167 NGOs, and further reinforces the perspective that citizens for the most part, live their lives outside the reach of the state. Toward an Understanding of NGO Im pact on Democracy Strengthening From the above discussion, it is clear that there is some relationship between the participation in NGO programs and projects and the various indi vidual components of democracy strengthening as measured at the leve l of attitudes and beliefs. However, attitudes, beliefs and behavior around democracy can be influenced by a variety of factors, including education, gender, and ethnicity. In this sec tion, the various components of the democracy strengthening variable are combined to form f our indexes which are then used in multivariate analysis to assess the extent in which NGOs do in deed affect political beliefs and behavior, and what impact other possible inde pendent variables might have. Two indexes were created to incorporate th e components attitudes and beliefs (belief in democratic legitimacy and cognitive awareness), and two more for political behavior (political engagement and civic engagement). Reliability analysis (Cronbachs Alpha) was conducted on each one of the indexes. With this index established, it is possible to measure the combined effects of the following possible influencing variables on democracy strengthening: gender, ethnicity, age, education and occupation. Discussion of Predictor Variables Other studies have found corre lations between gender and political participation, with m ales more likely to participate in politics. Another potential predictor is ethnicity, or region, where different experiences might contribute to different outcomes. Given that ethnicity correlates with district and chie fdom selection, I use this as a proxy for ethnicity. Over fifty respondents are Mende, all exclus ively from Kailahun District, with a handful of Kissi. The next
168 highest frequency are Yalunka respondents ( 36.3 percent), all from Koinadugu, followed by Fullah respondents who are also resident in some parts of Koinadugu. Given that the predominant responses fall within the two ethnic groups of Mende and Yalunka, that in addition hail from two regions with differentiated so cio-economic experiences, I use the district (Koinadugu or Kailahun) as a rough proxy of ethnicity and examine whether this a predictor of political attitudes, be liefs and participation. Education is also compressed into a dummy va riable, as the major ity of respondents (70 percent) are uneducated, and the va lues of the other categories are widely dispersed. Education is another hypothesized variable, positively impacti ng attitudes and beliefs about democracy, with greater levels of education associated with higher knowledge of leader s and assessments of political efficacy. Given that the majority of re spondents are farmers, (82 percent), occupation is also collapsed into a dichotomous variable. Factors Affecting Beliefs/Attitudes about Democracy In the follo wing section, the created indexes from the various measures making up each of the four main components, are measured against each of the possible altern ative explanations for attitudes, beliefs and behavior exhibited by respondents. Supply of Democracy To com e up with the index of supply of de mocracy, the standardized scores for the variables, evaluation of democracy and satisfa ction with democracy were added together.87 Standardized scores are used to account for the differences in variance of different measurements. If values with larg er variance were added to ones with smaller variance, the value 87Although Cronbachs Alpha is low (.289), the two componen ts are significantly correlated at the .01 level.
169 with a higher variance would dominate the new va lue created. Standardization removes the bias that such a procedure would engender. A learning approach assumes that experience with democracy will impact the ways in which people view democracy. While respondents on the whole espoused a preference for democracy, in practice, the evalua tions of democracy as it operat es in Sierra Leone were less favorable. This is reflected in the model below, which is significant. While participants with former or current NGO involvement are more lik ely to be informed about their leaders and political concepts, at the same time, we find that respondents in this group are also likely to hold more pessimistic views about the way in which democracy operates in Sierra Leone. That is, respondents that have participated in NGO projects are more likely to say that the supply of democracy in Sierra Leone is low. In addition, the more organizations to which an individual belongs, the higher the likelihood of rating democratic supply as low. Gender is also a significant predictor of the likelihood of rating democracy in Sierra Leone positiv ely, with women more likely than men to rate the democratic supply in Sierra Leone more highly (see Table 4-32). Cognitive awareness Political awareness and extern al efficacy ar e the two principal subcomponents examined under the cognitive awareness variable. To create this index, separate indexes for political awareness and external efficacy were created an d then summed. For the political awareness index, the mean score of responses on knowle dge of different leaders was summed and the standardized scores obtained. Mean responses on respondent knowledge of the two political concepts of democracy and decentralization as well as the Local Government Act were also summed, standardized scores obtained and the two standardized scores added together.88 88 Cronbachs Alpha, .709.
170 The model for external efficacy combines th e self-perceived ability of individuals to change laws they consider unjus t, as well as vote, free from external pressures. Again the standardized scores of these two indicators (for external efficacy) were summed and then added to the political awareness index to form the index for cognitive awareness.89 Although this model90 also shows that NGO participati on is significantly and positively correlated with cognitive awareness, interestingly, respondents in Kailahun District are less likely to be cognitively aware than respondents in Koinadugu. For every unit increase in age, participants are more likely to be cognitively aware, and again, women are less informed than men. Farmers are also less likely overall to be cognitively aware. This could perhaps reflect those respondents that be lieve they have little ability to in fluence unjust laws or enforce their vote. Factors Affecting Political Behavior The political engagem ent index combines the st andardized scores of respondents contact with political leaders, attenda nce at political meetings and self-reported voting experiences.91 Although the model is significant overall, NGO participation is not significantly related to political engagement. However, participation in development groups does increase the likelihood that people will be politically engaged, as suggested in the literature. Furthermore, region is significant as hypothesized, with respondents fr om Kailahun more likely to be politically engaged. An increase in responde nt age is linked to an increas e in political pa rticipation and women are less likely than men to be politically engaged. 89 Cronbachs Alpha, .552; change of unjust chiefdom law an d unjust local law are signif icantly correlated (at the .01 level, but neither are correlated w ith perceived ability to vote freely. 90 See Table 4-33. 91 See Table 4-34.
171 The civic engagement index combines the st andardized score of the total number of associations to which respondent s belong with the standardized scores of participation in community driven development.92 The civic engagement model is also significant, with partic ipation in NGOs significantly correlated with participation in civic organizatio ns as well as community development activities. Men are again more likely to particip ate in such activities than women. Testing Alternative Hypotheses In addition to participation in NGOs, there are a number of other plausible variables that might influence peoples attitude s and beliefs about democracy. Each competing explanation will be examined in turn before turning to the key independent variable used in this study: participation/not in NGO activities. The Impact of Gender A well-developed theory of the litera ture on political participa tion is that gender influences how people think about politics as well as the extent in which people are active in the political arena. Women are less likely to join political organizations and run for public office (Burns, Schlozman and Verba 2001) or at an even more fundamental level, are less informed than men about politics.93 Are there gaps in the way in which women and men in Sierra Leone both understand and view democracy and in their po litical activity? Are men better informed, and women less likely to participate? This study reinforces findings by other authors that women lag behind men in terms of cognitive awareness, political behavior and ci vic engagement. Women are less likely to report 92 See Table 4-35. 93 For a good overview of this literature, see for example, Jeffery J. Mondak and Mary R. Anderson, "The Knowledge Gap: A Reexamination of Gender-B ased Differences in Political Knowledge," Journal of Politics 66, no. 2 (2004).
172 high levels of knowledge of political leaders (often a pre-curser to contact of such leaders), less likely to believe in the sa nctity of their vote as well as know political concepts. Moreover, they are not as likely to contact pol itical leaders, attend political meetings, belong to civic organizations and participate in community driv en development. Alternatively, women are more likely to rate democratic supply higher than men, perhaps reflective of the claim in this study that higher knowledge of political concepts is correlated to higher levels of critical assessment which could explain why men ra te democratic supply lower. The Impact of Region: Which is More Influent ial Kailahun or Koinadugu? Kailahun, situated in the Eastern part of the country, was most affected by the war; as the RUF main rebel base, the district suffered greatly from their destructive activities. As one of the diamond-producing regions in Sierra Leone, it yielded a steady revenue for the rebels and much of it was destroyed during the war as rebels tunneled through houses in se arch of diamonds as well as burnt homes and fields to deter fleeing residents from returning. In the post-war period, Kailahun has received extensive amounts of international assistance, compared to Koinadugu, which continues to be marginalized, as under pr evious regimes. Although refugee rates in both districts were comparative (in th e survey, around 85 per cent of respondents in Kailahun said they left their community compared to nearly 83 pe rcent of residents in Koinadugu), Kailahun was one of the first areas to benefit from post-war reconstruction in the afte rmath of war given the perception of greater need as well as ease of access. However, Kailahun overall boasts more educated residents than Koina dugu as well as better standards of living. There are a total of 310 primary schools and 25 junior secondary sc hools boasting enrollment figures of 87,124 in primary school and 5772 in secondary school. Litera cy rates stand at 32 percent (43 percent for males and 22 percent for women). The pre dominantly Muslim population divided between
173 Mende and Kissi is engaged in income genera ting activities that include small-scale mining, coffee, rice and cacao production. In contrast, the northern region of Sierra Leone is less developed than its southern counterpart, (see Chapter 3), and Koinadugu is no ex ception. The largest district in Sierra Leone, chiefdoms and villages are often situated miles ap art and road infrastructure is poor, especially during the rainy season when roads are often impassable. With 278 schools, Koinadugu trails behind Kailahun, having correspondingly low rates of enrollment: 69,424 enrolled at the primary school level, and 2,906 pupils are enrolled in the 12 junior secondary schools, nearly half less than in Kailahun. Diamond mining is also prevalent here, along with gold. Koinadugu is also known for its beef, and inhabitants engage in palm oil production as well. Koin adugu literacy rates are lower than Kailahuns: 21 percent (30 percent for ma les and 14 percent for women). In the survey, Kailahun respondents reported higher levels of education than Koinadugu respondents (85 percent compared to 58 percent). Given these substantial differences in socioeconomic standing, it was ex pected that levels of democracy strengthening would be higher in Kailahun where sta ndards of living and levels of education are higher as well as ove rall level of intervention. Statis tical results are mixed. In the case of democratic legitimacy, region plays no significant role after controlling for NGO participation and other variables. In terms of cognitive awareness, it would seem that Koinadugu residents are more cognitively aw are than Kailahun residents, cont rary to expectations. The same is true of civic engagement. In terms of the former, it might be a reflection of the problems inherent in combining variables to form an i ndex, because in both the questionnaire as well as focus group discussions, Koinadugu respondents were less likely to know th eir leaders (formally
174 elected ones) than Kailahun residents, and fewer of them could define the political concepts of democracy and decentralization or knew about th e Local Government Act. They also expressed lower levels of political efficacy. Given that Koin adugu residents have lower levels of education and talk about their remoteness from central go vernment or external interventions, this is unsurprising. The same is true for civic enga gement; Koinadugu residents were less likely to belong to civic groups and participate in community driven development. As hypothesized, respondents in Kailahun were more politically engaged than their Koinadugu counterparts. In focus group discussi ons, Koinadugu residents reported having very little interaction with political officials and l eaders overall, as well as with NGOs; NGO presence was less felt in Koinadugu especially in lig ht of the remoteness of the region. NGOs found it difficult to access many areas in Koinadugu beca use of poor road networks. This was worse during the rainy season when many roads became impassable. Residents in one community in particular remarked to data collectors that this was the first car they had seen in twenty years. Historically, as we have seen in Chapter 3, communities in the South and East were more developed than in the north. For some, this was not just reflective of political inequalities where the South was favored, but also a result of (Sout hern) chiefs that were more interested in implementing development in their communities. Some communities were more interested than others in self-development. This might be anothe r explanatory factor that helps us understand the discrepancies between the two regions observed here. Respondents in communities like Jojoima in Kailahun said that to count er the lack of national govern ment intervention in their communities, they undertook development projects themselves, citing as an example, a recent initiative of the youth to organize themselves into groups and build a community centre where
175 the youth could enjoy themselves. Koinadugu re sidents in the study expressed few such initiatives. Although some of these othe r hypothesized independent variables (education, region, gender, religion, age and occupation) show mo re impact on democracy strengthening than others, for the most part, it does not rule out the impact of participation in NGOs. Even though we are unable to distinguish among different types of interventions, clearly, participating in these activities influences attitudes, be liefs and political participation. Ho wever, rather than results that underline the notion that all good things go together, with NGO participation resulting in attitudes and beliefs supportive of democracy as well as behavior, the main finding is that while NGO participants are indeed more knowledgeable, they are less likely to be satisfied with democracy in practice and also less likely to participate politically. Reasons for this will be explored in the subsequent chapter. Table 4-1. Gender distribution Frequency Percent (%) Male 218 52.4 Female 198 47.6 Gender Total 416 100
176 Table 4-2. Ethnicity distribution Frequency Valid Percent Mende 223 53.9 Yalunka 152 36.7 Fullah 24 5.8 Kissi 8 1.9 Limba 2 .5 Mandingo 2 .5 Soso 1 .2 Kono 1 .2 Temne 1 .2 Ethnicity Total 414 100.0 Table 4-3. Religion distribution Frequency Percent (%) Muslim 373 89.7 Christian 43 10.2 Religion Total 416 100.0 Table 4-4. Education distribution Frequency Valid Percent (%) None 306 73.6 Primary 49 11.8 Junior Secondary School 35 8.4 Senior Secondary School 14 3.4 Vocational 10 2.4 Koranic 1 .2 College/University 1 .2 Total 416 100.0 Level of Education
177 Table 4-5. Age distribution Frequency Valid Percent 15 thru 19 10 2.6 20 thru 24 32 8.3 25 thru 29 44 11.4 30 thru 34 39 10.1 35 thru 39 49 12.7 Age 40 thru 44 45 11.7 45 thru 49 44 11.4 50 thru 54 27 7.0 55 thru 59 15 3.9 60 thru 64 16 4.2 65 thru 69 15 3.9 70 thru 74 18 4.7 75 thru 79 10 2.6 80 thru Highest 21 5.5 Total 385 100.0 Table 4-6. Occupation Frequency Valid Percent Farmer 336 82.4 Student 17 4.2 Trader 17 4.2 Business 9 2.2 Carpenter 6 1.5 Tailor 6 1.5 Teacher 4 1.0 Medical worker 3 .7 Arabic leader 2 .5 Mason 2 .5 Accountant 1 .2 Black smith 1 .2 Contractor 1 .2 Driver 1 .2 Gold smith 1 .2 Mechanic 1 .2 Valid Total 408 100.0
178 Table 4-7. What does democracy m ean to you? (First response) Frequency Valid Percent 1 freedom (general) 78 32.8 2 freedom of speech 13 5.5 3 other individual liberties 2 .8 4 group rights 5 2.1 5 government by, for, of the people 35 14.7 Valid 6 power sharing 2 .8 7 listening to/informing the people 3 1.3 8 political accountability 5 2.1 10 electoral choice 5 2.1 11 the right to vote 7 2.9 13 majority rule 3 1.3 14 social peace 11 4.6 15 national unity 19 8.0 17 mutual understanding and respect 11 4.6 20 social justice 4 1.7 23 developing the country 9 3.8 27 effective and efficient government 2 .8 28 rule of law 5 2.1 29 transparency/openness 1 .4 31 personal responsibility 1 .4 33 telling the truth 1 .4 34 other 9 3.8 35 civilian government 1 .4 36 change of government 3 1.3 38 social and political conflict 1 .4 42 bad governance 1 .4 43 other 1 .4 Total 238 100.0
179 Table 4-8. Classification of Democracy meanings Frequency Valid Percent 1 civil liberties 98 27.8 2 popular participation 45 12.7 3 political rights 15 4.2 4 peace and unity 41 11.6 5 equality and justice 4 1.1 6 socio-economic development 9 2.5 7 good governance 8 2.3 8 other positive attributes 11 3.1 9 neutral meanings 4 1.1 10 negative meanings 3 .8 99 don't know/never heard of democracy 115 32.6 Valid Total 353 100.0 Table 4-9. Classification of good government meanings Frequency Valid Percent socio-economic development 286 69.4 peace and unity 35 8.5 popular participation 30 7.3 good governance 23 5.6 civil liberties 20 4.9 don't know/never heard of democracy 9 2.2 other positive attributes 4 1.0 equality and justice 3 .7 political rights 2 .5 Valid Total 412 100.0 Table 4-10. Preference for democracy Question: Which Statement do you agree with the most? Frequency Percent (%) In certain situations a non democratic government can be preferable 14 3.6 To people like me it doesnt matter what form of government we have 8 2.0 Democracy is preferable to any form of government 371 94.4 Total 393 100.0
180 Table 4-11. Rejection of alternative regimes Question: Some people say we would be better off if the country was governed differ ently. What do you think about the following options:94 Frequency Percent (%) One-man rule 394 (n=408) 94 Military rule 351 (n=407) 83.7 One-party rule 379 (n=408) 90.5 Traditional rule 366 (n=407) 87.3 Valid Popular rule 263 (n=407) 62.7 Table 4-12. Satisfaction with democracy in Sierra Leone Question: How satisfied are you with the way democracy works in Sierra Leone? Frequency Percent (%) Not at all satisfied 61 17.2 Not very satisfied 54 15.2 Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 2 .6 Fairly satisfied 105 29.6 Very satisfied 133 37.5 Valid Total 355 100.0 Table 4-13. Evaluation of de mocracy in Sierra Leone Question: How much of a democracy is Sierra Leone? Frequency Percent (%) Not a democracy 27 7.9 Major problems but still a democracy 86 25.1 Minor problems but still a democracy 84 24.5 Full democracy 146 42.6 Valid Total 343 100.0 94 (a) We should abolish elections and parliament so that the president can decide everything, (b) the army should come in to govern the country, (c) candidates from only on e political party should be allowed to stand for elections and hold office, (d) all decisions should be made by a council of traditional leaders (i.e.: chiefs), (e) the most important decisions, for example, on the economy, should be left up to you the people.
181 Table 4-14. Knowledge of political leaders Question: Can you tell me the name of: Frequency (correctly identified) Percent (%) Paramount Chief 388 (n=415) 93.5 Councilor 235 (n=415) 56.6 Member of Parliament 71 (n=414) 17.1 Vice President 223 (n=415) 53.7 Yes President 330 (n=416) 79.3 Table 4-15. Knowledge of political concepts Question: Have you heard of: Frequency Percent (%) Democracy 238 (n=353) 56.8 Decentralization 88 (n=403) 21.0 Yes Local Government Act 99 (n=358) 23.6 Table 4-16. Chance to change unjus t policies (local and national) Table 4-17. Ability to refuse someone more powerful telling you how to vote Question: If someone more powerful than you tells you to vote for somebody that you do not want to vote for, do you feel like you can say no ? Frequency Percent (%) No 182 44.7 Yes 225 55.3 Valid Total 407 100.0 Frequency Percent (%) No chance 312 75.6 Little chance 51 12.3 Good chance 50 12.1 Question: what chance do you think you have to change an unjust local government policy? Total 414 100.0 Frequency Percent (%) No chance 291 70.5 Little chance 70 16.9 Good chance 52 12.6 Question: what chance do you think you have to change an unjust chiefdom law? Total 413 100.0
182 Table 4-18. Attend political meetings Question: In the past year, have you attended any o f the following? Frequency (Numbers that attend) Percent (%) Attend District Council Meetings 59 (n=409) 14.4 Attend Ward Committee Meetings 89 (n=407) 21.9 Yes Attend Village Development Committee Meetings 189 (n=411) 46.0 Table 4-19. Contact of political leaders (formal and traditional) Question: In the past year, have you ever got together with other people/by yourself contacted the following people to either talk about a problem or suggest they do something that will benefit the community? Frequency (Contacted) Percent (%) Government in Freetown 40 (n=404) 9.9 District Councilor 93 (n=407) 22.9 Formal Ward Committee Members 105 (n=402) 26.1 Paramount/Section Chief 174 (n=411) 42.3 Mammy Queen 159 (n=407) 39.1 Traditional/ Community Leaders Local Community Group 151 (n=401) 37.7 International NGOs 154 (n=395) 39.0 Table 4-20. Votes cast in local and national elections (official95 and self-reported96) Type and Date of Election Officially Reported Voter Turnout (%)97 Self-Reported Reported Voter Turnout (%) Presidential Elect ions (1996) 68.6 48.6 Presidential Elect ions (2002) 81.4 78.4 Local Elections (2004) n/a 53.0 95 The source for official figures is International Institu te for Democracy and International Assistance (IDEA) (http://www.idea.int/vt/country _view.cfm?Country Code=SL#topParliamentary Electio ns. Last accessed, April 11, 2008). 96 Self-reported figures are responses from the questionnaire. 97 Calculated (as a percentage) on the basis of total votes cast divided by the number of names on the voters register.
183 Table 4-21. Total number of gr oups to which respondents belong Group Number Frequency Percent (%) 0 97 23.8 1 79 19.4 2 70 17.2 3 64 15.7 4 47 11.5 5 26 6.4 6 8 2.0 7 11 2.7 8 4 1.0 9 2 .5 Total 409 100.0 Table 4-22. Types of groups to which participants belong Member (Group Type) Frequency/N (Yes) Percent (%) Development Group 270 (n=416) 64.9 Cultural Group 194 (n=416) 46.6 Interest Group 78 (n=416) 18.6 Issue Group 26 (n=416) 6.3 Recreational Group 17 (n=416) 4.1 Political Group 8 (n=416) 1.92 Table 4-23. Number of responde nts participating in CDD Participate Yes/No Frequency (n) Percent (%) No 90 22.4 Yes 311 77.6 Total 401 100.0 Table 4-24. Impact of NGO participa tion on satisfaction with democracy Satisfaction with Democracy Not satisfied (%) Satisfied (%) Total (N) 26.0% 74.0% 100.0 No NGO 38.6% 61.4% 100.0 Some NGO 32.6% 67.4% 100.0% Participation in NGO projects Total p < .008, one tailed Fishers exact test
184 Table 4-25. Impact of NGO participation on evaluation of democracy in Sierra Leone NGO Participation No NGO (%) Some NGO (%) Total (n) 8.8% 7.1% 27 Not a democracy 13.8% 35.0% 86 Major problems but still a democracy 25.6% 23.5% 84 Minor problems but still a democracy 51.9% 34.4% 146 Full democracy 100.0% 100.0% 343 How much of a democracy is Sierra Leone? Total ( 2 (3, N = 346) = 1.80, p < .000) Table 4-26. NGO impact on knowledge of leaders Knowledge of Political Leaders Participate in NGO project (%) Significance Know president No Yes No 42.7 3.3 Yes 57.3 96.7 Total 100 100 2(1) = 104.3746 p < .000 (n) (199) (213) Know Vice President No NGO Some NGO No 70.3 24.9 Yes 29.7 75.1 Total 100 100 2 (1) = 84.2314 p < .000 (n) (195) (213) Know Paramount Chief No NGO Some NGO Yes 91 97.7 No 9.0 2.4 Total 100 100 (n) (200) (213) 2 (1) = 92.2112 p < .000
185 Table 4-27. Knowledge of political concepts by NGO participation NGO participation No NGO Some NGO Row Totals and Significance 31 68 99 (n=358) Local Government Act (17.1%) (38.4%) 2 (1) = 2.028E1 p < .000 89 149 239 (n = 353) Democracy (53.3%) (80.1%) 2 (1) = 2.880E1 p < .000 21 67 88 (n = 403) Number of respondents that have heard of the following: Decentralization (10.7%) (32.5%) 2 (1) = 2.82E1 p < .000 Table 4-28. Impact of NGO participation on efficacy NGO Participation No NGO Some NGO Row Total 154 137 291 No chance (77.4%) (64.0%) 25 45 70 Little chance (12.6%) (21.0%) 20 32 52 Good chance (10.1%) (15.0%) (12.6%) 199 214 413 Ability to change unjust chiefdom law Total (100.0%) (100.0%) Table 4-29. NGO participation by attendance at VDC meeting NGO Participation No NGO Some NGO Row Total 78 111 189 (n=411) Number attending Village Development Committee Meeting (39.4%) (52.1%) (46.0) 2(1) = 6.683 p = .01
186 Table 4-30. NGO participation in CDD by NGO participation NGO participation No NGO Some NGO Row Total 76 21 97 0 groups (38.6%) (10.0%) 99 114 213 1-3 groups (50.3%) (54.0%) 20 61 81 4-6 groups (10.2%) (28.9%) 2 15 17 7-9 groups (1.0%) (7.1%) 197 211 408 Number of groups to which respondents belong Column Total 100.0% 100.0% 2(3) = 6.253E1 p = .000 Table 4-31. NGO participation in CDD by NGO participation NGO Participation No NGO Some NGO Row Total 60 30 90 Participation in Community Driven Development (CDD) No (30.6%) (14.6%) (69.4%) (85.4%) 196 205 401 Total (100.0%) (100.0%) 2(1) = 1.470E1 p = .000
187 Table 4-32. Determinants of perception of democratic supply Model Summary Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate 1 .466a .217 .196 1.39684 a. Predictors: (Constant), some education, Gender-women, Religion Muslim, Age, NGO participant, Number of active organizations, District ANOVAb Model Sum of Squares Df Mean Square F Sig. Regression 138.157 7 19.737 10.115 .000a Residual 497.545 255 1.951 1 Total 635.702 262 a. Predictors: (Constant), some education, Gender-women, Religion Muslim, Age, NGO participant, Number of active organizations, District b. Dependent Variable: Perception of democratic supply Coefficientsa Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Model B Std. Error Beta T Sig. (Constant) .290 .487 .595 .552 NGO participant -.317 .191 -.102 -1.658 .099 q5_R_Total_No_Groups_R ange -.679 .133 -.352 -5.100 .000 District .324 .226 .100 1.431 .154 Age -.010 .026 -.022 -.377 .707 Religion Muslim .065 .280 .014 .234 .815 Gender-women .304 .179 .097 1.701 .090 1 q.1.6_R_Education_Dumm y .133 .208 .039 .641 .522 a. Dependent Variable: Perception of democratic supply
188 Table 4-33. Effect of cognitive awareness Model Summary Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate 1 .555a .308 .292 2.51968 a. Predictors: (Constant), some education, Gender-women, Occupation-farmer, NGO participant, Religion Muslim, Age, Group Member, District ANOVAb Model Sum of Squares Df Mean Square F Sig. Regression 984.981 8 123.123 19.393 .000a Residual 2215.726 349 6.349 1 Total 3200.707 357 a. Predictors: (Constant), some educa tion, Gender-women, Occ upation-farmer, NGO participant, Religion Muslim Age, Group Member, District b. Dependent Variable: cognitive_awareness_index Coefficientsa Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Model B Std. Error Beta T Sig. (Constant) 2.165 .830 2.609 .009 NGO participant 1.132 .289 .189 3.924 .000 Group Member .701 .379 .101 1.849 .065 District Kailahun -1.998 .339 -.331 -5.893 .000 Gender-women -.643 .275 -.107 -2.336 .020 Age .128 .041 .149 3.167 .002 Occupation-farmer -1.262 .373 -.160 -3.387 .001 Religion Muslim .629 .477 .062 1.318 .188 1 some education .082 .333 .012 .247 .805 a. Dependent Variable: cognitive_awareness_index
189 Table 4-34. Affecting Political Engagement Model Summary Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate 1 .446a .199 .181 1.95489 a. Predictors: (Constant), Gr oup Member, Religion Muslim, Gender-women, Occupation-farmer, some education, Age, NGO participant, District Kailahun ANOVAb Model Sum of Squares Df Mean Square F Sig. Regression 336.986 8 42.123 11.022 .000a Residual 1360.492 356 3.822 1 Total 1697.478 364 a. Predictors: (Constant), Group Member, Religion Muslim, Gender-women, Occupation-farmer, some education, Age, NGO participant, District Kailahun b. Dependent Variable: PolEng_Index Coefficients Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Model B Std. Error Beta T Sig. (Constant) -4.171 .635 -6.567 .000 District Kailahun 1.674 .262 .385 6.392 .000 Gender-women -.536 .211 -.124 -2.535 .012 Age .094 .031 .152 3.011 .003 Occupation-farmer .143 .286 .025 .499 .618 Religion Muslim -.192 .366 -.027 -.524 .600 some education .138 .260 .028 .530 .596 q4.12_NGO_Participation .153 .221 .035 .692 .489 1 Group Member 1.614 .289 .324 5.591 .000 a. Dependent Variable: PolEng_Index
190 Table 4-35. Affecting civic Engagement Model Summary Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate 1 .584a .341 .328 1.33997 a. Predictors: (Constant), NGO participant, Gender-women, Religion Muslim, Age, some education, Occupation-farmer, District Kailahun ANOVAb Model Sum of Squares Df Mean Square F Sig. Regression 324.323 7 46.332 25.804 .000a Residual 626.637 349 1.796 1 Total 950.961 356 a. Predictors: (Constant), NGO participant, Gender-women, Religion Muslim, Age, some education, Occupation-farmer, District Kailahun b. Dependent Variable: CivicEngment_Index_ Coefficientsa Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Model B Std. Error Beta T Sig. (Constant) 1.453 .347 4.183 .000 District Kailahun -1.312 .161 -.399 -8.150 .000 Gender-women -.473 .145 -.145 -3.257 .001 Age -.020 .021 -.044 -.950 .343 Occupation-farmer .303 .203 .068 1.489 .137 Religion Muslim .293 .255 .053 1.149 .251 some education .164 .177 .044 .924 .356 1 NGO participant .881 .147 .270 5.988 .000 a. Dependent Variable: CivicEngment_Index_
191 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS: IMPLICATIONS OF D ONOR ASSISTANCE AND DEMOCRACY IN SIERRA LEONE This study has shown that NGO assistance in post -conflict settings is a central mechanism employed by the international community to stabilize peace and implement democracy and development. What is less clear, however, is what impact these in terventions have on understandings of democracy, attitudes and beliefs pertaining to democracy and finally, political behavior. Drawing on the core assumptions of the civil society literature, one purpose of the study was to contribute to a better understanding of what motivates individuals to participate/not in politics and whether/how thei r understandings and beliefs about democracy translate into political behavior, including voting, attendance at political meetings and in civic associations. In this chapter, I examine what, if any, are th e tangible implications of such assistance in the recipient country of Sierra Leone, as well as explore the questions to which such interventions give rise. Furthermore, the limita tions of such a study are explored as well as possible areas for future research. Whose Democracy? Donor Assistance Vers us Recipient Priorities The question about Sierra Leonean understandi ngs of democracy revealed a populace that ostensibly views democracy through liberal lenses However, an alternative question, that asked respondents about what characteristics a good gove rnment should possess, showed that rather than responses pointing to liberal freedoms, Sie rra Leoneans instead expressed preference for a government that addressed their social and economic concerns. Foremost among these issues were good roads, provision of health care and edu cation facilities as well as improvement in standards of living. These responses were reflec ted in focus group discussions as well. When respondents were asked to rank their topmost c oncerns, the majority of respondents in male, female, young and old groups alike talked foremost about economic and so cial concerns across
192 all communities. During FGDs it appeared th at democracy was last among respondents priorities; at least not a demo cracy that emphasizes individualism. Instead, respondents asked about the provision of collective goods such as schools, hospitals and good roads. They relatedly expressed frustration that government was not meeting these development needs. It would thus appear th at despite giving responses on democracy that echo what one might hear in a developed country setting, such res ponses reflect perhaps reflexive, instinctive responses that repeat what re spondents have heard from NGOs civic education and radio, the most commonly cited responses to the questi on, where did you hear about democracy? In particular, respondents that had heard about de mocracy from the radio mentioned the station Radio Moa,98 a station with programming supportive of democratizing aims. Thus, their responses seemed to be reflective of what they had heard from various sources, rather than deeply held views. In addition, despite expressing at the same ti me, the belief that democracy is the most preferable form of government and supporting it fo r the most part in both theory and practice, upon probing further, it would appe ar that the freedoms and rights they associate with democracy are not the criteria by which they judge the best system of government. Whilst many do indeed define democracy in liberal terms, what they demand most from government is that it addresses substantive issues, including peace, unity, equal ity and justice, in addition to socio-economic improvements. Popular participation, another commonly evoked definition for democracy is also reflected in responses on good government: respondents felt a good government was one that listened to their problems, involved them in discussi on and decision-making and responded to these 98 Radio Moa is a community radio station established in December 2003, serving the Kailahun region, with funding from USAID.
193 demands accordingly. Prominent among these demands were again socio-economic concerns. It would appear then that even though definitions of democracy are predominantly liberal, this is not the type of government in wh ich people have interest. Instea d, substantive concerns are high amongst the peoples list of priori ties, and an effective government is one that addresses those concerns, rather than one that ensures that individual rights and liberties are assured. It can be argued that the promotion of de mocracy along liberal lines undermines this in several ways. First, organizations that pr omote economic development tend to do so by encouraging citizens to organi ze into groups to address their development problems and concerns. Such organization, by promoting citizenled development, encourages self-sufficiency. While not necessarily a ne gative quality, it can nevertheless lead to citizens that are more likely to take matters into their own hands than engaging with the state. A second related limitation is that NGOs become surrogates for states, a critique that has been made by a number of authors in different country contexts. For example, a high ranking CARE official mentioned that lessons lear ned by his organization was that while the organizations strength lay in community ba sed work and in organizing communities to implement their own development, by marginalizi ng the State, such work was unsustainable as NGOs cannot and should not take over the governments role.99 Instead, he felt it was important to come up with a way to link citizens and the state in development programs and projects. By taking on tasks such as feeding communities, or assisting them in boosting their agricultural production, organizations run the ri sk of further undermining the st ate. Given that the provision of public goods is a key activity that citizens expect from a well -performing state, encouraging 99 Interview conducted by author with CARE official, February 20, 2006
194 citizens to not expect such provision from th e state can only further weaken citizen-state relations. Third, the mechanisms through which NGOs promote democracy can also have a negative impact in terms of citizen-state relations. The emphasis of many of these programs when targeted at the masses, is the educati on of citizens about what democracy means and what role they should play in such a democracy. Through good gove rnance sensitization meetings run by local and international NGOs such as the Internati onal Rescue Committee (I RC), Africare, the 50/50 group and Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), as well as radio programs such as those run by Radio Moa, citizens have received sensitizat ion around topics ranging from the importance of equal gender representation in development groups, to holding polit ical leaders accountable. In terms of the latter, USAID is a central donor. One prominent example is a three-year, $4.5 million Strengthening Democratic Governance (S DG) program (originally with a March 2008 end-date) implemented by Management Systems International (MSI), which in turn has partnered with a number of different NGOs depending on the region. In Kailahun, the implementing partner is IRC. MSI had as its go al, the broadening of co mmunity-based political participation in national dialogue through a variety of activities, in cluding the training of regional coordinators and local mobilizer s responsible for sharing the information received to ward committee members and interested residents. Through workshops and seminars, residents are educated about their rights, and the importance of their involvement in all stages of the development in their communities, from articula ting priorities to the planning, monitoring and evaluation of development projects in their commun ities. Although this appears to be in line with community priorities that stress socio-economic development, the state at present lacks the capacity to implement many of these developmen t needs for a number of reasons. Post-conflict
195 states such as Sierra Leone are still weak in terms of capacity. Despite the aggressive promotion of decentralization and the district councils and ward committees, the government has failed to provide a correspondingly stable revenue base through which communities can finance their own development (Jackson 2007). Given the low standards of living curre ntly obtaining in rural areas, a dependence on taxation is clearly inadequate. Other sources of income such as NGO grants are not sustainable. Thus, encourag ing citizens to go through the formal channels to implement community-based development could not only fail but also lead to frustrat ions as citizens find government unresponsive to their demands due to a lack of fiscal and implementing capabilities. In their stead, NGOs can provide the financial (although unsustainable) resources to assist community members in building roads, schools or establishing seed banks. Donors can also undermine government accountability to citizens as well, by providing an alternative revenue base outside of citizen taxes (Karl 1997). A complementary approach for democracy stre ngthening programs targeted toward civil society is training newly electe d councilors and ward committees on their tasks in addition to training citizens about their rights and responsibi lities. However, according to the CARE official, the belief that political leaders should be experts in terms of their responsibilities was strange and unrealistic, and he pointed th at such training would never be considered for officials in similar capacities in the United States or ot her western countries. Tr aining also does not necessarily equate behavioral change. He found that the tr aining of local councilors, or community residents could result in highly informed segments of the population that could articulately discuss meanings of civil society, and give a ppropriate responses concerning accountability, equality and rule-following, but th is did not necessarily mean their behavior changed.
196 For this respondent, the formal mechanisms of power advocated by decentralization initiatives further ignored existing power struct ures in communities and entrenched ways of accomplishing community goals and objectives. Furt hermore, identification of the real power relationships existing in communities was also often ignored in project implementation. A former aid worker with IRC echoed this perspective.100 Since training and other such programs did not adequately take into account local, existing realities on the ground, the assumption that behavior al change comes with education and training was overly simplistic, and unrealistic in practical settings. Thus, community residents would still readily bypass formal political structures and use patronage networks, relying perhaps on a highly placed family member, or connections with the chief to achieve desired ends. People were more likely to favor channels that would actua lly bring about intended results. Study respondents echoed these insights. Community members in Ka ilahun, a district that ove rall had been more exposed to NGOs and especially those in Jojoima (the community in which the democracy strengthening project jointly im plemented by MSI and IRC had been implemented), remarked in focus group discussions that they knew the official channels they were supposed to use in order to accomplish development in their communities but found them ineffective. When formal channels fail, it is only natural th at they turn to mechanisms they know to be more effective, such as resorting to local stru ctures of power, or self-help initiativ es. The fact that the channels they turn to more are traditional le aders, reveals the truth behind th e CARE officials words: these channels are where the true depos itary of power lie, and yet, th ey are largely marginalized by decentralization initiatives. 100 Interview conducted by author with ex-IRC development worker, February 14, 006
197 Fourth, citizen-state accountab ility is further undercut by donor-driven agendas. Sierra Leone is heavily dependent on aid with nearly half of the current budge t coming from grants, loans, debt relief monies as well as donor agencies (Development Assistance Coordination Office (DACO) 2006; Eurodad with Campai gn for Good Governance 2008). This aid dependence makes it difficult for the government to set the agenda in term s of prioritization of needs as their position as supplicant leaves them with little bargaining power. Although one of the central aims of the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness101 was to encourage aid organizations to take steps to ensure aid reci pients assumed ownership of implemented programs and that these programs were in line with the countrys own Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan (PRSP), continued abuses by the Sierra Leone go vernment and a corresponding lack of trust on the part of donors has led to the continued imposition of conditionalities (Eurodad with Campaign for Good Governance 2008). The current popular buzzwor ds in global aid dissemination of democratic ownership and mutu al accountability ring hollow in Sierra Leone where for the most part, civil society and govern ment have little input into these development plans.102 Conditionalities illuminate this well. Although some donors also provide direct budget support, the conditionalities attach ed to this aid is another way in which the independence of the Sierra Leone government is undermined as th is aid is often con tingent upon government 101 The full text of the declaration can be found on the OECD website: http://www.oecd.org/document/18/0,3343,en_2649_3236398_35401554_1_1_1_1,00.html last accessed, August 13, 2008. 102 This perspective was repeated to me over the course of a number of interviews with civil society organizations as well as government officials, conducted in 2004 and 2006. Government officials often complained about being marginalized in the discussion of what types of programs and projects NGOs should implement, and often did not know what these organizations were doing across the country. They felt that this was a central contributing factor to the duplication of assistance efforts and the lack of effectiveness of aid in br inging about concrete changes. Civil society activists complained that interventions were often western-biased, with little regard for what they considered to be the priorities of the nation. These findings were also echoed in a report commissioned by Eurodad with Campaign for Good Governance, "Old Habits Die Hard: Aid and Accountability in Sierra Leone," ed. European Network on Debt and Development (2008).
198 compliance with donor-priorities. The IRC aid wo rker expressed that in the diverse programs implemented by her organization103 as well as other NGOs, NG Os tended to bypass political structures, especially as the new decentralized governance stru ctures were so new and the devolution of power still shaky. Senior staff in a number of interviewed organizations including CARE, IRC, MSI and Oxfam talked of the importance of balancing between implementing programs that were donor versus community-driven and acknowledged that this was a true con cern as donors often had agendas and monies set aside for specific project s that might not necessarily reflect community priorities. The term community priorities masks anothe r political question whose priorities are actually articulated within comm unities? The language of partic ipation, found throughout nearly all NGOs implementing assistance in Sierra Leone is also problematic, as it masks the very real concern of who exactly is par ticipating. In many communities where local input is solicited, NGOs tend to assume a communalistic ideal of ru ral Sierra Leone, free from power inequities (personal interview with former IRC aid-worker). It is unrealistic to expect that simply embracing the rhetoric of participation will assure that all voices are represented. Thus, the aid worker found that articulated needs were often more representative of elite interests rather than a broad swathe of the community. The inequalities of power relations within communities were visibly brought home during the execution of this study. The study was implemented under the auspices of Oxfam GB, and used the gender acti on research (GAR) approach, that stressed the inclusion of community members in the research process as well as the use of participatory 103 In 2006, at the time of the study, IRC programs include democratic strengthening, education (provision of educational and recreational materials to students, and teacher tr aining among other activities); primary heath care, Gender-based violence prevention and health, community development (through empowering communities to improve food and economic security), environmental hea lth, (through the rehabilitation of wells and latrines, and promotion of community hygiene) as well as camp management for Liberian refugees among other activities.
199 measures to ensure that respondents were not simply seen as research subjects, but active participants in the research process, identifying problems and areas of concern that they wished to see addressed. There were two problems that illuminated th e concerns of power imbalances existing within communities.104 First, as the baseline survey called for the use of community members as project enumerators, it was decided to use th e approach of asking community members to participate in the iden tification and selection of these enumerators during an open meeting. However, despite holding meetings in which all re sidents were encouraged to participate, more often than not, community leaders were the ones that made the bulk of the suggestions. Not only did this showcase the loudness of certain voices and the mutedness of others, it also illuminated rivalries between elite groups. In one case, it le d to some dissent between the chief and the councilor, illustrative of the underlying rivalrie s between traditional l eadership and the new systems of leadership represented by the c ouncilors. Disagreement between the chief and councilor on names provided in a community in Kailahun, led th e chief to accuse the councilor of always trying to ensure that her people benefited from development projects.105 Second, the position of enumerator required skills of literacy and language as data collectors needed to be fluent in at least three langua ges: English, the local lingua franca (Mende, Yalunka, Fullah and so on), as well as Krio. Only the well educated met these criteria, and only elites within communities were well educated. Thus, the involv ement of everyone is often an unattainable dream due to the real constraints and power imbalances that exist on the ground. 104 See for further details on this, Fredline A. O. M'Cormack, "Pacer Baseline Survey Report, Kailahun and Koinadugu Districts, Sierra Leone," (Freetown: Oxfam GB and the 50/50 Group, 2006). 105 The position of enumerator came with monetary compen sation, hence the linkage of it with a development good.
200 One primary example of a top priority that is donor-driven, with implications for citizenstate relations is that of privatization of public enterprises such as power and water.106 In the case of water, around 28 percent of Sierra Leoneans ha ve access to clean water, yet despite examples of the inability of privatization initiatives to effectively deliver public goods such as water to all citizens, and the need to look into alternatives su ch as the reformation of the public utilities that control such goods, the World Bank and donors such as DFID insist on privatization (World Development Movement). Not only do these ag endas reflect those of donors, preventing the Sierra Leonean government from emphasizing its ow n priorities, such decentralization initiatives have the potential of further undermining gove rnment accountability to citizens by removing from government hands, those very activities that people see as being the do main of an effective government. Thus the activities of both developm ent-oriented as well as democracy-oriented organizations can have detrimental effects on building citizen-state accountability, albeit in different ways. There are other problems with reliance on international assistance. A related concern to that of agenda-setting a nd control of policy agenda s is accountability. It is an ironic truth that many of the organizations that aim to encourag e the Sierra Leone government to be accountable to its populace are themselves only accountable to each other, or to their donors who for the most part, reside in the western hemisphere. By emph asizing a certain perspect ive of democracy, they could be imposing their own agendas; at odds wi th the ideal of democracy, which encourages that all perspectives are heard a nd that the wishes of the majority are taken into account. In so doing, NGOs can be seen as undermining their ow n democratic agenda. Again, this was seen 106 For example, in 2001, the IMF made privatization of public enterprises a condition of receiving aid. It was also the qualifying criteria that allowed Sierra Leone to be a pa rt of the Heavily Indebted Poor Country initiative in 2002, see World Development Movement, "Turn of the Privatisation Tap," Liberation Afrique 21 September 2006.
201 during the execution of the study. As the GAR appro ach dictated that respondents articulate their concerns, during FGD discussions with participan ts in which we asked them to discuss the questions and concerns they wanted to see mo st addressed, questions of democracy were far from their interests. Instead, as has been seen in the responses about good government, respondents were concerned with government provision of socio-economic development as well as popular participation. Respondents were tired of researchers coming into their communities and asking questions that had little bearing on their material improvement. In communities ravaged by civil war and large-scal e destruction, concerns are about addressing those needs. This is not to say that they res pondents did not have questions around governance issues. Although these questions only came up when respondents were prompted about whether they had any questions about democracy and gove rnance, questions raised showed that village residents were most concerned with issues of accountability. Qu estions ranged from the following: why despite going through appropriate channels, government fa iled to address articulate priorities; why government had not delivered on campaign prom ises such as free primary and secondary education, and freedom from hunger; how to ensu re accountability of funds channeled through donors and government officials; and how to avoi d coercion from community elites such as chiefs regarding their votes at election time. Questions also came up regarding gender relations, specifically concerning marital relations includi ng taking on a second wife, and telling a wife how to vote. Thus, citizens are concerned about issues that fall under democracy, but often the focus is on ensuring that government is accountable to citizen demands, rather than solely or even mostly on individual rights and responsibil ities. Yet, programs and projects do not focus enough on strengthening government capacity to deliv er such goods. Instead, citizens perceive that funds are spent on things that they do not ne cessarily believe impact their lives. The Special
202 Court is one such example; despit e the large sums of funds poured into it, it is ignored for the most part by many Sierra Leoneans. Unequal power relations between donor and government are further illustrated by the existence of NGOs that often implement program s and projects unbeknownst to the government (Personal communication, Eric Jumu, Nationa l NGO Coordinator, MODEP). Although the government has taken a number of steps to ensu re greater accountability and synchronization which include donor coordination meetings and st ringent registration requi rements that include the detailing of all programs and projects and areas of operation, some of these steps are sidestepped or ignored by many international or ganizations who view th em as irritating and cumbersome measures designed by a corrupt gover nment searching for ways to extract money. The existence of parallel governance structures such as the Decentralisation Secretariat, the HIV/AIDS secretariat and the Governance Reform Secretariat also enable donors to bypass the government and implement programs more in lin e with their own prio rities (Eurodad with Campaign for Good Governance 2008). The unequal power relations between NGOs, donors and the Sierra Leone government needs to be explicitly recognized as it underlies the very way in which aid is disseminated, the policy decisions that are taken as well as the relations between citizens and their government. If such unequal relations remain unaddressed, how can we begin to talk about government accountability to its people, when implemented po licies are ones that not even articulated by the local populace or government-drive n? Another example of this inequality is that whereas governments will not receive aid if they fail to m eet stated conditions, they have no mechanisms in turn to ensure that donors deliver on amounts of promised aid. In Sierra Leone in 2007, donors gave $26 million less than they promised, ne gatively affecting the governments budgeted
203 expenditure and spending plans, the bulk of which were target ed for poverty reduction (Eurodad with Campaign for Good Governance 2008). How do these unequal power relations affect th e promotion of democracy in post-conflict contexts? When it comes to democratization in these situations, it app ears that the emphasis should be on certain aspects a nd less on others. The focus should be more on strengthening the institutions of democracy first, or at the least, increasing stat e capabilities to provide public goods for citizens. As we saw in Chapters 1 and 2, donors are indeed focusing on enhancing the supply side of democracy in addition to other programs. To this end, donors such as the World Bank and DFID are contributing to the strengthen ing of democratic institutions like the police and judiciary and assisting in the implementatio n of decentralization in addition to working on the demand side of civil society, with a focu s on increasing political awareness and general mobilization. However, as a number of authors have pointed out, assessments of such efforts have shown not only the limitations of interventions geared at build ing civil society, but also the limitations of the institutions of democracy t hus implemented (Burnell 2007; De Zeeuw 2005). For DeZeeuw (2005), while donors have successfully created new institutions at the micro-level, the sustainability of these inst itutions is not so certain. The lack of congruence between donor objectives and citizens needs is one cited reason. Others incl ude: a lack of emphasis on mechanisms designed to ensure that created organizations can be fina ncially independent and survive without donor funding, as well as the pr oblems inherent in ignoring power relations existing on the ground. The above-mentioned issues suggest that rather than focusing on individual rights, in the short-term, NGOs working on civil society building a nd active in training ci tizens on their rights and responsibilities might want to focus less on encouraging citizens to make excess demands on
204 the state, until the state is in a position to meet these demands. Additionally, for organizations promoting citizen driven community developmen t, more focus should be on activities that citizens can undertake in partnership with the state, that call for st ate involvement but at the same time do not place the entire financial burden on a state ill-equipped to meet these requests. However, rather than NGOs be the implementing pa rtner, the state should take on this role; in this way, citizens can feel comfortable turning to the state rather than to NGOs for development purposes. Such insights are not new. The MSI Chie f of Party in Sierra Leone and overseer of the project Strengthening Democratic Governance (SDG) in Sierra Leone during this time, showed real sensitivity to these issues in particularly informative discussions, where he elaborated on the need to move away from simply educating citizen s about their rights, to also discussing citizen responsibilities, as well as the importance of re-directing the focus of citizen demands from NGOs to government to build accountability107. However, this has to be accompanied by a rise in government capacity as well. Additionally, rather than attempting to do all things at once, donors perhaps should concentrate on a limited range of interventions, and do those well. As several NGO workers as well as government officials remarked in inte rviews, some NGO work is diffuse and lacks cohesion; monies are funneled into many diff erent projects, mitigating impact. Donors might need to focus first on boosting government capacity to provide pub lic goods that people associate with good government, as well as provide an enab ling condition for this to take place (which might require less focus on pr ivatization initiatives). In terms of the first point, it is clear that decentralization can meet peoples needs for greater involvement in state decisions and prior ity identification; however, decentralization as 107 A series of author interviews were con ducted with the Chief of Party during 2006.
205 currently promoted needs to be adjusted, taking into account more, existing traditional structures of power. Limitations of Decentralization One of the assum ptions made about interventi ons in post-conflict societies is that war, despite the destruction, can be a force of change as it can provide a space for democratization and the building of new institutions to replace ones that contributed to the war in the first place (Moore, Squire and MacBailey 2003; Fanthorpe 2006). Society is seen as malleable and plastic, open to the creation of new and im proved institutions (Moore, Squire and MacBailey 2003). However, this plasticity should not be over-emphasized; the destruction of external institutions does not necessarily mean the destruction of the attitudes, values and behaviors that went with these institutions. Despite significant advances made such as tr aining of leaders in institutions underpinning democracies like the judiciary and the media (De Zeeuw and Kumar 2006), problems of abuse of power by traditional leaders, including excessive and harsh judgments that enrich the chiefs while impoverishing rural inhabitants con tinue to evoke anger (Fanthorpe 2006). Decentralization has focused on rebuilding the form al institutions of the state, but has largely failed to address the limitations and contradictions inherent in having trad itional leadership coexisting with modern political systems, and could, in fact be re-crea ting the conditions that caused war in the first place (Hanl on 2005). There is much research that appears to point to the necessity of doing away completely with the chie ftaincy system. Authors su ch as Paul Richards as well as donor reports citing first hand resear ch within communities suggest that a central component of the war lay in the injustices perpetuated by the chiefs, rooted in the interferences of the colonial system and continued under the SLPP and APC regimes (Fanthorpe 2006). Furthermore, others point to the wide scale destruction of institu tional structures of governance
206 such as government buildings and court barries as indicative of the level of alienation between citizens and government, represented both by formal and traditional government, as well as their dissatisfaction with these institutions. Correspondingly, much of the atten tion of decentralization has focused on the resurrection of local government as an alternative to the centralized system in existence prior, and sensitizati on of citizens on local government a nd their responsib ilities within this system. Development is pushed through th ese institutional structur es and the chiefdom system is largely ignored. However, in resuscitating local government and District Councils (abolished under Stevens in 1972), much along the same lines as during the colonial era, old tensions between modern and traditional form s of leadership have again emerged, possibly setting the ground work for a return to conf lict (Jackson 2005; Fanthor pe 2006; Hanlon 2005). These scholars urge donors engaged in governance reform to be careful they do not simply replicate institutions that contribut ed to the war in the first place. The implication is that true change, and by extension, sustained peace can on ly come with the transformation of these patron-client relations, and that participatory and accountable governance will remain an illusory goal unless Sierra Leoneans in the rural areas change from being s ubjects [of chiefs] to citizens with rights and res ponsibilities (Jay and Koroma 2004; cited in Fanthorpe 2006: 33). However, Fanthorpe disagrees with the belief that chiefdom administration needs to be discarded. Citing data from commun ity meetings held in various chiefdoms, he finds that the chiefdom administration remains an important component in peoples lives. Rather than rejection of the system, what is needed is re form, which would allow citizens to have more voice. This would include more oversight/influen ce in the election of paramount chiefs, which currently are elected only by chiefdom councilors,108 increased oversight in budgets and tax lists 108 Chiefdom councilors are not only able to vote for Paramo unt Chiefs but are also responsible for the maintenance of order in the community, and ensuring the collection of taxes. They have the authority to arrest non-payers and or
207 as well as a better reinforcement of existing laws (Fanthorpe 2006: 43-44). Such influence would be reflective of citizen-articulated wishes in this study for greater participation in decisionmaking. Rather than discounting prevalent claims of the problems and abuses of the chieftaincy system as an indicator that people want it removed, Fanthorpe (2006) finds this reflective instead of a country in which people have learned to speak the language of development and relief agencies; people are interested principally in ha ving development come to their communities; If a discourse of marginalization and conflict can resu lt in this, then this is what will be discussed. Similar findings emerged in this study. When respondents were given the opportunity to articulate what they felt to the most salient concerns in their communities, recurrent issues discussed were war-time destruction and lack of adequate government redress, poverty, and the neglect of the region by the central government. Although community members employ a variety of strategies to meet these needs, one commonality that emerged is the im portance of chiefs in any deve lopment initiatives. Chiefs are often the first point of contact for development projects and people are more familiar with the names of paramount chiefs than they are with dist rict councilors. Furthermore, survey data point to the fact that people trust councilors less than they do Paramount Chiefs, and the central reason for this is that these councilors are often not re sident in their communitie s, or they do not know who their councilors are. This does not mean that rural residents do not realize the problems within the system or that they place blind trus t within the traditional political institutions. Respondent responses to questions of trust on local institutions such as the native courts indicate remand them to the native courts. Chiefdom committees make up the executive arm of the council, and historically were comprised of the PC, Senior Spea ker, Two members of the District Council ward and a Councillor (literate) that was suggested by the Local Government Minister, as well as a Mammy Queen and youth representative.
208 that they are well aware that th ese systems are corrupt. Respondents felt that these courts worked more in the interests of elites a nd those with money to pay to have cases resolved in their favor. In addition, during FGDs with male youth member s, chiefs were criticized for being too controlling, and levying unfair fines for minor in fractions. These seeming contradictions: the recognition of the corrup tion within the traditional system s while at the same time their importance in peoples lives, point to the need for reform rather than marginalization that Fanthorpe finds western researcher s advocating for: When asked if the chieftaincy system has a future, informants tend to reply that institu tional reforms are urgently needed. But the predominant response is that chiefs still have a v ital role to play because they (and by implication not the state) know a persons right, i.e. the customary rights and properties that establish de facto local citizenship. (Fanthorpe 2006: 44). Given the role that chiefs play in peoples lives, a focus on local government reform that neglects reform of the chieftaincy can risk putti ng in motion the same forces that contributed to the war (Fanthorpe 2006; Jackson 2005). Instead, a ttention needs to also be paid to chiefdom administration reform it is the form of governme nt that most people are familiar with given the absence of the central government in their lives. Even after some experience of local government, people find that it has yet to deliver and still turn to the Paramount Chiefs. Limitations of the Study In term s of methodology, the initial research design conceptualized data collection using an experimental design comparing regions with different types and leve ls of NGO activity, but existing realities on the ground of multiple exposure with a number of NGOs depending on war experience meant that analysis was conducted at th e individual rather th an organizational level (See Chapter 2 for a more detailed discussion of th e change in research design and the resulting implications and limitations of this).
209 There are some limitations to conducting anal ysis at the individual rather than the organizational level given the truth that local populations have been exposed to multiple organizations. For one, determining which NGO ha s had the most impact, or which type of assistance is most beneficial for democracy streng thening requires the ability to compare treated and untreated populations, a phenomenon that is very difficult in the often less neat realities that constitute the research world of the social scientist. People have been exposed to a wide variety of assistance ranging from relief, to development and democrac y. Thus, while looking at how participation in the different types of assistance shape understandings of democracy, attitudes/beliefs and political pa rticipation would be one step to addressi ng Fishers (1997) concerns that generalizing a bout NGOs could obscure the vital differences and ultimately the varying impacts to which differences amongst NGOs might give rise give n the existence of so many NGOs with competing mandates, historical origins, ideologies, methods of operation and objectives (Korten 1990) this wa s not possible in light of the life histories of the respondents that participated in this study. Yet, a better understanding of the relationships between attitudes, behavior and NGO activity can be had by disaggregating among the different types of NGOs because they have different objectives, modes of implementation and even beneficiary selection. For example, relief activities for the most part target all aff ected populations. Refugees in camps run by the International Red Cross during the war did not discriminate in term s of the people to which they provided assistance. On the other hand, the ac tivities of IRC and MSI, by focusing training on community mobilizers (individuals within the community that serve as a resource point on democratization), as well as sensitization forums about individuals rights as well as responsibilities to gov ernment, could possibly have attracted those who already had an interest in
210 politics or played a leadership role in their communities. In the same way, the Regional Information and Community Centers (RICCs) that MSI/IRC contributed in establishing as a public meeting space, information and learning center in which community members could meet and discuss issues of concern with local leaders, could attract citi zens that are already politically active and predisposed to such interests. T hus, one could argue that a link between these individuals and increased political participation is only natural. It is clear that IRC/MSI inte rventions did have an impact, as FGD respondents in Jojoima, the community in which these two organizations are active were more lik ely than respondents in the other communities in Kailahun to know the pro cesses by which they could articulate their development concerns through ward committees and th e district council, all of which are topics discussed during sensitizati on and training meetings. Economic and social development programs work in different ways, depending on the organization. For some organizations such as Oxfam, provision of water pumps, wells and latrines were done following mee tings with community members where they identified their priorities. On the other hand, their governance progr ams were more targeted. In conjunction with the Decentralisation Secretariat, Oxfam has trained ward committees on their functions in an effort to build accountability. They have also worked on increasing womens political participation, identifying and working with inte rested women on their bid to run for political posts ranging from president, and MP positions to local councillor. Su ch different types of activities and respondent identification might ha ve different outcomes in terms of attitudes, beliefs and political participation. Rehabilitation and reconstruction activities, under th e rubric of social development were designed to assist the poorest of the poor and used a variety of mechanisms to ensure that
211 appropriate beneficiaries were identified. For example, in this study, according to FGD respondents, Catholic Relief Services, worki ng in Ngeblama chiefdom, asked community members to identify the most vulnerable in th e community and these were the people that received assistance in rebuildi ng their homes. A similar process was recounted to me by other organizations engaged in such reconstruction. However, one criticism that an aid worker related was that although NGOs made independent attempts to verify the veracity of these lists, such as asking neighbors and friends, this method is not foolproof and in some situations, it was revealed that the elites in some comm unities were the ones that receiv ed housing. Thus, not only is it important to peer within organizations and assess the methods in which participants are selected as this might impact their attitudes and beliefs about democracy, it is also important to recognize, acknowledge and address, that power inequalities existing within communities can also influence project outputs and outcomes. Future studies that can disaggregate NGO a ssistance, including objectives, methods of selection and so on, would be us eful to identify whether different types of assistance have differing levels of impact, and contribute to tailor ed responses in different contexts. It can also shed light on the question of whether differences exist in the level of impact of NGOs with development agendas versus those with a more explicit focus on democratization. Another limitation of the study was the time frame in which research was conducted. A number of scholars have pointed out that effective evaluations of democracy (and development assistance) require long-term comm itment to evaluation given that the objectives of behavioral and attitudinal change do not appear overnig ht (Carothers 1999; Burnell 2007). Finkel for example, found a lagged dimension in the positiv e effects of USAID democracy assistance. This dissertation takes only a sing le snapshot of political activity at one moment in time. To get a
212 truer picture of the impact of these interventions, further studies with the same populations would be ideal. This would cont ribute to a picture of how sustained contact with these organizations shape attitudes and behavior over time. Implications of Research The results of the analyses seem to indicat e that participation in NGO projects affects attitudes/beliefs and political behavior to so me degree: participants exposed to NGOs report higher levels of political engagement, contact with political leaders and attendance at political meetings. For the most part, however, this engageme nt is with traditional leaders and institutions and not the formal ones associated with the stat e. For example, regarding leader contact, NGO participation is significantly related to increase d contact only with traditional leaders such as chiefs (p = .008) and mammy queens (p = .002); local community groups (p = .010) as well as NGOs (p = .012), but not with formal leaders and institutions like the councilor, ward committee or government in Freetown. Such findings are re inforced by responses to questions on trust of political institutions and leaders where low levels of trust were reported of the ward committee, councilor and government in Freetown as compared to paramount chiefs. NGO participants also generally belong to more community associations and participate more in community driven development activities in their communities. In terms of attitudes/beliefs about democrac y, however, the results are more mixed. These respondents are less likely to evaluate demo cracy positively, and are less satisfied with democracy than their counterpa rts who have no NGO experience. Nevertheless, they have greater knowledge of leaders as well as political concepts, al l important in making informed evaluations about the way in which democracy works, and, some might say, are necessary preconditions for holding government account able. Respondents exposed to NGOs were significantly more likely to know th e name of president and vice-president, as well as the chief,
213 but this significance disappears when considering other leaders such as the councilor, and member of parliament. Regarding external efficacy, more respondents exposed to NGOs expressed the belief that they had the power to change an unjust law at le ast at the chiefdom level; significance disappears at the national level however, and respondents in both categories say they do not have the power to impact such laws with respondents in the NGO category reporting just s lightly more negative responses (75 percent comp ared to 76.2 percent). Such a variety of responses are in line with the learning approach a dvocated here. It would appear that through the activities of NGOs, responde nts are able to gain greater knowledge about the political system and also engage more with politicians. However, given that such exchanges do not necessarily bear fruit in the sense of greater responsiveness from central government and increased development at the community level, such respondents become frustrated, and work more within local organizations and local leaders to get things done. In addition, this frustration leads to more negative perceptions overall of democracy within the specific context of Sierra Leone. Participants active in NGOs are less likely to evaluate democracy as practiced in Sierra Leone favorably. In addition, they have lower rati ngs of satisfaction with democracy than those not exposed to NGOs. Where the assumption is that that all good things of democratization go together, this study shows that this is not automatically the case. Knowledge and awareness about politics do not necessarily result in greater po litical participation. Rather, it provides a lens through which people can assess the benef its of political participation, at le ast in the formal arena. Respondents who are more informed about the way in which political institutions work, as well as their rights and obligations as citizens are less likely to particip ate in these formal structures if they see that
214 such participation yields few tangible benefits. In addition, such respondents are more likely to be less satisfied with democracy given that thei r expectations are high er in light of their increased knowledge and participation; they ar e more likely to be more demanding than those who have not had such experience. Democratic aw areness allows people to be more critical of democracy, but this critical perspe ctive can actually lead to less participation, rather than more, at least in the formal arena. This combination of results suggests that ther e is no clear answer to the impact of NGOs on democracy strengthening. However, some preliminary comments can be made, especially when these results are interpreted within the context of open-ended responses in the questionnaire as well as focu s group discussions. For instance the increased numbers of respondents active in NGOs that ar e more likely to express dissatisfaction with democracy is supported by focus group responses. In these di scussions, respondents exposed to NGOs were also more likely to have engaged in political ac tivities, attended political meetings as well as contacted political leaders. Th ese same respondents expressed di ssatisfaction with the outcome of these endeavors. As one respondent put it: We know what to do. We know to contact our ward committees and local councils if we want development, but we have done all of these things, and nothing has happened. 109 These respondents also indicated that through NGOs they had learned more about the process of decentraliz ation. As a result, they were familiar with the official mechanisms through which developmen t was to take place in the community. Such citizens on one level feel empowered about their ability to express themselves and make an impact in their community. As can be seen, they have higher levels of expressed efficacy than do respondents that have not been exposed to NGOs. Responses to openended questions about 109 FGD conducted with male youth group members in Ngeima, Kailahun, August 10, 2006.
215 reasons for voting included the belief their vote counted, and thei r desire for change in the community. Although aware of the processes through which development is to be implemented (discussion with ward committees and presenta tion of these discussions to councilors), the general perception appears to be that these are largely ineffective. Furthermore, when asked about reasons for voting, many cite d the limitations of the local c ouncilors, and frustration with the slow pace of development in their comm unities. Respondents perceived councilors as far removed from their communities, and overall uni nterested in bringing about greater community development. In view of this, respondents were more like ly to turn to local influential elites for development, organize themselves in groups to implement development projects in their communities, or reach out to NGOs for assistance. Thus their participation in civic associations and community driven development tend to be high. While NGOs are contributing to the formation of groups through which citizens can organize in CDD and civic asso ciations, as well as teaching ci tizens about their civic duties, some caution is in order. Ultimately, we cannot fo rget that NGOs have an ideological agenda that they are promoting; however, this agenda is not imposed on citizens with blank slates; they bring their historical experiences, and culturally based pers pectives into the picture as well. Even though donors do not have the same perspective of democracy as people on the ground, and can be seen in some ways as imposing their views of democracy from above, citizens are nevertheless still able to negotiate their own realities. Thus while it appears that citizens have embr aced democracy, seeing it as the best form of government, and can espouse the rhetoric that pr ioritizes individual right s and responsibilities, the NGO democracy project is one that is implemented on contes ted terrain. Despite questions
216 that can be raised regarding citi zenship in Sierra Leone as it is foreign/outside actors that are attempting to cultivate values regarding particip ation in local and national governance structures rather than organic processes stemming from w ithin the state itself, such attempts do not go unchallenged. At heart, Sierra Le oneans are still very much interested in government that meets their socio-economic needs. Particip ation is also central to this pe rspective; citizens want to do more than simply elect their leader s. They want to be able to ha ve a say in the development plans that are implemented in their communities, and th ey want a government that is responsive to these demands. People are also capable of taki ng the rhetoric of pa rticipation propounded by these organizations, interrogating it and making it fit within the context of their lives. They reach out more to traditional leaders as well as NGOs whom they perceive to be more effective at addressing their concerns than to formal lead ers. Additionally, although it can be argued that NGOs, by taking on development roles traditionally ascribed to the state, (in addition to the privatization measures advocated by many We stern donors), are promoting a democratic consciousness that undermines citizen-state accountability; people nevertheless continue to ascribe the role of public goods provider to the state, in theory if not in practice. Given this scenario, it is possible to expect that if the state successfully fulfils this role, people will be willing to engage with formal state institutions. However, given that the local levels of leadership are the most salient, it is necessary to find a wa y to synthesize both form al and traditional forms of leadership. The experiment of democracy and the makings of civic citizens must face the reality of a nascent state, emerged, yes, from the crisis of state failure, but nevertheless still struggling to find a way to become relevant to citizens, so cially, economically and politically. First, by undertaking many of the social welfare and econo mic development programs of the state, NGOs
217 further contribute to the undermining of state-so ciety relations. Respondents were more likely to seek support from an NGO for a development proj ect for their community than they were the state. This has negative implications however ; for example, communities engaged in selfgovernment, be it through the assistance of NGOs, or citizen-controlled community-based organizations risk developing in ways that are incommensurate with surrounding environs, or one can find different standards obtaining in diffe rent regions. States are best placed to develop general guidelines for quality control and coordi nation of development initiatives that can be enforced nationwide. Second, by encouraging citizens to participate, and be more active in the political realm, these organizations are contributi ng to possible insecurities. The st ate is unable to accommodate the many demands that newly empowered citizens make, possibly increasing citizen frustration as they follow the appropriate mechanisms without seeing any benefits. This could further alienate citizens from the state. During a partic ularly heated exchange in an FGD with youth in Kailahun, they expressed dissatisfac tion with the return to old ways following the war. They felt that traditional leaders unfairly exacted fines, and appropriated their labor without adequate compensation. Some youth openly ta lked about how the war at least brought some measure of equality and addressed their concerns as youth in a farming community with little prospects by way of earning much revenue. In a community wher e at least half of the youth were former excombatants reintegrated into their home commun ities following the war, such sentiments could coalesce into a return to conflict. Third, NGOs need to pay more attention to the post-war context when implementing development and democratization initiatives as this remains a factor in peoples lives. Respondents sense of the future is predicated to a certain extent on their past and war
218 experiences influence somewhat their take on what is considered important for a wellfunctioning government and democracy. Notably, respondents concern with socio-economic development, including the reconstruction of hou sing, schools and clinics given the widespread destruction of during the war, can be taken as evidence of this, as well as their continued economic insecurities. The need for a government th at could secure peace was also expressed in FGDs and open-ended survey questions, with some respondents equating democracy with a government that can safeguard their peace. A total of 8.5 percent of respondents associated peace with a good government in their first respon se, and 11.5 percent associated it with democracy. In addition, a common response to the question, why did you vote, was that the then SLPP government promised to restore peace to the country. In a post-conflict context, a focus on individual rights and res ponsibilities is far from the immediate concerns that people have. At the same time, the demands of pa rticipatory governance s how that citizens long marginalized from the decision-making processes in their communities would like to have a say in how their lives are governed. In addition, citizens point to issues of acce ss and accountability; respondents want access to public goods and they want these to be provided under the institutional rubric of the state. However, the building of schools, roads, bridges, and health facilities are being undertaken not by the state, but by NGOS, working in conjuncti on with local communitie s under the rubric of community driven development. Focus group responde nts revealed they are more likely to seek out NGOs and traditional community leaders to implement development in their communities, than they are to go through the formal channels of government. Such findings are reinforced in the survey, where community respondents were near ly as likely to contact NGOs as they were traditional leaders for programs benefiting the co mmunity. Responses indicated that contact of
219 paramount chiefs was highest, at 42.3 percen t, followed by the Mammy Queen (39.1 percent) and local community groups (37.7 percent). Level of contact of NGOs was similar at 39 percent, compared to that of formal channels of govern ment. Although it is unsurp rising that levels of contact of government in Freetown stood at 9.9 percent given the re moteness of central government and the lack of ef fective communication channels, contact of community-based formal leaders such as the Ward Committee memb ers and the District Councilor was also quite low (26.1 and 22.9 percent respectively). This perhaps is one of the arenas where NGOS can focus their attention, but by finding ways that articulate the reali ties of communities where governance is more local than national, and directed at traditional rather than formal state institutions and elected leaders. Finding a way to synthesize both forms of leadership as well as building state accountability and responsiveness is key. The policies of decentralization are a furt her concern. Most of the emphasis has been on introducing what to many people are new forms of governance, and ignoring the traditional systems of leadership currently in place. This has a number of serious ramifications. First, as indicated above, the inequities within the former sy stem that privileged th e older elite was one of the contributing factors to the wa r (Richards 1995). No attempts have been made to reform this system, and instead resources are being used to create, from scratch, a new system of governance that has yet to claim the loyaltie s of people. A further conflict ex ists between chiefs and the new political elite (local government officials) who now officially hold the keys for development of their communities. As Burnell has noted elsewhere, the modification of political behavior by external programs and projects is further comp licated by the existence of informal institutions, incentive structures influenci ng behavioral change as well as socio-economic conditions (2000: 351). Despite the existence of these new forms of leadership, traditi onal leaders are still
220 perceived as the most appropriate forum for many people interested in bringing development to their communities. The seeming contradictions of respondent s active in NGOs appears to echo these problems. Although they have increased knowle dge, and are increasi ngly active in their communities, rather than leading to strengthened democracy, a failure to build on local capacities for development, informal/traditional sources of governance and low government capabilities could lead to empowered democrats exercising an empty democratic voice, and potentially lay seeds for a return to instability. As discussed in Chapter 1, the widespread assumption that lies behind donor and NGO interventions aimed at building democracy is the existence of a link between attitudes and behavior, where civil society for example, enab les citizens to develop attitudes and values supportive of democracy and with a relate d impact on their political behavior. This study has tried to peer within the NGO box by disaggregating civi l society into its constituent parts comprised of individuals. Civi l society is comprised of actors. How do these individual actors perceive democracy and behave politically? Is civil society the only explanation for why they become involved in politics or thi nk and behave in the ways that they do? How do such individuals perceive the political structures governing their lives? Th e study illustrates that it is not sufficient to look at associational li fe for explanations about political attitudes and beliefs, but also the experiences of each individual. This is especially salient in a post-conflict context where given the experience of civil war a nd displacement, individuals have been exposed to a variety of experiences and education, depe nding on their conflict ex perience: whether they were in camps and came into contact with NGOs teaching on democracy or whether they were in the bush, intent on safeguarding their lives. Fu rthermore, individuals emerging from such
221 contexts appear less interested in questions of democracy, and mo re focused on livelihood concerns. Despite the premise that democracy is important in consolidating peace in a postconflict context, and that one of the priorities of NGOs as well as government is in the promotion of democracy, there remains a s ubstantial amount of pe ople that are unfamiliar with the concept as well as related concepts. In addition, although peoples conceptu alizations of democracy made much reference to political freedoms, there was al so reference to a desire for greater input into the decisions made by government and for more consultation. These calls for popular participation, though seemingly liberal, are married to more substantive concerns when citizens are asked about what they believe are the functions of a good government. Although seemingly antithetical, I would argue that notions of popular participation are very prevalent in citizens ideals of democracy, but that the concerns th ey would like to bring to the attention of government are those that will lead to substa ntial improvements in their lives. Thus, a good government is one that provides hospitals, schools, and even sets fair prices for agricultural commodities. In the context of peace, citizens now wa nt their quality of life to improve, as well as peace to continue. It would a ppear that exposure to NGOs teac hes citizens the lingo of liberal democracy; they can talk about freedom of speech, and government for and by the people; however, their preferences, when it comes to what they actually want government to do, is not necessarily so liberal; instead it reflects the daily concerns that they live with: how to put food on the table, how to educate their children and how to improve their livelihoods. At the same time, it is undeniable that ci tizens would like greater representation in the political decisions made and in the concerns that government addresses. To this end we see as part of the responses on democracy, a demand for freedom of speech and representation however to what end? Rather than simply as a means in itself, it would appear that they demand
222 these freedoms as a means to an end: where the end is to have greater government attention to their daily concerns. The concerns as arti culated in FGDs included the following: Lack of good roads Lack of adequate water supply Lack of adequate or well equipped hospitals Lack of schools Lack of financial assistance with selling and marketing of produce Lack of money for small business enterprises Lack of marketplace or business center No Dancing Hall/Entertainment Lack of housing (especially those whos e houses were burned down during the war) In light of these concerns, should NGOs conti nue to promote western forms of democracy in Sierra Leone, or in post-war contexts acr oss Africa more generally ? As Owusu (1992) among others have maintained, this study supports th e claim that Africans still maintain primary affiliations at local rather than national levels Carothers (1999) insight, that countries come with entrenched political values and structures that are not so easily wiped away, is valuable here. Decentralization, by trying to focus on stre ngthening the capacities of local government at the chiefdom/regional level would seem to be a ppropriate. However, such decentralization needs to take into account traditional authorities th at still command much attention and loyalty, including the various bodies making up chiefdom authority such as chiefs, sub-chiefs and Mammy Queens. Thus, this democracy must overa ll be a new viable political synthesis which derives 'firmly from the African past, yet fully accepts the challenges of the African present (Owusu 1992: 379). Owusu (1992) has argued that there are elements of western democratic systems that could be modified to suit different contexts. For exam ple, even the system of competition currently existing, with its focus on election of a central lead er could be modified to a system that places less emphasis on a central leader as presidential systems do, and allows for a more consensual
223 model that includes power sharing amongst majoriti es and minorities, or gr eater inclusion of all voices, as found under the Westminster model of democracy. What this could mean in a decentralized system is the assurance that peop le do get a say in the development practices and projects implemented in the country; not simply on paper but in reality as well. Although at present the system of ward committees and local councils in Sierra Leone ostensibly provide the platform for such inputs, in prac tice, discussion is limited to the social and political elites within communities. In addition, democracy assistan ce that prioritizes civil society building and promotes individualistic western concepts of rights a nd freedoms might not necessarily be the most applicable. Africans, and more specifically, Sierra Leonean res pondents in this study are also interested in socio-economic development, as evidenced by the overwhelming numbers who named these issues amongst desirable charac teristics of good government. Rather than prioritizing a liberal vision of democracy, the widespread perception among respondents that a good government addresses substantive issues su ch as socio-economic development suggests that democracy promotion should include measur es to strengthen government capacities to deliver public goods to populations. At present, community members are more willing to go to local elites or NGOs to address development need s in their communities, rather than through the formal channels of local government. This is partly as a result of familiarity with these institutions, but it is also refl ective to an extent, of dissatisf action with government to address articulated problems. Although encouraging ci tizens to be more active in addressing development concerns in their community, especially given the financia l weakness of the state and its inability to meet many of these demands is useful in the short run, it could have the longrange impacts of simply reinforcing citizen disengagement with the state. Instead, the state needs
224 to be strengthened to be able to provide public goods as this is one way to build its legitimacy among the populace. Such concerns can be taken one step further given that the institutions of importance in peoples lives are those closer to home, in what ways can these trad itional political institutions be incorporated into democratic models that reso nate more with local realities? Rather than sidelining chieftaincy systems and local, civic organizations where membership criteria is often primarily ascriptive, Owusu (1995) for example, sees great potential for grass-roots democracy where citizens participate in their own development. In the same way, chieftaincy systems can be a valuable tool in promoting democracy as despite its inherent social inequality, [the chieftaincy] embodies shared values and virtues of accountability, service, probity; the tradition of voluntarism and self-help; and a spirit that ex tols the committed and total involvement of all the members of a community in the formula tion and implementation of policies for the communitys welfare. (Owusu 1995: 158). Notwith standing that the chieftaincy system itself has elements contradictory to democratic princi ples, including mechanisms of election as well as its manipulation and use for domination and control by colonial pow ers during colonial times, its continued importance in modern day Sierra Le one lends itself to consideration and possible reform in democratic projects today and steps can be taken to incorporate such systems within decentralization models, increasing the percep tion that government is working on peoples behalf. In conclusion, it is clear that donor-implement ed programs and projects are in many ways unsuited not only to on-the-ground real ities, but also local demands a nd interests. Rather than an emphasis on civil liberties and poli tical rights, respondents perceive that a desirable government should be one that addresses th eir socio-economic needs. It appears then that they ultimately
225 have a more socio-economic conception of demo cracy than donors (who embrace a more liberal perspective). This differs somewhat from th e findings of Bratton, Ma ttes and Gyimah-Boadi (2005) who argue that contrary to many st udies that find that Africans hold a more communitarian perspective of democracy, and are more in favor of substantive rather than political rights, African conceptua lizations of democracy are more universal than particular. This is also at odds with Marshalls (1964) concept of citizenship; For Marshall, citizenship entails activities on the parts of both citizen and governme nt: citizens have duties they must perform and at the same time, the state is supposed to pr otect citizen rights. Mo st of the emphasis of responses given in the survey, open-ended questions and FGDs emphasized what government was to do for citizens but very ra rely touched on citizen obligations to the state. In addition, for Marshall, in a liberal democracy, civil and politi cal rights should precede so cial ones. Here, it is the socio-economic concerns that dominate and that citizens want to see addressed. However, they do not express this voice in an organized fashion, and instead use informal mechanisms to get their needs addressed. NGOs should thus focus more on strengthening citizens ability to articulate these concerns using the formal established channels, a nd in turn, on assisting government (both at the central and localized levels) with developi ng the capacity to respond to these demands. Furthermore, greater effort needs to be made to synthesize the two differe nt forms of leadership to encourage greater in dividual political participation and citizen involvement in the socioeconomic development of their communities. At present, although socio-economic problems are the dominant concerns, study respondents can only address these problem s through the informal channels of traditional leaders and NGOs; strengthening government responsiveness and
226 incorporating traditional structures of leadership into formal ones could mitigate this, as well as redirect citizens to engage mo re directly with the state.
227 APPENDIX A QUESTIONNAIRE [ENUMERATOR: Select appropriate code for District. Write names for Section and Town/Village in spaces provided.] Kailahun 01 Koinadugu 02 Household Selection Procedure ENUMERATOR: It is your job to select a random (any) hous ehold. A household is a group of people who presently eat together from the same pot. Start your walk pattern from the start point that ha s been randomly chosen by your Field Supervisor. Team members must walk in opposite directions to each other. If A walks towards the sun, B must walk away from the sun; C must walk in opposite direction from A and B. Th e sampling interval will be every other house, (sampling interval of 3) unless otherwise indicated by supervisor. This means that you choose the third dwelling structure on the right, for every next household. ENUMERATOR: If a call is unsuccessful, use the table below to record your progress until you make a successful call. Circle a code number for unsuccessful calls only. Reasons for Unsuccessful Calls Reason for unsuccessful call Household1 Household2 Household3 Household4 Household5 Refused to be interviewed 1 1 1 1 1 Person selected was never at home 2 2 2 2 2 Household/Premises empty for the survey period 3 3 3 3 3 Did not fit gender quota 4 4 4 4 4 Other (Specify) If no-one is at home (i.e. premises empty), substitute with the very next household to the right. If the interview is refused, use the day code to select a substitu te household (i.e. after a sampling interval). When you find a household with someone home, please introduce yourself using the following script. Good day. I am working with Oxfam and 50/50 Group, and we are really interested in learning about peoples participation in politics. We do not represent the government or any political party. We want to find out about how people participate in development and governance in this community so that this country can have good leaders. This is important as it can help move this country forward. What you say will be very helpful to us. All information will be kept private. Your household was selected by chance. We would like to talk to an adult in your household would you help me choose one? Note: The person has to give consent by saying yes. If they refuse to participate, leave the house, and go to the third house on the right (using the sample c ode of 3). If they agree, then do the following: **Respondent Selection Procedure [Make sure you alternate between men and women. Circle the correct code below}] First Interview Male Female Previous interview was with a: 0 1 2 This interview must be with a: 1 2
228 Please tell me the names of all males/females [select correct gender] who presently live in this household. I only want the names of males/females [select correct gender] who are citizens of Sierra Leone and who are 18 years and older. [If this interview must be with a fema le, list only womens names. If with a male, list only mens names. List all eligible household members of this gender who are 18 years or older, even those not presently at home but who will return to the house at any time that day. Include only Sierra Leone citizens]. Women's Names Men's Names 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 Take out your slips of numbered paper. Present them fa ce-down so that the numbers cannot be seen. Ask the person who is selecting respondents to pick any paper, by saying: Please choose a piece of paper. The person who corresponds to the number chosen will be the person interviewed. [ENUMERATOR: REMEMBER to circle the code number of the person selected on the table above]. The person I need to speak to is [insert name] _______________________________. Is this person presently at home? If yes : May I please speak to this person now? If no : Will this person return here at any time today? If no : Thank you very much. I will select another household. Substitute with the next household to the right and repeat the respondent selection procedure. (N OTE: YOU CAN ONLY SUBSTITUTE HOUSEHOLDS NOT INDIVIDUALS.) If yes : Please tell this person that I will return for an interview at [insert convenient time]. If this respondent is not present when you call back, replace this household with th e next household to the right. If the selected respondent is not the same person that you first met, repeat Introduction: Good day. I am working with Oxfam and 50/50 Group, and we are really interested in learning from you about your participation in politics. We want to find out about getting good leaders in this community as well as how people can participate in development and government. Although you will not receive any money for participating in this survey, what you say is very important to us as you can help us learn about peoples involvement with government, which can help move this country forward. Everything you say will be kept private, so please feel free to tell us what you think. The interview will take about one hour. It is completely up to you to participate and there is no penalty if you refuse. Do you want to take part? [PROCEED WITH INTERVIEW ONLY IF ANSWER IS POSITIVE]. How many calls were made to the household where the interview actually took place? (CIRCLE CODE NUMBER) 1 2 Date of Interview (DAY, MONTH, YEAR) ____________________________________ Duration of interview (NOTE START/END USING 24HR CLOCK) _________________ ****ENUMERATOR DO NOT GIVE DONT KNOW AS A RESPONSE OPTION, BUT IF RESPONDENT GIVES THIS RESPONSE ON THEIR OWN, CODE AS 9. **********
229 ENUMERATOR, WRITE DOWN THE FOLLOWING INFORMATIO N PRIOR TO INTERVIEW District _____________________________________ Chiefdom _____________________________________ Section _____________________________________ Community _____________________________________ Observe and record details on materials used to build house and roof ___________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ BEGIN INTERVIEW 1 Respondent Demographics I would like to start by asking you some questions about yourself. 1.1 How old were you on your last birthday? _____________________________ (ENUMERATOR, RECORD THREE DI GIT NUMBER OR -9 IF UNKNOW N. IF LESS THAN 18, STOP INTERVIEW, AND RANDOMLY SELECT ANOTHER HOUSEEHOLD MEMBER) 1.2 What tribe/nation are you? 1. Mende 2. Kiwi 3. Temne 4. Kuranko 5. Limba 6. Yalunka 7. Fullah 8. Other (SPECIFY) _______________________ 1.3 What language do you speak at home? 1. Mende 2. Kissi 3. Temne 4. Kuranko 5. Limba 6. Yalunka 7. Fullah 8. Other (SPECIFY) _______________________ 1.4 Respondent Religion 1. Muslim 2. Catholic 3. Protestant (Mainstream, e.g. Anglican, Methodist) 4. Protestant (Evangelical/ Pentecostal) 5. Jehovahs Witness 6. Seventh Day Adventist 7. Christian (OTHER, please specify) ________________ 8. Traditional religion 9. None 1.5 How many times in the last month have you attended religious services, excluding weddings and funerals? [If 0], How many times in the past year? [ ENUMERATOR WRITE IN FIGURE GIVEN AND ASSIGN CODE AFTER INTERVIEW] Never 1 About once a year or less 2 About once every two or three months 3 Sometimes (once or twice per month) 4 About once a week 5 More than once a week 6 Dont know -9
230 1.6 What is the highest level of education that you completed? ____________________ [WRITE IN NUMBER OF YEARS OF SCHOOLIN G/TYPE OF SCHOOLING RECEIVED AND CODE LATER] 1.7 What is the total number of people who regularly sleep in this house? _____________________________________ (WRITE IN NUMBER) 2.0 Socio-Economic Status 2.1 What is your main occupation? _____________________________________ 2.2 Over the past year, how often, if ever, have you or your family gone without: (READ OPTIONS) [ ENUMERATOR WRITE IN TIME GIVEN AND ASSIGN CODE AFTER INTERVIEW] Never Once or twice Several times (once or twice a month) Quite often (once per week) Very often (every other day) No children Dont know A. Food 0 1 2 3 4 9 B. Water 0 1 2 3 4 9 C. Cash income 0 1 2 3 4 9 D. School fees for children 0 1 2 3 4 7 9 2.3 Do you own or have access to: (READ OPTIONS) 0 = No 1 = Yes A. Radio __________ B. Radio-cassette player __________ C. CD player __________ D. Stove (wood burning) __________ E. Stove (charcoal) __________ F. Stove (kerosene) __________ G. Furniture __________ H. Mobile phone __________ I. Fishing net __________ J. Shoes (number of pairs) __________ K. Motorbike __________ L. Bicycle __________ 3.0 War Experience: Now I would like to ask you some questions about your war experience. 3.1 How long have you lived in this community? ________________ 3.2 Did you live in this community before the war? 0 = No 1 = Yes 3.3 Did you live in this community during the war? 0 = No 1 = Yes [ GOTO 4.3] 3.4 If you left the community, where did you go? __________________________________________
231 3.5 Why did you leave the community? __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________ [PLEASE LIST ALL PLACES VISITED] 3.6 Did you ever live in a camp during the war? 0=No (GOTO 4.3) 1=Yes 3.7 Which camp(s)? _________________________________________________________________ 4.0 NGO Involvement 4.1 Were there any NGOs that assisted you in the camp(s)? [specify that NGO refers to any international or national organisation(s) working in the community] 0=No (GOTO 4.3) 1=Yes 4.2 Please tell me all the different NGO projects in which you participated in the camp, giving the NGO(s), project location, dates of participation and activities [EUMERATOR, USE TABLE IN 4.4 TO RECORD INFORMATION]. 4.3 Did you receive any (other) NGO assist ance before or during the war? 0 = No (GOTO 4.5) 1 = Yes 4.4 Please tell me all the different assist ance, giving the NGO(s), project location, dates of participation and activities. NGO Location Date(s) of Participation Pre-War Date(s) of Participation During-War Project Name/Activities 4.5 Did you receive any NGO assistance after 2001 (or after war?) 0 = No (GOTO 4.7) 1 = Yes
232 4.6 Please tell me all the different assistance giving the N GO(s), project location, dates of participation and activities. NGO Location Date(s) of Participation Project Name/Activities 4.7 Is there any difference in the types of groups and associations that you are active in now compared to before the war? 0 = No (GOTO 4.9) 1 = Yes 4.8 What are these differences? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ 4.9 Since NGOs have begun working in your communities*, do you participate in more, less or the same number of groups and associations? More Groups Same number Fewer Groups Not applicable [ENUMERATOR: CODE THUS ONLY IF PARTICIPANT IS NOT ACTIVE WITH ANY NGO] Dont know 1 2 3 7 -9 [* ENUMERATOR: IN COMMUNITIES WITHOUT NGOS, QUESTION SHOULD READ COMPARED TO BEFORE THE WAR] 4.10 Have you received any informati on about democracy from any NGOs? 0 = No (IF NO go to 5.1) 1 = Yes 4.11 Can you tell me which NGOs gave you this information, and what information you were given? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ 5.0 NGO Impact on Group Membership 5.1 Now I would like to ask you some questions about the organizations in which you are a member. I am going to read you a list of voluntary organi zations/associations. For each one, could you tell me 1) whether you are a member of this group? (FOR EACH GROUP IDENTIFIED, ASK: 2) How did this group come into being? 3) Do you hold leadership position in group? 4) How active are you in the group? [ENUMERATOR, GO THROUGH THE LIST WITH PARTICIPANT, AS KING ALL THREE QU ESTIONS FOR EACH RELEVANT GROUP IDENTIFIED]
234 6.0 Trust 6.1 Now I want to ask you about whether you know some of th e people in leadership positions in this country. Can you tell me the name of : (ENUMERATOR: WRITE DOWN RESPONDENT ANSWER, THEN ASSIGN CORRECT CODE AFTER INTERVIEW) 1. Correctly identified 2. Know but cant remember 3. Incorrect guess -9. Dont know A. Paramount Chief B. Section Chief C. The councillor from your ward? D. Member(s) of Parliament for this district E. Vice President F. President 6.2 About how many close friends do you have these days? These are people you feel at ease with, can talk to about private matters, or call on for help. [ENUMERATOR: WRITE NUMBER GIVEN] ___________________ 6.3 Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you have to be careful in dealing with people? 0 = You have to be careful 1 = People can be trusted 6.4 If you suddenly needed to borrow a small amount of money [enough to pay for expenses for your household for one week], are there people beyond your immediate household and close relatives (i.e. brothers, sisters, parents sisters and brothers) to whom you could turn? 0 = No 1 = Yes
235 6.5 Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you have to be careful in dealing with people? 1 = You have to be careful 1 = People can be trusted 6.6 In general, do you agree or disagree with the following statements? Disagree strongly Disagree Somewhat Neither agree nor disagree Agree Somewhat Agree Strongly A. Friends of the family are willing to help if you need any help 1 2 3 4 5 B.Most family members are willing to help if you need it. 1 2 3 4 5 C. Most people in this community are willing to help you if you need it 1 2 3 4 5 D. Most people in this district are willing to help you if you need it 1 2 3 4 5 E. Most people in this country are willing to help you if you need it 1 2 3 4 5 6.7 Now I am going to read you a list of people that are in politics. For each one, please tell me how much you trust them and the reason for your choice. [ENUMERATOR: ALLOW RESPONDENT TO GIVE OPINION, THEN PICK CODE THAT MATCHES RESPON SE. PROBE FOR STRENGTH OF OPINION] 0. Do not trust at all 1. Trust a little 2. Somewhat 3. A lot -9. Dont know person Reason A. District councillor B. Your Member(s) of Parliament C. President D. Paramount Chief
236 6.8 Please tell me how much you trust the following, and give reason for your choice. [ENUMERATOR: ALLOW RESPONDENT TO GIVE OPINION, TH EN PICK CODE THAT MATCHES RESPONSE. PROBE FOR STRENGTH OF OPINION] 0. Do not trust at all 1. Trust a little 2. Somewhat 3. A lot -9 Dont know person Reason A. Village Development Committee B. Ward Committee C. Courts of law D. Police E. National Electoral Commission (Those responsible for making sure elections are carried out properly e.g. Boundary delimitation) F. Army 6.9 If a community project (such as building a school or hospital) does not directly benefit you, would you contribute time to the project? 0 = No 1= Yes 6.10 Would you contribute money to the project? 0 = No 1= Yes 7.0 Collective Action and Cooperation: Now I would like to ask you some questions about how people organize to get things done in the community. 7.1 In the past year did you participate in any community labour activities (e.g. self-help project like road building), in which people came together to do some work for the benefit of the community? If Yes If N0 (GOTO 7.3) Number of times? [For each time ask] who was main person that motivated people to come together Would if had chance Would never do this Dont know [Do not read] 1 2 9 7.2 Please describe the activity [e.g., how it came about, who w ere the main people involved in bringing people together, type of activity] _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________
237 7.3 If there was a water supply problem in this community or a bad road, how likely is it that people will cooperate to try to solve the problem? [ENUMERATOR: ELABORATE ON MEANING OF COOPERATION, IF NEEDED WHETHER PEOPLE CAME TOGETHER TO FIX THE PUMP THEMSELVES, OR WENT TO SOME ONE WITH REQUEST FOR PUMP TO BE FIXED?] 1. Very unlikely 2. Somewhat unlikely 3. Neither likely nor unlikely 4. Somewhat likely 5. Very likely 8.0 Political Participation: Now I would like to ask you some questions about your knowledge and involvement in politics 8.1 In the past year, have you attended any of the following? [IF YES, WRITE IN NUMBER OF TIMES. IF NOT] why did you not go? IF Yes = 1 IF No = 0 [GOTO 8.3] How many times? Why did you go? Why did you not go? Dont know about meetings [Do not read] A. District council meetings -9 B. Ward committee meetings -9 C. Village development committee meetings -9 8.2 Did you make any speeches, comments or suggestions publicly during the last community meeting you attended? 0. No (GOTO 8.3) 1. Yes 8.2.1 Why or why not? [ENUMERATOR, PROBE POSITIVE RESPONSE] what did you say? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________ 8.3 Have you ever been involved in any planning, monitoring, implementation or evaluation of development activities in your community? 0. No (GOTO 8.5) 1. Yes 8.4 If yes, please give details of activities _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ 8.5 Is there is a notice board in this community used by the ward committee and district council? 0. No (GOTO 8.7) 1. Yes -7. Dont know (GOTO 8.7) 8.6 How did you know of its existence? _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________
238 8.7 How did you hear about the existence of the following meetings? Meeting Source of information Have not heard about meetings A. District Council Meetings -9 B. Ward Committee Meetings -9 C. Village development Committee Meetings -9 8.8 In the past year, have you ever got together with other people/or by yourself contacted the following persons to either talk about a problem or suggest they do something that will benefit the community? Never [GOTO 8.6] Only once A few times Often Dont know A. Paramount/Section Chief (specify) 0 1 2 3 -9 B. District Council 0 1 2 3 -9 C. Government in Freetown 0 1 2 3 -9 D. NGO (specify) 0 1 2 3 -9 E. Local community group (e.g. CDC/VDC/Youth Group) (specify which) 0 1 2 3 -9 F. Ward Committee Members 0 1 2 3 -9 G. Mammy Queen 0 1 2 3 -9 H. Churches 0 1 2 3 -9 I. Other (specify) 0 1 2 3 -9 8.9 [IF YES] Please describe the issue(s) and the outcome _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 8.10 Who usually comes up first with ideas for local development projects in this community, in your opinion? [IF MORE THAN ONE PERSON IS LISTED, ASK RESPONDENT TO RANK THEM IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE] 1. Paramount/Section Chief (specify) __________________ 2. District Council_____________ 3. Government in Freetown 4. NGO (specify which) ________________ 5. Local community group (E.g. VDC/CDC) (specify type) _______________ 6. Ward Committee Members 7. Other (specify) ________________________
239 9.0 Understandings of Democracy 9.1 In your opinion, what are the characteristics of a good government? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________ 9.2 What are the characteristics of a bad government? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ 9.3 What does democracy mean to you? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ 9.4 Where did you hear about democracy? [IF NEVER HEARD, GOTO 9.5] _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ 9.5 emocracy can mean many different things for people. I am going to mention some of the meanings that people attach to democracy. For each one of the things I mention, please tell me if it is not at all important, somewhat important, or very important for a society to be called democratic. 1 Not important at all 2 Somewhat Important 3 Very important -7 Dont know A. Elections are held regularly B. The majority rules C. At least two political parties compete with each other D. Anyone is free to criticize the government E. Education for everyone F. Jobs for everyone G. Small income gap between rich and poor H. Everyone enjoys basic necessities like shelter, food and water
240 9.6 Please tell me if you have ever done any of the following things since the last elections in 2002? Never Only once A few times Often Dont know A. Joined a demonstration 0 1 2 3 -9 B. Worked/Volunteered for a candidate/party (ENUMERATOR: specify if work, volunteer, candidate, party) 0 1 2 3 -9 C. Contacted a public official about a political issue 0 1 2 3 -9 D. Attended campaign rally 0 1 2 3 -9 E. Attended community meeting 0 1 2 3 -9 F. Helped raise funds for a candidate 0 1 2 3 -9 G. Gave money to a political candidate 0 1 2 3 -9 H. Tried to persuade others to vote a certain way 0 1 2 3 -9 10.0 Empowerment 10.1 What chance do you think you have to change an unjust local government policy? (for example, if the Local council asks everyone to pay LE 5,000 for taxes and you think this is too much, do you think you can get the council to change the policy to a lower amount?) 1. No chance 2. Very little chance 3. Little chance 4. Good chance 5. Very good chance 10.2 What chance do you think you have to change an unjust chiefdom law? (for example, if the chief asks everyone to contribute 3 bushels of rice per family and you think this is too much, do you think you can get the chiefdom council to change the policy to only 1 bushel?) 1. No chance 2. Very little chance 3. Little chance 4. Good chance 5. Very good chance 10.3 If someone more powerful than you tells you to vote fo r somebody that you do not want to vote for, do you feel like you can say no? 0. No 1. Yes
241 10.4 Why or Why not? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 11.0 Elections (Now that we have talked about some of your activities in your community, I would like to ask you some questions about voting). 11.1 I know that lots of people find it difficult to get out and vote for some reason or another. Did you vote in the last presidential and parliamentary elections in 2002? 0 = No 1 = Yes 11.2 Why or why not? ___________________________________________________________________________________________ 11.3 Did you vote in the last District council elections in 2004? 0 = No 1 = Yes 11.4 Why or why not? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 11.5 IF YES TO 11.4, What were your primary reasons for choosing to vote for your candidate of choice in the last District council elections? (IF NO VOTE, GOTO 11.7) _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 11.6 Did you vote in the 1996 presidential and parliamentary elections? 0 = No 1 = Yes 11.7 Why or why not? _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ 11.8 IF YES TO 11.7, What were your primary reasons for choosing to vote for your candidate of choice in the 1996 presidentia l and parliamentary elections? (IF NO VOTE, GOTO 11.10) _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Do you plan to vote in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007? 0 = No 1 = Yes 11.9 Why or why not? _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ 11.10 Do you plan to vote in the next local government elections in 2008? 0 = No 1 = Yes 11.11 Why or why not? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 11.12 Have you voted in any other elections? 0 = No (GO TO 11.16) 1 = Yes 11.13 What year(s) were those elections held?
242 11.14 Do you feel close to any political party? 0 = No (GO TO 12.0) 1 = Yes 11.15 Which political party do you feel close to? _______________________ (WRITE NAME OF PARTY) 11.16 Why do you feel close to this party? _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ 12.0 Women and Politics: Now I would like to find out your opinion about women and politics. 12.1 What is your opinion about women holding political positions? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ 12.2 Would you ever vote for a woman political candidate for president? 0= No 1=Yes 12.3 Why or why not? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ 12.4 Would you ever vote for a woman to be a member of parliament? 0= No 1=Yes 12.5 Why or why not? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ 12.6 Would you consider financially supporting a woman political candidate? 0= No 1=Yes 12.7 Why or why not? ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ 12.8 In general, do you agree or disagree with the following statements? Disagree strongly Disagree Somewh at Neither agree nor disagree Agree Somewh at Agree strongly A. Women should have the same chance of being elected to political office as men. 1 2 3 4 5 B. Men make better political leaders than women, and should be elected rather than women. 1 2 3 4 5 12.9 It is said that women normally take care of the home. If she becomes involved in politics, do you think that she can still be able to run the house as she did before? (E.g. respect her husband, do domestic work, be respected by others)? 0 = Yes 1=NO
243 12.10 Why or why not? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 12.11 What do you think women in this community should do in order to get into leadership/political positions? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 12.12 Do you think a woman should be able to vote for a candidate of her choice, even if different from that of her husbands? 0 = Yes 1=NO 12.13 Why or why not? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 12.14 Have you heard of decentralization? 0 = No (GO TO 13.1) 1 = Yes 12.14.1 What do you understand by decentralization? _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Have you heard about the Local Government Act? 0 = No [GO TO 13.1] 1 = Yes 12.14.2 What have you heard about the local Government Act _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ 13.0 Support for Democracy 13.1 Which one of these statements do you agree with the most? [CIRCLE CORRECT RESPONSE] A. Democracy is preferable to any other form of government B. In certain situations a non-democratic government can be preferable C. To people like me, it doesnt matter what form of government we have 13.2 Some people say we would be better off if the country was governed differently. What do you think about the following options [ENUMERATOR, PLEASE WRI TE DOWN ANY INTERESTING COMMENTS THAT EXPLAIN WHY RESP ONDENTS FEEL A CERTAIN WAY] 5 Strongly support 4 Support 3 Neither support nor oppose 2 Oppose 1 Strongly oppose A. We should abolish elections and parliament so that the president can decide everything B. The army should come in to govern the country C. Candidates from only one political party should be allowed to stand for elections and hold office D. All decisions should be made by a council of traditional leaders (i.e. Chiefs) E. The most important decisions, for example on the economy, should be left up to you the people
244 14.3 In your opinion, how much of a democracy is Sierra Leone today? 1 = Not a democracy 2 = Major problems, but still a democracy [GOTO 14.4] 3 = Minor problems, but still a democracy [GOTO 14.6] 4 = Full democracy -9 = Dont know 14.4 [IF MAJOR PROBLEMS] What are the problems? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ 14.5 [IF NO DEMOCRACY] Why do you think it is not a democracy? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ 14.6 Generally, how satisfied are you with the way democracy works in Sierra Leone? 1 = Not at all satisfied 2 = Not very satisfied 3 = neither satisfied not dissatisfied 4 = fairly satisfied 5 = Very satisfied -9 = Dont know 14.7 Please explain your choice _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Support for private provision: Now I am going to ask you some questions about the type of role you feel government should play in Sierra Leone 15.1 Who should take the main responsibility for the following tasks? Is it Government in Freetown (G) or District Council (DC) private business (B) rich people (I) NGOS (N) or some combination of these? G/DC (Specify which) B I N Some combination (ASK TO SPECIFY AND WRITE IN) Dont know [do not read] a) Providing schools and clinics 1 2 3 4 5 -9 b) Creating jobs 1 2 3 4 5 -9 c) Building houses 1 2 3 4 5 -9 d) Reducing crime 1 2 3 4 5 -9 e) Buying and selling agricultural and mineral commodities 1 2 3 4 5 -9 f) Helping citizens obtain credit 1 2 3 4 5 -9 h) Road construction 1 2 3 4 5 -9
245 16. Information and Communication 16.1 Where do you get most of your information about the following: [ READ OUT THE LIST OF THINGS, AND ALLOW RESPONDENT TO TELL YOU IN OWN WORD S THEIR PRIMARY SOURCE; THEN ASSIGN RELEV ANT CODE AFTER INTERVIEW] [PLEASE SPECIFIY THE MOST IMPORTANT] 1. Radio 2. Newspapers 3. Friends/family 4. NGO 5. Chief/Village headman 6. Government 7. VDC/WDC/District council 8. Community Notice board/posters 9. Religious leader 10. Teacher 11. Political party representative 12. Campaign/political rally 13. TV 14. Respondent own observations 15. Other, specify __________ -7 Not heard anything A. Government in Freetown B. Politics C. Decentralization D. Local Government Act E. Democracy 16.2 How often do you get news from: 1. Every day 2. Few/Several times a week 3. Once a week/Few times a month 4. Once a month or less 5. Never A. Radio B. Family C. Town Crier D. Friends E. Newspapers 17. If a presidential election were held tomorrow, which partys candidate would you vote for? Thank you very much for your assistance with this work!
246 APPENDIX B SELECT LIST OF INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS INTERVIEWED Interviews conducted with fem ale councillors, Kailahun, August 1, 2006 Councillor Name Chiefdom Frances J. Swarray Malema Chiefdom Frances Wara Jojoima Chiefdom Fatmata B. Sannoh Luawa Chiefdom Tomah B. Kallon Jawei Chiefdom Mary Hawa John-Sao Jawei Chiefdom Tomah B. Kallon Jawei Chiefdom Fatmata B. Sannoh Luawa Chiefdom Interviews and FGDs conducted with key in formants and community members, August 2006 Chiefs Section Chief, Gberia Fatombu, July 31, 2006 Sando, Town Chief, Yaedia, August 1, 2006 Musa Macarthy Joe, Town Chief, Ngeima, August 1, 2006 Musa Bockarie, Section Chief, Ngeblama, August 2, 2006 Mammy Queens Nafahtha Samura, Gberia Fatombu, July 31, 2006 Kumba, Yaedia, August 1, 2006 Hawa Bockarie, Ngeblama August 2, 2006 Mammy Queen, Ngeima, August 4, 2006 Youth Leader Lamin Sovula, PRO, Youth Group, Ngeima, August 30, 2006 Focus Group Discussions, July 31 to August 28th 2006 Koinadugu Yaedia (July 31, 2006) Male Focus Groups 1. VDC and WDC Group -4 VDC a nd 1 WDC member present 2. Male youth group members 9 participants Female Focus Groups 1. VDC and WDC Group members Six participants 2. Female youth group members 11 participants 3. Women elders 3 participants Gberia Fatombu (August 2, 2006) Male focus group Village chief, male elders, male youth group members
247 Female Focus Group Mammy Queen, female elde rs, female youth group Kailahun Ngeblama (August 3-4, 2006) Male Focus Group Youth group members 11 participants Community elders 2 participants Elite Focus Group Ward Development Committee Member 1 participant Village Development Committee Member 1 participant Male Youth Leader 1 participant Female Youth Leader 1 participant Ngeima (August 4, 2006) Male Focus Group Assistant Section Chief Youth group members 9 participants Female focus group Mammy Queen Female youth group members 8 participants Jojoima (August 26th 2006 August 28th 2006) Male focus group Youth group members 5 participants VDC members 5 participants Ward Committee members 3 participants Councillor Representative Female focus group Mammy Queen Female economic groups members 9 participants Female youth group members 3 participants
248 Interviews conducted with Honourables, September 17th to November 14th, 2006 Honourable Name Party Region of Representation Honourable Mary Massalay SLPP Pujehun District Honourable Janet Sam-King SLPP Bo Honourable Veronica Kadi Sesay SLPP West 2, Shenge, Moyamba District Honourable Zainab Kamara SLPP East 1, Freetown Honourable Haja Hafsatu Kabba APC York District Honourable Bernadette Lahai SLPP Kenema District Honourable Musu Kandeh APC Tonkolili District Honourable Elizabeth Lavalie SLPP BO
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262 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Fredlin e MCormack-Hale is a native of Sierra Leone, and grew up in Kenya and Nigeria. She holds masters degrees in mass communicat ion (University of Florida) and gender and development studies (University of Leeds, England). Her B.A. is in mass communications (public relations) from the University of North Florida.