A study exploring the implementation of decentralisation: A case study of a district council in Sierra Leone
In March 1991, a civil war broke out in Sierra Leone and the conflict raged for 11 years ending in 2002. Following the end of the war, a '˜Truth and Reconciliation Commission' was set up to examine the causes of the war. The government then commissioned two policy documents called: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper I (PRSP I) and Poverty Strategy Reduction Paper (PRSP II). In both PRSPs decentralisation was identified as a core strategy to address the causes of the war. In 2011, the Department for International Development (DFID) commissioned a study into the Sierra Leone decentralisation programme. The study found that there is need to revise and expand the Local Government Act and that the constraint for an effective decentralisation system in Sierra Leone is political rather than technical. This research is undertaken on this backdrop to investigate further the factors affecting the implementation of decentralisation in Sierra Leone.
Based on the sensitive nature of the study, a case study with a fictitious identity is used where all the participants opted to be anonymous. The study is purely qualitative where elite interviews were conducted. The research participants are selected across the countryâ€™s decentralisation spectrum including key decentralisation actors from the locality of the case study and other relevant decentralisation institutions in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.
In line with the findings of the DFID study this research identified additional factors affecting the decentralisation process in Sierra Leone. The identified factors relate to: fiscal, political, administrative and design issues. The study therefore proposes a revised institutional framework where Chiefdom Councils are integrated into Local Councils in locations where the institution of Chieftaincy exist. In this case Traditional Leaders become key part of the governance structure of Local Councils thereby mitigating the debilitating effect of partisan politics on decentralisation.
- School of Management