Chieftaincy Reform and Liberal Peace-Building in Sierra Leone



This chapter explores a broad perspective of chieftaincy in precolonial and colonial Africa, especially Sierra Leone. It examines the typologies of chieftaincy in West Africa based on centralized and noncentralized political systems. It argues that the colonial establishment relied on chiefs in the construction and governance of the colonial state. Chieftaincy was one of the diverse forms of traditional political leadership in Africa in the precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial periods. This study examines the following questions: What structure or character should chieftaincy reform adopt? Should such reform(s) take into consideration the variegated nature of chieftaincy practice and structure in Sierra Leone? Did the reform of the chieftaincy institution under the aegis of the liberal peace paradigm succeed? What are some suggestions for such reforms? In investigating these issues, this chapter will be divided into three major sections: the first deals with the general debate surrounding the institution of chieftaincy in Africa (including typologies); the second deals with chieftaincy and its reforms in postwar Sierra Leone; and the third discusses the liberal peace thesis and its implication for chieftaincy reform in Sierra Leone. The chapter concludes with suggestions for chieftaincy reform in the country.


Colonial Rule Colonial State Traditional Leadership Traditional Institution Legal Pluralism 
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© Joseph Lansana Kormoh 2016

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