Political tension, civil unrest or violent conflicts have afflicted all regions in Africa. Thus, collapsing social and economic structures and generating further political tensions. Consequently, development has also been severely retarded. Therefore, the continent has a daunting task of resolving existing conflicts and the challenge of promoting post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building. Thus, the need for an effective post-conflict reconstruction processes and the necessary institutions to support them (Murithi, 2006).
This paper discusses the effectiveness of the Africa’s Post-conflict Policy framework in contributing to peace, development and security in Sub Sahara Africa particularly Sierra Leone.
Effectiveness of the Africa’s Post-conflict Policy Framework
Post-conflict reconstruction characteristically involves the repair and reconstruction of physical and economic infrastructure, it also entails a number of interventions aimed at rebuilding weakened institutions. Thus, interventions include; jump-starting the economy; reconstructing the framework for democratic governance; rebuilding and maintaining key social infrastructure; and planning for financial normalization (Colletta and Cullen, 2000).
The AU adopted a comprehensive strategy for post-conflict reconstruction sustainable peace and development. Thus, the NEPAD programme has developed an African Post-Conflict Reconstruction Policy Framework through a broad consultative process which included partnering with civil society organisations (New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), 2005).
The African Post-Conflict Reconstruction Policy Framework articulates a policy that would coordinate and guide the AU Commission, the NEPAD Secretariat, regional economic communities (RECs), civil society, the private sector and other internal and external partners in the process of rebuilding war-affected communities. Principally each country should adopt a PCR strategy that responds to its own particular context. The five pillars of a PCR system that can address complex issues following conflict are: security; political transition, governance and participation; socio-economic development; human rights, justice and reconciliation; and coordination, management and resource mobilization (NEPAD, 2005). These five dimensions must complement each other in order to maximise the chances of establishing an effective PCR process.
Through NEPAD, the African Union has a post-conflict strategic framework which the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is responsible for its appropriation and implementation. In 2002, ECOWAS began implementing NEPAD policies in West Africa and Sierra Leone in particular. Consequently, since 2002, the Government of Sierra Leone launched several large initiatives to revive a country battered after eleven years of war. This included: establishing a decentralisation policy; promoting good governance; assessing the judicial system in order to create a solid judicial system in the capital and the provinces which were lacking access to services; instituting reforms to improve private sector capacities and effectiveness; and reforming the security system notably the armed forces and the police (Diallo, et al, 2007).
According to Fayemi (2005) addressing questions of impunity has proved to be a tough challenge of post-conflict security sector reconstruction anywhere in the world. In line with the policy framework, Sierra Leone agreed to clear provisions for addressing human rights violations. According to Diallo, et al (2007) the Government of Sierra Leone established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Court for Sierra Leone as transitional justice institutions with the aim of promoting peace and reconciliation. Both of these structures have contributed to dealing with the difficult post-conflict situation in Sierra Leone. Most of Sierra Leoneans approved the positive role of post-conflict reconciliation, but the simultaneous establishment of the two institutions had not been well-received. The media highly publicized establishment of the commission and the court. However, they were underfunded to carry out their mandate effectively.
According to Murithi (2006) the policy framework also acknowledges that each conflict situation is context specific. Therefore, according to Nkhulu (2005) based on the atrocities they experienced Sierra Leoneans needed an effective policy for ensuring that perpetrators of injustice were brought to book. However, the Policy Framework does not adequately address the issue that impunity during times of civil unrest and conflicts should not be tolerated.
Security sector reconstruction in the rebuilding efforts of states emerging from conflict is a complex and delicate issue. Security sector reform (SSR) was vital for ensuring that national defence and police forces re-orient their activities towards building sustainable peace Sierra Leone. Thus, security has received considerable attention since 1998 in Sierra Leone. The police had undergone a complete reorientation of its mission and objectives. However, the police forces continue to suffer tremendous shortfalls in personnel, training and resources in spite of considerable efforts to improve their conditions (Fayemi, 2005).
According Murithi (2006) the policy framework emphases disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants with a view to ensuring that demobilised fighters have access to rehabilitation programmes that enable them to acquire new skills and facilitate their transition back into society. Consequently, Fayemi (2005) states more than ﬁve years after the end of conﬂict in Sierra Leone, considerable progress had been made in terms of the short-term goals of demobilization of ex-combatants and reintegration work across the country. Between 1998 and 2002, 72,500 combatants were disarmed and demobilised and 42,300 weapons and 1.2 million pieces of ammunition were collected and destroyed (GFN-SSR, 2003). By the end of 2002, nearly 57,000 ex-combatants had registered for re-integration exercises with the intention of undergoing skills training and receiving assistance to find jobs (ICG, 2003).
However, in spite of the progress made, in broader security terms, the most pertinent problems are the challenges of unemployment facing the demobilized young men and women. This eﬀectively links the immediate search for security with the need for development (Fayemi, 2005).
According NEPAD (2005) the Policy Framework identifies the need for resource mobilization to respond to infrastructural development and human needs. In order to focus efforts to raise funds an AU Peace Fund was established to concentrate resources on PCR. However, according to Grant (2005) in Sierra Leone the policy framework has failed to help halt the trafficking of natural resources (diamonds, etc.) that continues to deprive the country of the needed supplementary income to set up political reforms and infrastructural development.
On the other hand, Diallo, et al (2007) argues that some Sierra Leoneans perceived the implementation of the PSRP (Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper) as a strategy imposed by the international community but not sufficiently re-cultural, economic and political realities. According to African Development Bank (2000) the Policy Framework needs to acknowledge that local PCR does not take place in a global vacuum. The involvement of International financial institutions should not undermine peace building and reconstruction. People should own externally driven post-conflict reconstruction processes.
In addition, the Policy Framework does not explicitly address the issue of culture and how it can contribute towards PCR. Sierra Leon traditional cultural values could have been used to establish post-conflict systems of governance and the rule of law. This has potential to deal with potential sources of conflict before a violent conflict situation reignite. Cultural resources for rebuilding and reconstruction of war-affected communities seem to be marginalised from ongoing PCR efforts in Sierra Leone (Murithi, 2006).
In spite of all the efforts that are underway in Sierra Leone, sustainable peace, security and development is still a challenge. According to Samii (2005) the African Policy Framework provides an overall strategy from which individual country programmes can develop their own context-specific plans and progress. There is need for greater collaboration between the AU and NEPAD and the regional economic ECOWAS as well as external actors to outline PCR strategies in Sierra Leone. The challenge is transforming these policies into coherent and practical strategies on the ground in Sierra Leone. Unfortunately, AU/NEPAD has no capacity to mobilise resources to undertake PCR effectively. External actors like the UN and the World Bank have far more resources and experience to handle PCR. The scope and depth of post-conflict reconstruction in Sierra Leone must extend beyond the simple rebuilding of physical infrastructure. It should include intangible social needs such as healing societal scars from the civil war and eradicating corruption in the public and corporate arenas a thing that the policy framework does not explicitly address.
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