Peacebuilding in Sierra Leone and Liberia: A Comparative Perspective
Far from the linear model of transition from civil war to post-war peacebuilding and reconstruction suggested in the conict resolution literature of the early 1990s, the transitional period between the signing of peace agreements and consolidation of fragile peace has been fraught with difculties and uncertainties. From Angola to Sierra Leone, Liberia to Cambodia, peace settlements have unravelled few years after coming into effect. There have however been notable success stories in places like Mozambique, Namibia and El Salvador. But what counts as success in a peace process? What are the factors determining such success or failure? What is the role, if any, of regional and international actors in the process? There is a burgeoning body of literature over the past decade focusing on the determinants of a successful peace process and transitional period.1 But such studies have been hampered by the wide variety of contexts and intervening factors involved. This chapter compares the peacebuilding interventions in Liberia and Sierra Leone after the withdrawal of ECOWAS sub-regional peacekeepers and evaluates the efforts of domestic, regional and international actors in building sustainable peace. Although the focus of this book is on ECOWAS, however an analysis of the transitional period in these countries that does not take into account the contributions of other actors will be severely constrained. By integrating ECOWAS’ operations within the wider framework of peacebuilding activities in these countries, this chapter will provide alternative explanations for the difculties and challenges faced by the sub-regional organisation.