Mediating Election Conflict in a Bruised Society: Code of Conduct Monitoring Committees in Post-War Sierra Leone, 2006-2012
Focus: Elections, Reducing Divisive Effects of Competition
Topics: Dispute Resolution
Type: Case Studies
Author: Rachel Jackson
Keywords: Sierra Leone, Political Parties Registration Commission, National Election Commission, conflict management, peace committees, code of conduct monitoring committees, mediation, electoral conflict, electoral violence, political party liaison committee, dispute resolution, code of conduct,
Sierra Leone's contentious 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections threatened to spark violent conflicts across a country just recovering from brutal civil war. To promote peace, the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC)-which had a constitutional mandate to regulate and monitor political parties to ensure their compliance with electoral laws-used national and district code-monitoring committees to encourage adherence to the electoral code of conduct and to mediate conflicts. The committees served as a dispute resolution mechanism and as an important early warning system to identify electoral violence. Partly because of those measures, the 2007 national elections and the 2008 local council elections were largely peaceful despite pessimistic early warning reports. As the 2012 elections approached, the PPRC restructured the committees to include traditional leaders in order to strengthen the committees' capacity to mediate local conflicts. The restructuring enabled the committees to address electoral conflicts more effectively across Sierra Leone.
Rachel Jackson drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Sierra Leone, in February 2013. Case published July 2013.