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The Landscape of Local Authority in Sierra Leone : How "Traditional" and "Modern" Justice and Governance Systems Interact

ABUSES ACCESS TO JUSTICE ACCESS TO LAND ACCOUNTABILITY ADMINISTRATION REFORM ANTI-CORRUPTION BAILIFF CENTRAL GOVERNMENT CITIZEN CITIZENS CITIZENSHIP CIVIL SERVANTS CIVIL SOCIETY CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS CIVIL WAR COLLECTIVE ACTION COMMUNAL LABOR COMMUNAL WORK COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY GOVERNANCE COMMUNITY MEMBERS COMMUNITY-DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT COMPLAINT CONSENSUS CONSTITUENCY CONSTITUTION CORRUPT CORRUPTION COURT COURT OFFICIALS COURT SYSTEM COURTS CRIME CRIMINAL CUSTODY CUSTOMARY LAW DECENTRALIZATION DECISION MAKING DECISION-MAKING DECISION-MAKING POWER DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES DEMOCRACY DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES DISTRICTS EXECUTION FAMILIES FEMALE FORMAL EDUCATION GENDER GENDER EQUITY GENITAL MUTILATION GOOD GOVERNANCE GOVERNANCE REFORM GOVERNMENT AGENCIES GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES GOVERNMENT SYSTEMS HOME HOUSES HUMAN RIGHTS IMPRISONMENT INSTITUTIONAL REFORM INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS INVESTIGATION JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE JUDICIARY JURISDICTION JUSTICE JUSTICE SYSTEM LAW REFORM LAWS LEADERSHIP LEGAL PROTECTION LEGISLATION LEGITIMACY LOCAL AUTHORITIES LOCAL AUTHORITY LOCAL COMMUNITIES LOCAL COUNCILS LOCAL GOVERNANCE LOCAL GOVERNMENT LOCAL TAX MARGINALIZATION MEDIA MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT MINISTER NATIONAL LEVEL NATIONS NATURAL RESOURCES NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS PATRONAGE POLICE POLICE FORCE POLICE OFFICERS POLITICAL AUTHORITY POLITICAL LEADERS POLITICAL PARTIES POLITICIAN POLITICIANS PRESIDENCY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES PUBLIC AFFAIRS PUBLIC RESOURCES REFUGEES REVENUE COLLECTION RULE OF LAW RURAL YOUTH SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS SOCIAL ACTION SOCIAL CAPITAL SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT SOCIAL NORMS STATE INSTITUTIONS SUBVERSION TAX COLLECTION TAX RECEIPTS THEFT TRANSPARENCY TREATIES VICTIMS VIOLENCE WILL WOMAN YOUNG PEOPLE YOUTH YOUTH LEADERS YOUTH REPRESENTATIVES
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World Bank, Washington, DC
Africa | Sierra Leone
2014-04-28T22:32:07Z | 2014-04-28T22:32:07Z | 2009-01

The topic of this paper is, in the words of one reviewer, 'one of the most discussed sociological and societal issues in African studies: the relationship between traditional institutions and new institutions'. Often in such discussions, the 'traditional' and 'modern' are framed as if in opposition to one another, and debate centers on whether and to what extent tradition should cede to modernity, or modernity should yield to the dictates of traditional norms. In Sierra Leone, much has been said and written about the abuses of the chieftaincy system and customary law, including the history of chieftaincy as a tool for colonial rule, the exploitation of youth labor, the exclusion of 'strangers' and young men from weak lineages from access to land or marriage, the imposition of harsh and arbitrary fines, and discriminatory practices against women. Many have argued that abusive and autocratic practices by traditional authorities helped to fuel the civil war that ravaged Sierra Leone in the 1990s by driving aggrieved young men away from their villages and into the various armed factions, in rebellion against a social system that trapped them in a rural underclass. On the other hand, many people see the traditional justice and governance systems as important mechanisms for maintaining peace and social order, particularly in rural areas. Some on this side of the argument see the war as having resulted from a breakdown in this social order, and make the case for strengthening the chieftaincy systems to consolidate peace and promote development today.

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