Searle (2008). Decentralisation in the Post Conflict African Environment
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The ten year civil war in Sierra Leone ended in late 2002 with a negotiated peace between the Government and the insurgents. The even longer conflict in Southern Sudan2 finished with a Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January 2005 between the Government of Sudan in Khartoum and the Sudanese Peoples’ Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) based in Juba, Southern Sudan. In both cases, international agencies were involved in brokering the settlement and decentralization of government was seen as one means by which long-term peace might be brought to the people of these nations3. This Paper looks at the processes of trying to decentralize government since the wars stopped, and points to significant differences in the results thus far. It asks why the differences exist and what lessons can be learnt by the International community on how best to assist nations wishing to decentralize their governance structures. In both cases, of course, it is still ‘early days’ after the conflict and therefore difficult to be definitive in what the eventual outcome might be, but some things already seem clear.