Sierra Leone

Mohamed Konneh

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7
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Nealin Parker
Name
Mohamed Konneh
Interviewee's Position
Program Officer
Interviewee's Organization
National Democratic Institute (NDI)
Language
English
Town/City
Freetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

In this interview, Konneh explains the work of the NDI in expanding democracy in Sierra Leone. NDI’s work centers on elections and ranges from civic education and the strengthening of civil society to political party work to international election observation. Konneh explains trends that have been particularly problematic to expanding democracy in Sierra Leone, such as the regionalism that divides political parties, campaign culture, voter apathy and lack of civic education. He then details the ways in which NDI has confronted these issues, giving suggestions to other countries facing similar obstacles to democracy. Konneh also speaks to election-related violence endemic to Sierra Leone and the extent to which NDI has tried to prevent or predict such violence through collaboration with security forces, but also points out the organization’s limitations. He concludes by addressing the importance of adequate funding for countries to be able to ensure election success.

Profile

At the time of this interview, Mohamed Konneh was a program officer with the National Democratic Institute’s (NDI) office in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Previously, he worked as a trainer at Management Systems International. In this capacity, he worked on a project called Youth Reintegration and Education for Peace in Sierra Leone, which helped war-affected youth and ex-combatants in rehabilitation. He also was involved with P.A.L.S. (Pause, Assess, Listen, Solve) through NDI—a program to prevent election-related violence in 2007.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in development and economics at the Institute of Advanced Management and Technology, an affiliate to Najala University.

Sheka Mansaray

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12
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Arthur Boutellis
Name
Sheka Mansaray
Interviewee's Position
Former National Security Adviser
Interviewee's Organization
Sierra Leone
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Sierra Leone
Town/City
Freetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Sheka Mansaray talks about the strides that Sierra Leone's police service has made since the brutal civil war which ended in 2002.  He details the chaotic security situation when he took over as national security adviser in 1998, and he talks about the decision to recruit a foreigner to be the inspector general of the reorganized police force.  This decision was based on the importance he assigned to having a neutral person in the role, in order to help rebuild public respect, to assist in depoliticizing the service and to provide expertise and knowledge.   Mansaray also talks about redefining intelligence roles within the police and military in order to reduce duplication of effort.  He talks about the importance of extensive and effective training for police because of the agency's close engagement with the public and the increasing sophistication of criminals.  He believes training in upper-level management skills has been very successful and advocates a stronger focus on training lower-ranking police who walk beats.  Mansaray emphasizes that despite the continued challenges, the Sierra Leonean police have made progress in transforming a politicized force allied with “dysfunctional elements in society” into a more effective and accountable service.

Case Study: Building Strategic Capacity in the Police: Sierra Leone, 1998-2008

Profile

Sheka Mansaray started his career in Sierra Leone as a foreign service officer. He held the positions of first secretary in the U.K., and head of chancellery at the Sierra Leone mission to the United Nations. In 1998, he returned to Sierra Leone and became  national security adviser and special adviser to the president. In 2000, he went to Princeton University and earned a master's degree in public policy, after which he returned to Sierra Leone as the head of civil service/chief of staff. He remained in that position until his retirement in January 2008.
 

Full Audio File Size
42.5MB
Full Audio Title
Sheka Mansaray-Full Interview

William Hogan

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5
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Ashley McCants
Name
William Hogan
Interviewee's Position
United Nations Logistics Adviser
Interviewee's Organization
National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Australian
Town/City
Freetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

William Hogan discusses his experiences as a United Nations logistics adviser for Sierra Leone's National Electoral Commission.  He talks about the potential for institutions like the commission to become dependent on aid organizations and donors, and the problems that this presents for creating sustainable and independent institutions, as well as for ensuring that the programs reflect the interests of the country and not the interests of donors.  Hogan emphasizes the importance of long-term capacity building and the need for self-criticism among civil servants within the commission, in order for them to grow in their capacity and in their functional independence.  He mentions the difficulties with working through linguistic barriers and with limited tools and infrastructure, and concludes by emphasizing the importance of understanding each country’s unique characteristics and context in policy decisions.     

Profile
At the time of this interview, William Hogan was a United Nations logistics adviser to the National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone.  He joined the U.N. as a volunteer in 1993 and served in a number of countries, including Afghanistan, Cambodia and Mozambique.   Subsequent to this interview, Hogan worked in Moldova, Kenya and Tanzania with the U.N., and in Uganda on the South Sudan referendum.  He then worked in the Solomon Islands with AusAID as the election operations adviser to the Electoral Commission.   In his native Australia, Hogan spent about 15 years at the Electoral Commission.

 

Full Audio File Size
41 MB
Full Audio Title
William Hogan - Full Interview

Alex Paila

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2
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Ashley McCants
Name
Alex Paila
Interviewee's Position
Voter Education and Public Relations Officer
Interviewee's Organization
National Electoral Commission, Sierra Leone
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Sierra Leone
Town/City
Bo District
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Alex Paila discusses various aspects of national and local election management in Sierra Leone during 2007 and 2008. These areas include the recruitment, training, evaluation and monitoring of election staff; election security; voter registration, audits and curtailment of voter fraud; information dissemination, media relations and enfranchisement of marginalized groups; and financial and logistical constraints and concerns.  He also emphasizes cooperation with community-based civilian organizations as key for information dissemination and higher voter turnouts, and he stresses relations with international organizations to improve workers’ training and monitoring, and secure funding. Paila also speaks about the issues of districting and determining electoral timetables.  Finally, he reflects upon some of the challenges faced by Sierra Leone during the elections in 2007 and 2008, as well as possible hurdles that the country may face in the future.    

Profile

At the time of the interview, Alex Paila was the voter education and public relations officer at the National Electoral Commission in Sierra Leone. Prior to that, he worked as a journalist for various newspapers, including the Ceylon Times and the Spectator. He was also employed, first as a reporter and then as deputy news editor, at the Sierra Leone Broadcast Service. Paila holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. 

Full Audio File Size
84 MB
Full Audio Title
Alex Paila - Full Interview

Vincent Dzakpata

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4
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Arthur Boutellis
Name
Vincent Dzakpata
Interviewee's Position
United Nations Police Chief of Staff
Interviewee's Organization
United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Ghanaian
Town/City
Freetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Vincent Dzakpata recounts his experiences as the United Nations Police chief of staff in the U.N. Integrated Office in Sierra Leone.  He was brought in to help build the capacity of the Sierra Leone police service and improve professionalism in preparation for the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections.  Dzakpata identifies some of the major obstacles that reformers in the country faced, including a lack of motivation and commitment among officers and their reluctance to take ownership of proposed reforms.  Another major issue was poverty.  Many of the members of the Sierra Leone police were under severe financial pressure, to the point that it inhibited their ability to perform their jobs.  The officers, particularly those of the unarmed general policing unit, often lacked the self-confidence required to effectively do their jobs; some claimed that northerners tended to be favored in the system.  Dzakpata maintains the importance of improving the self-regulation mechanisms within the police force, as well as the expansion of the mechanisms in place for external regulation, including the Complaints Disciplinary Internal Investigations Department, which he commends as having helped restore public trust in the Sierra Leone police.  He suggests that reforms likely would have achieved greater success and permanance if the U.N. had the authority to take disciplinary action against state officers who resisted change.

Case Study:  Building Strategic Capacity in the Police: Sierra Leone, 1998-2008

Profile

At the time of this interview, Vincent Dzakpata was the United Nations Police chief of staff in the U.N. Integrated Office in Sierra Leone.  After leaving teacher training college, he joined the police force in his native Ghana for a number of years, working in many departments including criminal investigations and operations, and eventually served as both a divisional and regional police commander.  Dzakpata’s first experience with international policing came with his 1997 deployment to Bosnia, where he served as a district human rights officer and later as a district elections officer.  He was deployed to Sierra Leone in 2006, initially as the U.N. police adviser on professional standards and eventually as the chief of staff of the U.N. police. 

Full Audio File Size
55 MB
Full Audio Title
Vincent Dzakpata Interview

Isabel Otero

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7
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Ashley McCants
Name
Isabel Otero
Interviewee's Position
Procedures and Training Adviser to the National Electoral Commission
Interviewee's Organization
UNDP Electoral Assistance Team in Sierra Leone
Language
English
Town/City
Freetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Isabel Otero discusses the efforts by the United Nations Development Programme Electoral Assistance Team to build electoral management capacity in Sierra Leone. She discusses the 2007 parliamentary and presidential elections and the 2008 local government election. She begins by discussing the development of procedures and worker training by the UNDP. Otero speaks about various strategies used to curtail voter fraud and fraud by officials in the elections through the monitoring of registration lists, ballot papers, identification methods and other means. She also discusses the relationship between the UNDP and the National Electoral Commission. Finally, she reflects upon challenges that the electoral commission may face in the future, and offers advice for building capacity in electoral management in other states with little experience regarding elections. 
Profile

At the time of this interview, Isabel Otero was employed at the United Nations Development Programme Electoral Assistance Team in Sierra Leone. At the UNDP, she served as procedures and training adviser for the National Electoral Commission in Sierra Leone, a position that she held since 2006. Prior to working in Sierra Leone, she served in Liberia as a training and capacity building adviser. She also previously served as a training officer in Afghanistan, and during both the national constituency assembly election and the presidential election in Timor-Leste. Prior to working on electoral issues at the U.N., Otero worked on gender-equity issues in Colombia with various non-governmental organizations. She holds a master’s degree in philosophy. 

Full Audio File Size
72 MB
Full Audio Title
Isabel Otero - Full Interview

Samuel Harbor

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7
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Arthur Boutellis
Name
Samuel Harbor
Interviewee's Position
Deputy Resident Representative
Interviewee's Organization
United Nations Development Programme, Sierra Leone
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Nigerian
Town/City
Freetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Samuel Harbor discusses his role as the deputy resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Sierra Leone.  He was particularly involved with efforts to reform the Sierra Leone National Police through increased training, capacity building and coordinating the provision of essential equipment.  Harbor identifies the major challenges that these reform efforts faced, including limited funding, high rates of poverty and low rates of pay for officers, donors acting in a leading rather than a supportive role, and reconciling disparate or rival groups within the police force.  He maintains that each change in policy must be sustainable beyond donor involvement and must be nationally owned and led, and he stresses the importance of reformers clearly delineating their goals.  He expresses optimism about the potential for reform, emphasizing that Sierra Leone had the unique opportunity to essentially start from scratch following the lengthy civil war, and that the country had substantial amounts of untapped valuable natural resources.  He also commends the success that the police force had achieved in community policing and in increasing the proportion of women in the service.     

Profile

At the time of this interview, Samuel Harbor was the deputy resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Freetown, Sierra Leone.  He earned his master’s degree in business administration in the United States, then returned to his native Nigeria to work in banking, the stock exchange and as a consultant for Ernst & Young.  In 1986, he joined the U.N. in Nigeria and later worked with the organization in a number of countries, including Gambia, East Timor and Ethiopia, before Sierra Leone. 

Full Audio File Size
43 MB
Full Audio Title
Samuel Harbor Interview

Victoria Stewart-Jolley

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14
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Nealin Parker
Name
Victoria Stewart-Jolley
Interviewee's Position
Legal Adviser
Interviewee's Organization
United Nations Development Programme Electoral Assistance Team, Sierra Leone
Language
English
Town/City
Freetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Victoria Stewart-Jolley discusses electoral management and electoral law and procedures in Sierra Leone in 2007 and 2008. She analyzes the significance of choice of electoral system, including simple plurality, proportional representation, and block representations, especially in post-conflict states; and she discusses the Constitution of Sierra Leone with regard to election law. Stewart-Jolley speaks about the process for legislating operational procedures, the various challenges faced by the National Electoral Commission in this regard, and the outcomes of these enactments. She considers the nature and functioning of the commission, and discusses the tradeoffs between independence, transparency and political concerns that an electoral management body faces. She reflects upon issues relating to resolving electoral disputes, and the repercussions of various strategies on confidence building in post-conflict countries. Stewart-Jolley also touches upon Sierra Leone’s efforts to enfranchise marginalized demographic groups, and to represent them in government. Finally, she reflects on the role that international organizations play in domestic electoral matters, and the balance that they must strike between offering advice and implementation.
Profile

At the time of this interview, Victoria Stewart-Jolley was a legal adviser for the United Nations Development Programme's Electoral Assistance Team in Sierra Leone, a position that she had held since March 2007. She worked during the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections as well as the 2008 local elections to create legal frameworks for electoral management. Prior to working in Sierra Leone, she was a lawyer for the Electoral Complaints Commission in Afghanistan. Stewart-Jolley also worked in international criminal law in Timor-Leste, and in World Trade Organization law in Indonesia. She holds a law degree and has a background in international public law and constitutional law.

Full Audio File Size
61MB
Full Audio Title
Victoria Stewart-Jolley Interview

Kabiru Ibrahim

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9
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Arthur Boutellis
Name
Kabiru Ibrahim
Interviewee's Position
United Nations Police Elections Adviser
Interviewee's Organization
United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Nigerian
Town/City
Freetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Kabiru Ibrahim discusses the nature of the relationship between the Sierra Leonean Police and the United Nations Police, and the policing reforms that they were jointly pursuing.  Most of the reforms involve a high degree of training and capacity building.  The best and most cost-effective training method for a country like Sierra Leone, Ibrahim asserts, is to provide training for a small number of officers and equip them with the skills to train the rest of the Sierra Leonean Police.  As the U.N. Police elections adviser in the country, he identifies the major challenges that reformers face, including limited resources, weak discipline within the Sierra Leonean Police, and the division and distrust that exists between the unarmed general duty police and the armed operational support division.  Ibrahim also discusses issues surrounding investigation and crime management, specifically the tendency of police officers to bring a large number of cases to trial, but failing to follow through on the cases.  He concludes by maintaining that the reform efforts were succeeding slowly and that more resources would have increased effectiveness.

Profile

At the time of this interview, Kabiru Ibrahim was the United Nations Police elections adviser at the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone.  A Nigerian, he attended Nigerian Military School before deciding to shift his focus and join the police service.  He began working with the international police force in 2000, and was deployed as a U.N. police officer to Kosovo and Burundi before his deployment to Sierra Leone in 2007. 

Full Audio File Size
43 MB
Full Audio Title
Kabiru Ibrahim Interview

Robert Bradley

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2
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Arthur Boutellis
Name
Robert Bradley
Interviewee's Position
Interim Component Manager, Safety and Security
Interviewee's Organization
Justice Sector Development Programme
Language
English
Town/City
Freetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Robert Bradley details his past policing experiences and discusses his role as the manager of the Justice Sector Development Programme in the security sector reform in Sierra Leone. Bradley outlines the program's priorities: supporting the Complaints, Discipline, Internal Investigation Department to build capacity, working with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the inspector general of police, and encouraging police partnership boards at the grassroots level, where the community can hold the police accountable. Oversight agencies like the press, the courts, and non-governmental organizations also engaged in monitoring police activities. Bradley also highlights policing lessons drawn from his past experiences in Australia, Cambodia, Cyprus, Mozambique and other locales. He advises international organizations that are offering reform assistance to partner with locals who have knowledge of their country’s systems and laws. In the area of capacity building, he urges such organizations to design and develop training programs within the country, because people are more likely to accept homegrown solutions, and the outcomes last longer. 
 
Profile

At the time of this interview, Robert Bradley was the interim component manager ofsafety and security at the Justice Sector Development Programme in Freetown, Sierra Leone. His career in policing began in 1966 when he joined the former Australian Capital Territory police. In 1967, he was drafted into the army and he served in Vietnam. On his return to Australia in 1969, Bradley was reappointed to the ACT police. He participated in community policing in Jervis Bay and later, he worked on criminal investigations and in the Juvenile Aid Bureau. Bradley also served in the general policing division, which dealt primarily with positions related to United Nations work such as recruitment and training of officers for overseas deployment. He was a part of the U.N. missions to Cyprus, Cambodia and Mozambique. In 1995, Bradley resigned from the police force and set up police training programs in Bosnia, Eastern Slovenia, Mongolia and other areas.  

Full Audio File Size
63 MB
Full Audio Title
Robert Bradley - Full Interview