The thesis has two main objectives. First, it explores the power dynamics in the government-chieftaincy nexus in Sierra Leone. Secondly, the thesis examines what implications the relationship between various governments and the chieftaincy have had for conflict creation. Undertaking this exploration, the thesis has analyzed three historical periods marked by significant contextual changes in the government-chieftaincy nexus, these being: colonialism, early Independence and the post war era.
The conclusions of the thesis show that the various governments in Sierra Leone constantly aim at establishing links to the chieftaincy in order to create social control with the peripheral areas of Sierra Leone, beyond government reach. These links are predominantly based on modes of accountability and reciprocal obligations. Further, while some government’s cooperation with the chiefs have rested on a shared ideological platform, these governments and chiefs essentially being part of one and the same power-elite, other governments have used forceful and coercive strategies in order to instate chiefs that would act as their loyal intermediaries.
The findings of the thesis show that the government-chieftaincy nexus in Sierra Leone is conflict creating because its relations of accountability have legitimized the chief’s use of excessive force towards their local populations, as well as fraudulent use of chiefdom funds. This in turn has been one of the root causes to many of the violent conflicts which have taken place in Sierra Leone, including the civil war.