Following the Constitution of 1991, Sierra Leone is a
single-state multi-party republic. The executive has been
added to a president- elect for five years; the president
also heads the government. The legislative authority has
been added to a parliament with 112 members, elected in the
general election for five years. In addition, 12 members are
elected as governors of the provinces in separate elections.
The governing body in the ethnically diverse country has
been unstable and the constitution was in effect out of
force during the civil war from 1991 to the 2002 elections,
organized by the UN. The country itself organized the
elections in 2007 and 2012, and has been characterized as
open and fair by international election observers.
Administratively, the country is divided into three
provinces; northern, eastern and southern, as well as an
area; Western Area, all governed by government-appointed
officials. There are 147 chieftains, each governed by a
chief and an elder. The chiefs are chosen among chiefs
families. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how SL can stand for Sierra Leone.
The courts include a Supreme Court, a Court of Appeal, a
High Court of Justice. The legislation is based on local
traditions and British examples.
In addition to the fight against corruption, Koroma
concentrated on infrastructure projects to secure the
rebuilding of the country after the Civil War, and he lined
up closely for Britain to secure aid and investment. He was
therefore also one of the only African leaders to sharply
criticize President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe - in line with
From 2008, the country stepped up the fight against drug
crime. Colombian drug traffickers are increasingly using the
country as an intermediary for cocaine exports to Europe.
At its April 2009 party convention, the APC decided to
re-elect Koroma for the November 2012 presidential election.
In 2010, the government adopted a program of free medical
care for pregnant, nursing mothers and children under 5. The
same year, the political and violent contradictions flared
up between the country's two major political parties, the
APC and the SLPP. The government replaced 200 senior
bureaucrats in the southern and eastern provinces with
members and supporters of the ruling party APC.
In April 2012, the Special Court of the Sierra Leone
(SCSL) in The Hague found Liberia's former President Charles
Taylor guilty of all 11 counts, including the use of child
soldiers, murder, rape, sexual slavery, in one war crimes
and crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to 50 years in
prison. In July, both the defense and the prosecution
appealed the verdict. In September 2013, an appeal court
upheld the verdict and in October Taylor was transferred to
a prison in northeast England where the sentence was to be
However, the epidemic proved far from over. In
December-January, more cases were recorded in Sierra Leone
than in the other West African countries combined. Although
both authorities and international organizations repeatedly
felt that the situation was under control several times
during 2015, new centers emerged. In February 2016, the
preliminary latest case was registered. In March, WHO
initiated a 90-day countdown period, so that by June 2016,
Sierra Leone would be able to declare Ebola freely. There
had then been 14,122 cases registered and 3,955 deaths
recorded. Only surpassed by Liberia.
The epidemic had disastrous consequences for society.
Political and social rights were curtailed and economic
activity fell drastically as a result of the closure of
borders and the isolation of the various parts of the
country. But isolation was a crucial step to stop the spread
of the disease.
There was growing tension between foreign food companies
and the country's farmers. In February, 6 people were
sentenced to 6 months in prison or fined for destroying palm
oil trees during protests in 2013 in Pujehun district
against a palm oil project run by Socfin. The peasants
insisted that they had not authorized the involvement of
their land for the project. The same month, the district
court ordered the Chinese company Orient Agriculture Limited
to restore 600 acres of land belonging to 70 families in
Nimiyama. In 2013, the company had signed a contract with
the local chief and local leaders for the purchase of cheap
land, but without the farmers' knowledge.