This study is a historical analysis of Sierra Leone’s state structure in the 20th and 21st centuries. This period was marked by defective leadership and insatiable greed that created political failure at both the national and regional level. The absence of a long-term democratic leader, coupled with the lack of institutions aimed at guiding effective resource distribution enabled the gradual collapse of the state in the wake of independence. Appropriation of wealth and corruption slowly established a cleavage between the rich elite who were in the minority, and the impoverished, uneducated and malnourished majority who eventually took up arms against the state. The latter group bonded under the Revolutionary United Front/Sierra Leone (RUF/SL) banner, and engaged the state in a civil war that lasted from 1991 to 2002.
Key words: Civil war, state weakness, regional crisis.
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