Freedom in the World
Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
During 2010, efforts were made to establish collaborative and tolerant inter-party politics. However, the government in May announced a controversial plan to launch an inquest into the military junta’s 1992 executions of the former police inspector-general and 27 others. A free healthcare initiative was launched in April aimed at reducing infant and maternal mortality rates, and the government in June inaugurated a five-year plan to implement UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 for women’s rights. In September, the United Nations lifted the arms embargo and remaining sanctions that had been in effect since 1997.
Founded by Britain in 1787 as a haven for liberated slaves, Sierra Leone achieved independence in 1961. Siaka Stevens, who became prime minister in 1967 and then president in 1971, transformed Sierra Leone into a one-party state under his All People’s Congress (APC) party. In 1985, Stevens retired and handed power to his designated successor, General Joseph Momoh. The Revolutionary United Front (RUF) launched a guerrilla insurgency from Liberia in 1991, sparking a civil war that would last for more than a decade.Military officer Valentine Strasser ousted Momoh the following year, but failed to deliver on the promise of elections. General Julius Maada-Bio deposed Strasser in 1996, and elections were held despite military and rebel intimidation. Voters chose former UN diplomat Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) as president.
Sierra Leone is an electoral democracy. International observers determined that the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections were free and fair and power was transferred peacefully to the opposition. Of the unicameral Parliament’s 124 members, 112 are chosen by popular vote and 12 are reserved for indirectly elected paramount chiefs. Parliamentary and presidential elections are held every five years, and presidents may seek a second term.