Legitimacy as a compass in post-war Sierra Leone
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This dissertation examines the issue of legitimacy in the post-war setting of Sierra Leone. This is done in order to ascertain who has the right to rule according to Sierra Leoneans and where this right comes from. In an attempt to be as accurate as possible, specific conceptual links of legitimacy, namely those of legitimate authority and institution, are deliberately defined and a novel but reasonable guideline concerning the measurement thereof is provided. The research was carried out in three regions, namely in an area in West Freetown, in the provincial town of Kenema and in a remote village. Explicating the methodology followed on the field in a somewhat mathematical way, particular authorities were selected and their legitimacy was examined. This work also undertakes the ambitious task of comparing the sources of legitimacy detected on the ground with those frequently given in literature. It ends by going a step further in investigating the outcomes of granted legitimacy over the diverse authorities for the state itself by taking the debate on fragile, failing and failed states into account. In other words, it explores the obscure link between ‘state fragility’ and the concept of legitimacy. Unexpected limitations of the concept of legitimacy as an analytical frame, as well as its indisputable value are unveiled.