Transition with Minimal Assistance: Lessons from Guinea-Bissau?

"The aim of this paper is to provide a brief chronological account of the ensuing crisis and the regional and international response – starting with the civil war and the peacemaking process that led to the signing of a peace accord in Abuja in November 1998. It highlights the challenges of implementing this agreement, with the assistance of a small, under-equipped regional peacekeeping force, before the implementation plan was derailed by a coup in May 1999 that led to the exit of ECOMOG. With UN assistance, elections were held that saw Kumba Yala installed as president in February 2000. The paper concludes by stressing an obvious but unheeded lesson – that democracy cannot take root unless there is an urgent and comprehensive process of security sector reform that targets, as the number one priority, the armed forces."