Sierra Leone: Political Parties and Pressure Groups Material

Scope and Content

Sierra Leone political material, 1951 onwards, including constitutions, announcements of meetings, manifestos, resolutions, speeches, conference reports, declarations, electoral guides, court statements and pamphlets issued by the All People's Congress Party (Sierra Leone), the Electoral Commission (Sierra Leone), independent candidates, the National Unity Party, the Sierra Leone and Israel Friendship Association, the Sierra Leone Alliance Movement, the Sierra Leone Democratic Party and the Sierra Leone People's Party.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sierra Leone's 1951 constitution inaugurated a process of increasing self-government culminating in independence in 1961. Its first post-independence elections were won by the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) in 1962, but after an unsuccessful attempt to establish a one-party state the SLPP was defeated at the polls in 1967 by the All People's Congress (APC) of Siaka Stevens. This prompted a series of coups and counter-coups until eventually Stevens assumed the prime ministership of the country in 1968. Having himself successfully enacted a one-party state in 1978 he and his successor Joseph Saidu Momoh ruled Sierra Leone until 1992, when the combination of an armed rebellion from the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and a coup overthrowing Momoh and installing a National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) plunged the country into a civil war from which it is only now tentatively emerging. The majority of the materials held here date from the period between the granting of the first constitution and the 1992 coup, and originate from both the governing party and opposition groups objecting to failures of democracy and perceived economic mismanagement. There are also a significant quantity of items produced by the country's Electoral Commission for the instruction of voters at the crucial 1967 election.


Alphabetically by group, and then in rough chronological order.

Access Information

Open to all for research purposes; access is free for anyone in higher education.

Acquisition Information

Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Other Finding Aids

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT)

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Daniel Millum, Political Archives Project Officer at the Institutes of Commonwealth and Latin American Studies.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Custodial History

The Commonwealth Political Parties Materials collection was begun in 1960-61, with special emphasis being placed then, as now, on 'primary material such as party constitutions, policy statements, convention reports and election manifestos.' (ICS, Twelfth Annual Report 1960-1961). Since then, the main method of gathering material has been to appeal directly to political parties throughout the Commonwealth, though contributions from Institute members and staff following visits to relevant countries have been significant. More recently material has been collected by means of downloading documents from the websites of the major parties.


Further accruals are expected, some in electronic form.

Related Material

See also Political Party, Trades Unions and Pressure Group Materials for other Commonwealth countries and related material in the library's main classified sequence, all held at the ICS.