The Political Economy of Democratisation in Sierra Leone: Reflections on the Elections of 2007 and 2008

This study evaluates Sierra Leone’s 2007 and 2008 elections, the role of the international community in supporting them, and their implications for the country’s democracy. The 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections in Sierra Leone, the third generation of elections since the end of the civil war, were deemed substantially fair and resulted in a change of governing party, with Ernest Bai Koroma as president and the African Peoples Congress (APC) in the majority in Parliament. The 2008 local government elections were less successful, but gave the APC an even more decisive win. The restoration of peace in Sierra Leone, the succession of reasonable elections since 2000, and the change of regime via the ballot box in 2007 are all rightly seen as major accomplishments. This article examines the institutions of Sierra Leone’s society and government that combined with international assistance to produce these positive results. Nonetheless, the structural conditions that gave rise to the civil war in the country – under-development, resource flows (diamonds and now, increasingly, drugs) that are difficult to control, a corrupt and remote political elite, marginalised youth, and strong regional divides in politics – all continue to exist.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), Kenya’s 2007 national elections, Kikuyu Mau Mau rebellion, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), President Mwai Kibaki, Truth