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Mercenaries of democracy: The 'Politricks' of remobilized combatants in the 2007 general elections, Sierra Leone
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Cultural Anthropology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2022-6985
2008 (English)In: African Affairs, ISSN 0001-9909, E-ISSN 1468-2621, Vol. 107, no 429, 515-539 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The 2007 general elections in Sierra Leone marked a decisive moment in the country's post-war recovery. In this article we show how political parties strategically remobilized ex-combatants into 'security squads' in order both to protect themselves and to mobilize votes. We look at the tactical and strategic motives behind ex-combatants' choice to join the political campaigning and the alternatives (such as 'watermelon politics'), and we also examine the deep distrust between politicians and ex-combatants. Focusing on politics as the domestication of violence, we shed light on the continuation of pre-war and war-time mobilization of youth into politics and demonstrate how electoral moments can legitimize violence. In hindsight, the 2007 elections strengthened the democratic process in Sierra Leone, but this article shows on what fragile ground this success was built.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 107, no 429, 515-539 p.
Keyword [en]
african-youth-league, wallacejohnson, ita
National Category
Social Anthropology Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-261350DOI: 10.1093/Afraf/Adn057ISI: 000259581000001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-261350DiVA: diva2:850455

353PS Times Cited:0 Cited References Count:36

Available from: 2010-02-12 Created: 2015-09-01 Last updated: 2015-09-29

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