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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Mercenaries of democracy: the 'politricks' of remobilized combatants in the 2007 general elections, Sierra Leone
Authors:Christensen, Maya M.
Utas, MatsISNI
Year:2008
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Volume:107
Issue:429
Pages:515-539
Language:English
Geographic term:Sierra Leone
Subjects:veterans
election campaigns
violence
2007
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/27667068
Abstract:The 2007 general elections in Sierra Leone marked a decisive moment in the country's postwar recovery. In this article the authors show how political parties strategically remobilized ex-combatants into 'security squads' in order both to protect themselves and to mobilize votes. They look at the tactical and strategic motives behind ex-combatants' choice to join the political campaigning and the alternatives (such as 'watermelon politics'), and they also examine the deep distrust between politicians and ex-combatants. Focusing on politics as the domestication of violence, they 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. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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