Reconfiguring a Postcolonial State: Elections and the Challenge of Democratisation in Sierra Leone

Zubairu Wai


This paper interrogates Sierra Leone's democratic experience and assesses its implications for the people in that state. Critically examining the historical context within which the struggle for democracy emerged, the paper investigates the nature of electoral politics in the country since the return to multiparty politics and the liberalisation of the political space in 1996. First, it explains how the process of democratisation unfolded within the context of an on-going civil war, but argues that the impulses which drove the quests should be situated within broader attempts at reconfiguring the state in the light of the country's dire postcolonial experience. Second, it critically evaluates electoral politics in the country since 1996, before considering the significance and limitations of these efforts and their broader implications for social transformation in Sierra Leone.  The paper argues that it is only from a procedural perspective that notions of a depeening democratic tradition can be extended to Sierra Leone

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Research in Sierra Leone Studies (RISLS): Weave:ISSN: 2167-9835