n African Renaissance - Watermelon politics in Sierra Leone : hope amidst vote buying and remobilized militias

Volume 4 Number 3-4
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305


Sierra Leone became independent in 1961. Its post-colonial political history shows a dominance of two political parties : Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) which ruled between 1961 and 1967, and 1996 until the present, and All People's Congress (APC) which ruled between 1968 and 1992, with the interception of three military governments (1967-1968, 1992-1996, 1997-1998). Siaka Stevens, APC leader and president between 1968 and 1985, turned Sierra Leone into a one-party state and reigned in typical cold-war style with internationally "accepted" institutionalized forms of state / civilian violence and mismanagement of government funds. APC's abuse of power eventually paved the way for both the rurally based Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel force and two "urban" military governments during the 1990s. The widespread blaming of APC for leading Sierra Leone into decline and ten years of civil war (1991-2002) was an important reason for SLPP's return to state power in the 1996 elections and subsequently reelected in 2002. Doubtless steering a country out of conflict - rebuilding a nation destroyed by war on all levels - is no easy task, yet the whole world opened their treasuries to accomplice this task. The SLPP government had a golden opportunity to make a change. After 10 years in power (five years without war) SLPP had done little or nothing to impress the Sierra Leonean population. The outcome of the first election round with an APC victory tells its clear language of popular dissatisfaction with the party in power. And although the second run off round is yet to be counted when I write this piece APC stand a good chance of forming a new government.

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