Old Tricks, Young Guns Elections and Violence in Sierra Leone

"Sierra Leone is acclaimed as one of Africa’s most successful post-conflict states. But the country remains fragile. Every election since independence has been attended by violence. Support for political parties is polarised on ethnic and regional lines, and underwritten by patronage. Youth unemployment is endemic. Amid early preparations for the 2012 presidential, parliamentary and local council elections, these notes examine the causes of electoral strife, and suggest measures for mitigating future violence."