Using Power-Sharing to Win a War: The Implementation of the Lomé Agreement in Sierra Leone

Helga Malmin Binningsbø, Kendra Dupuy


To end the civil war in Sierra Leone the government and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) signed a peace agreement guaranteeing power-sharing in July 1999. Such power-sharing is a widely used, often recommended political arrangement to overcome deep divisions between groups. However, scholars disagree on whether power-sharing causes peace, or, on the contrary, causes continuing violence. One reason for this is the literature’s tendency to neglect how power-sharing is actually put into place. But post-agreement implementation is essential if we are to judge the performance of power-sharing. Therefore, we investigate the role played by power-sharing in terminating the civil war in Sierra Leone. We argue that the government was able to use the peace agreement to pursue its goal of ending the war through marginalising the RUF.

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