Sierra Leone: End of the Exception

Thirty-one black African nations have gained their independence in the past decade, and they all share a curious distinction: in not a single one of them has any government ever been voted out of office. The record is not exactly a testimonial to democratic stability. Political assassinations and military coups have transformed half of the continent's emerging nations into emergency nations, and the governments of most of the rest have hung on either by openly rigging elections or outlawing their political opposition entirely. Through it all, the diamond-rich enclave of Sierra Leone always claimed to be the glittering exception—the only...

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