Sierra Leone has been making steady progress in consolidating democracy since emerging from a decade long civil war that spanned the 1990s. Four violence-free elections have been held since 1996 with a peaceful transfer of power starting in 2007. However, significant challenges that remain. Fifteen years after the end of the civil war, the country continues to face widespread poverty and systemic corruption. The political will to fight corruption has been questioned by citizens on many occasions and this is undermining trust between government and citizens. In Transparency International’s 2013 Report on Bribery, Sierra Leone was the worst performer, with 84% of respondents admitting to having either given or received bribes in the last 12 months. Parliament itself has come under strong criticism from the public for accountability of funds allocated for its constituency work and for weak oversight of ministries, departments and agencies.
This study explores the electoral model in Sierra Leone and investigates the cost of politics and the approaches that are adopted to maintain positions of power, considering this financial burden.