Democratization is crucial for building peace after war. A by-product of such processes is, however, that ex-warlords often reinvent themselves as democrats.
– In many ways it is necessary to embrace such warlord democrats to prevent them from returning to war. However, there are also considerable risks involved, says NAI researcher Anders Themnér.
In their quest for votes it is not uncommon that warlord democrats incite fear and cement wartime cleavages. They do it by using inflammatory rhetoric or engaging in confrontational electoral behavior.
– This can undermine democratic institutions and trigger new outbursts of violence, says Anders Themnér.
Anders Themnér together with Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs and Roxanna Sjöstedt have been granted funds for a three-year project by the Swedish Research Council to investigate warlord democrats in Liberia and Sierra Leone.