Debates over violence, security, humanitarian and development imperatives have long been polarised. However, as seen in Syria and Mali, the question is not simply whether one should intervene but rather how and for whose benefit. In this context, a closer look at the case of Sierra Leone – touted in many circles as a success story – yields interesting insights into the limits of its political settlement.
Pro-poor development outcomes need to be at the heart of any negotiated political settlement. Failure to address fundamental issues around access to power, accountability regarding control of natural resources, and extreme poverty itself has resulted in marginalisation and disenfranchisement, and new forms of violence.