chapter  7
Understanding and explaining the politics of ex-combatants
Pages 18

The politics of ordinary citizens shape regimes. This is perhaps even truer for former combatants in post-war societies. Thus, this book aimed to uncover and clarify how ex-combatants in Liberia relate to politics. What has emerged in the discussions on politics with the ex-combatants is a rich, intricate, sometimes contradictory relationship with and understanding of politics. Several themes are worth making note of here, and while the ex-combatants were strategically sampled, the ex-combatants included in the focus groups represent a full array of ex-combatant experiences in Liberia, and as such describe the relationship with politics within this group more generally as well. Ex-combatants in Liberia are not just bad or good citizens, but rather they engage in multiple political roles: spoilers, victims, disengaged, beneficiaries, as well as motivated and active citizens. Understanding their political voice was the main aim of this book.