December 7, 2020
Your weekly roundup of news and analysis of elections in Africa, usually posted on Mondays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.
Central Accra, Ghana. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Muntaka Chasant (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Upcoming Africa Elections
Ghana Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: December 7, 2020
Ghana holds presidential and parliamentary elections on December 7, 2020. Often cited as a success story for democratic transition, Ghana’s two main political parties, the center-right New Patriotic Party (NPP) and center-left National Democratic Congress (NDC), have alternated stints in power since Ghana began holding multiparty elections. More
Francis Kokutse, AP (December 7, 2020): Ghana votes for president in test of country’s stability
Stacey Knott, Voice of America (December 7, 2020): Voters in Ghana Choose Between Familiar Faces
David Pilling, Financial Times (December 6, 2020): Africa watches with envy at Ghana’s ‘boring’ presidential race
Luke Tyburski, Atlantic Council (December 4, 2020): Data remains a weak spot for African elections, but Ghana can lead the way
Liberia Senate Elections: December 8, 2020
Liberia will elect half of its Senate on December 8, 2020. The country’s 2017 election brought the first peaceful transition of power since 1944, but Liberia still faces some challenges as it seeks to consolidate democracy. More
Wescott Yeaw, Foreign Brief (December 8, 2020): Senate elections in Liberia to begin
AFP (December 6, 2020): Liberia referendum could pave way for contentious third term for President Weah
South Africa By-Elections: December 9, 2020
Wayne Sussman, Daily Maverick (December 7, 2020): High stakes at eleventh hour of 9 December municipal by-elections
Niger Local Elections: December 13, 2020 and Presidential and Legislative Elections: December 27, 2020 (Presidential Second Round: February 20, 2021)
Niger plans to hold long-delayed local elections on December 13, 2020. These elections were supposed to take place in May 2016, but have been postponed multiple times. Next, the country will hold presidential and legislative elections on December 27.
Niger’s constitution bars incumbent Mahamadou Issoufou from running for a third presidential term, and in that vein, and in contrast to some incumbents in the region, he is standing down. His party has nominated interior minister Mohamed Bazoum to be its presidential candidate. However, the constitutional court has barred opposition leader Hama Amadou from running. More
RFI (December 8, 2020 – in French): In Niger, observers are concerned in the run-up to general elections
DW (December 7, 2020 – in French): Niger: Presidential election campaign kicks off
RFI (December 4, 2020 – in French): Municipal elections in Niger: a desire for democracy despite the security situation
Central African Republic Presidential and Legislative Elections: December 27, 2020
The Central African Republic (CAR) has scheduled presidential and legislative elections for December 27, 2020. The upcoming elections are taking place in the context of a humanitarian crisis and a crisis of governance. The country has had multiparty elections since 1993, but a series of coups and instability have prevented democracy from flourishing. Meanwhile, Russia is heavily involved in the country’s politics. More
France24/Reuters (December 3, 2020): Central African Republic court rejects ex-president Bozizé’s election candidacy
Somalia Parliamentary Elections: December 1-27, 2020 and Presidential Election: February 8, 2021 (indirect)
Somalia has announced that indirect parliamentary elections will take place between December 1 and December 27, 2020, and the indirect presidential election will take place on February 8, 2021. Although some had hoped for direct elections, it didn’t work out this time, and these elections will continue to use the clan-based delegate system to choose parliament, which will then choose the president.
However, tensions are high, and some have called for a delay in order to lower the chances of violence. More
Abdullahi Abdille Shahow, World Politics Review (December 8, 2020): Fears of Al-Shabab Attacks Rise Ahead of Somalia’s Delayed Elections
Mohamed Sheikh Nor, The Africa Report (December 7, 2020): Somalia’s election impasse: Crisis or successful state-building?
Declan Walsh, New York Times (December 5, 2020): In Somalia, U.S. Troop Withdrawal Is Seen as Badly Timed
Uganda General Elections: January 14, 2021
Uganda will hold presidential and legislative elections on January 14, 2021. President Yoweri Museveni has held power since 1986 and plans to seek a sixth term. For the upcoming elections, 37-year-old pop star Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, better known as Bobi Wine, has emerged as a leading opposition candidate. Security forces remain in a pattern of intimidating and harassing the opposition, and political climate is tense. More
Africa Center for Strategic Studies (December 8, 2020): The Battle for the Soul of Uganda
Jonathan Kamoga, The East African (December 6, 2020): Violence, deaths continue ahead of Uganda elections
The Africa Report (December 2, 2020): Uganda: Bobi Wine suspends presidential campaign after violence
Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post (December 2, 2020): The Ugandan opposition leader survives an attack. The U.S. needs to take a stand.
Benin Presidential Election: March 2021
Benin is due to hold a presidential election in March 2021. Incumbent Patrice Talon will likely run for a second term, and he could be the only candidate on the ballot. Previously a model democracy in the region, Benin has seen democratic decline since Talon’s election in 2016. More
Jean-Luc Aplogan, RFI (December 8, 2020): Catholic Church intercedes with President Talon on sponsorships for the presidential election
Ethiopia General Elections: Postponed indefinitely
Ethiopia planned to hold general elections on August 29, 2020, but has postponed the elections indefinitely due to COVID-19 and other factors. These elections are taking place in the context of political change in Ethiopia, and in the midst of both the opportunity to build a democracy and the threat of ethnic violence or even a breakup of the country, especially in light of the growing crisis in Tigray region in the north that has exploded into violent conflict. More
Nima Elbagir, Barbara Arvanitidis and Eoin McSweeney, CNN (December 4, 2020): Forces from Ethiopia’s Tigray region say Eritrean troops are part of the conflict and the war is far from over
Samuel Getachew, Washington Post (December 3, 2020): Ethiopia sees reminders of its dark days as ‘Abiy-mania’ fades
Mali Presidential and Legislative Elections: TBD, following coup
Mali had a coup in August 2020. Soldiers removed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, dissolved parliament (which had just been elected in April, in elections marred by fraud and intimidation) and established a transitional government, promising elections in due course
Leanne de Bassompierre, Bloomberg (December 6, 2020): A Leader of Mali’s Coup Was Elected Head of Transitional Council
AFP (December 4, 2020): Mali names members of interim parliament as army cements control
Katarina Hoije, Bloomberg News (December 4, 2020): Salif Keita, One of Mali’s Most Beloved Singers, Enters Politics
Past Africa Elections
Cameroon Regional Elections (indirect): December 6, 2020
Cameroon will hold its first-ever regional elections on December 6. Cameroon is in the midst of several crises. Anglophone separatists seek to form a new country called Ambazonia. Furthermore, the country is in the middle of a political crisis.
Reuters (December 6, 2020): 1 Killed, Others Wounded as Cameroon Holds First Regional Elections
Al Jazeera (December 6, 2020): Cameroon holds first regional election amid opposition boycott
Namibia Local and Regional Elections: November 25, 2020
Namibia is due to hold local and regional elections on November 25, 2020. Namibia is a free, stable democracy. In that vein, recent elections have been judged free, fair, and credible by observers.Since independence from South Africa in 1990, Namibian politics have been dominated by the socialist Swapo, an independence movement-turned-political party. More
Henning Melber, The Conversation (December 6, 2020): Namibia’s democracy enters new era as ruling Swapo continues to lose its lustre
Michael Fitzpatrick, RFI (December 4, 2020): Politician named Adolf Hitler puts Namibia local election in world headlines
Côte d’Ivoire Presidential Election: October 31, 2020
Cote d’Ivoire held a presidential election on October 31, 2020 in a tense environment as President Alassane Ouattara sought and won a controversial third term. Protests followed. More
Tyson Roberts, Washington Post (December 2, 2020): Ivory Coast reelected its president. Opposition candidates boycotted the voting.
Human Rights Watch (December 2, 2020): Côte d’Ivoire: Post-Election Violence, Repression
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