Africa

June 13, 2022

A weekly review 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.

Street art in Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria’s major political parties will field well-known candidates in the 2023 elections. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Oluwaseyi Gbadebo (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Africa Elections

Republic of the Congo Legislative and Local Elections: July 10, 2022

The Republic of the Congo (sometimes called Congo-Brazzaville) will hold legislative and local elections on July 10, 2022. These follow last year’s presidential election. Denis Sassou Nguesso, who has been president almost continuously since 1979 and rules with an iron fist, won re-election. Elections have not been free or fair. More

RFI (): Congo-B: the final lists for the legislative elections have been released, big duels are looming

Senegal Legislative Elections: July 31, 2022

Senegal holds legislative elections on July 31, 2022, following local elections earlier this year. The next presidential election is due in 2024.

Long considered a stable democracy, backsliding has been taking place under President Macky Sall, who has been accused of prosecuting his political opponents on politically-motivated charges (Freedom House downgraded the country from Free to Partly Free in 2020). Consequently, Senegal saw violent protests in March 2021 following rape charges against former opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, and further protests in November 2021. Some are concerned that Sall could attempt to seek an unconstitutional third term, especially if his allies win another majority in the 2022 legislative elections.

In the local elections, the opposition won in Dakar (which was already an opposition stronghold) and the southern city of Ziguinchor, where Sonko was elected mayor. Several candidates close to Sall, including health minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, lost their races.

A series of oil and gas discoveries starting in 2014 have set Senegal up to become a player in energy production. Sall is a former oil executive and thus has focused on beginning production. More

Lauriane Noelle Vofo Kana, with AFP (June 9, 2022): Senegal’s opposition calls for the Interior Minister to resign after rejection of electoral list

Africanews with AFP (June 8, 2022): Senegal: demonstration against rejection of opposition electoral list

Kenya General Elections: August 9, 2022

Kenya holds general elections on August 9, 2022. The last elections, in August 2017, were disputed, and the presidential poll was re-run in October 2017. President Uhuru Kenyatta won re-election after opposition leader Raila Odinga encouraged his supporters to boycott the re-run. Ironically, Kenyatta has endorsed Odinga for this year’s election, against William Ruto, who was formerly his anointed successor.

Kenyan politics is highly polarized with a strong ethnic component.

Because of the ongoing crises in neighboring Ethiopia and Somalia, Kenya plays an important role in the region. In addition, Kenya has been an important partner to the United States and other countries on counterterrorism.

David Pilling, Financial Times (June 13, 2022): Kenya’s political titans gear up for electoral fight: Voters in east African powerhouse hope for change in one of year’s most crucial polls

Al Jazeera (June 10, 2022): TikTok videos stoke tensions ahead of Kenya vote – Mozilla report

International Crisis Group (June 9, 2022): Kenya’s 2022 Election: High Stakes

Angola Presidential and Legislative Elections: August 24, 2022

Angola holds presidential and legislative elections on August 24, 2022. The country has not to date held free elections. The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), a former armed group, has been in power since since independence in 1975. For 38 years, the MPLA’s José Eduardo Dos Santos ruled Angola with an iron fist. His regime engaged in rampant corruption and kleptocracy. Dos Santos’s successor, João Lourenço, has enacted some reforms and sought to curtail corruption, but many issues remain. Moreover, local elections (the country’s first) have been delayed repeatedly, at times sparking protests. The political climate remains tense.

However, MPLA’s vote share has been steadily decreasing with each successive election: it received 81 percent of the vote in 2008, 72 percent in 2012, and 61 percent in 2017. For the upcoming elections, the three main opposition parties will back a single presidential candidate: Adalberto Costa Junior, leader of UNITA, the main opposition party. There are hopes that this could pave the way for a more democratic future for Angola.

Angola is one of the biggest oil producers in Africa. More

Albano Agostinho Troco, World Politics Review (June 8, 2022): After Failing on Reforms, Angola’s Lourenco Opts for Repression

Chad Elections: By December 2022 (tentative, post-coup)

Chad held a presidential election on April 11, 2021. President Idriss Déby, who seized power in a rebellion in 1990, won a sixth term. However, on April 20, 2021, he was killed by rebels while fighting on the front lines. His son, 37-year-old General Mahamat Déby, declared himself interim leader, backed by the military. He dissolved parliament and promised elections within 18 months, by December 2022. However, it is unclear when the elections will actually happen.

Although the country holds elections, there has never been a change in power by a free or fair vote, and elections are riven by lengthy delays, violence, and fraud. More

AFP (June 7, 2022): Chad Opposition Leaders Get One-year Suspended Terms

Guinea-Bissau Snap Parliamentary Elections: By the end of 2022

Guinea-Bissau’s president has dissolved parliament and called for snap elections by the end of 2022.

In March 2019, Guinea-Bissau finally held long-delayed legislative elections. The ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) won 47 out of 102 seats, but made deals with three smaller parties to form a coalition with 54 seats, voting in Aristide Gomes as prime minister. Subsequently, Umaro Sissoco Embaló won the November 2019 presidential election, defeating incumbent José Mário Vaz and 10 other candidates.

Prone to coups (most recently in 2012), no elected leader has served a full term since independence from Portugal. The country remains in a political crisis, with President José Mário Vaz (known as Jomav) in a feud with his own party (PAIGC). Although analysts believed that the March 2019 legislative elections improved the situation, the country regressed once again at the end of October 2019, when Vaz fired Gomes, and Gomes refused to leave office – the third government dissolution in two years.

There is an ever-present risk of a coup (and in fact, one was attempted in January 2022).

AFP (June 11, 2022): Guinea-Bissau President Sacks Three Ministers Just After One Day

Nigeria General Elections: February 18, 2023

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, holds general elections on February 18, 2023, but some states are due to hold gubernatorial elections before that, including Ekiti and Osun states in 2022.

In addition, potential 2023 candidates have already begun jockeying for position. Since the return to civilian rule, vote-rigging and violence have plagued elections. While the 2015 polls – which handed the opposition its first-ever victory – were considered credible, international and Nigerian observers found that the 2019 polls fell short. The country is in the midst of several security crises.

Felix Chidozie, The Conversation (June 12, 2022): Nigeria has failed to marry its rich cultural diversity and democracy. Can it be done?

World Politics Review (June 10, 2022): Nigeria’s Presidential Candidates Are a Blast From the Past

Idayat Hassan, African Arguments (June 9, 2022): Nigeria elections 2023: And so the countdown begins

David Pilling, Financial Times (June 8, 2022): Nigeria’s presidential election to be fought by wealthy political insiders: Ruling party selects kingpin Bola Tinubu after main opposition chose former vice-president Atiku Abubakar as its candidate

Macdonald Dzirutwe, Reuters (June 8, 2022): Nigeria ruling party picks ex-governor of Lagos Tinubu to run for president

Cristina Krippahl, DW (June 8, 2022): More violence feared in Nigeria as elections approach

Samuel Oyewole, The Conversation (June 7, 2022): There’s violence every election season in Nigeria: what can be done to stop it

Zimbabwe General Elections: July 2023 (due)

Zimbabwe is due to hold general elections in July 2023. They will be the second since the 2017 coup that led to the fall of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s longtime dictator, who left a legacy of gross economic mismanagement and political repression. Democracy continues to face many challenges in Zimbabwe, and the current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, governs in an authoritarian, repressive manner.

Most recently, Zimbabwe held by-elections on March 26, 2022 to fill 28 parliamentary seats and 105 local seats. A new opposition party called the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) won a majority of the seats up for election. CCC is led by Nelson Chamisa, who broke with Zimbabwe’s traditional opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) over internal politics. CCC won 19 parliamentary seats while the ruling ZANU-PF won nine.

However, many concerns remain about the fairness of the upcoming elections.

Kudzai Chimhangwa, Global Voices (June 13, 2022): How Artificial Intelligence could influence Zimbabwe’s 2023 elections: Zimbabwe’s use of Chinese biometric voter registration will affect election credibility

Lenin Ndebele, News24 (June 13, 2022): Police ask politicians not to incite violence following murder of Zimbabwe opposition activist

Nokuthaba Dlamini, Zimbabwe Independent (June 9, 2022): Why fewer Zimbabweans are voting

Eswatini Parliamentary Elections: August 2023 (due)

Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is an absolute monarchy. The country does hold parliamentary elections, but the parliament does not actually have much power, and the elections are tightly controlled, without much choice for voters.

On June 20, 2021, a series of protests calling for democratic reform began. Protests continue.

Hoolo ‘Nyane, The Conversation (June 9, 2022): What Lesotho can teach Eswatini and South Africa about key political reforms

Liberia Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2023 (due)

Liberia is due to hold presidential and legislative elections in October 2023. 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

Henry Karmo, Front Page Africa (June 10, 2022): ECOWAS Concerned about 2023 Elections in Liberia, Other Countries

Democratic Republic of the Congo General Elections: December 2023 (due)

The DRC is due to hold general elections in 2023. These follow gubernatorial elections, which took place on May 6, 2022.

The December 2018 presidential and legislative elections, which took place after multiple delays, were mired in controversy and dispute. The election commission declared opposition leader Félix Tshisekedi the winner of the presidential poll, but the Catholic Church, which deployed 40,000 election observers and is a highly trusted institution in the country, said that their data indicated a victory for another opposition leader, Martin Fayulu.

When Kabila’s chosen successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, was polling too poorly for Kabila to credibly rig the election for him, Kabila cut a deal with Tshisekedi. The legislative elections – also highly disputed – produced a majority for Kabila’s coalition. Major opposition figures Moïse Katumbi and Jean-Pierre Bemba were barred from the polls and spent the election cycle outside the country, but both have returned.

The DRC faces severe political and security crises.

DW (June 7, 2022): Belgium’s king arrives in DR Congo on difficult but historic visit

Barbara Moens, Politico (June 7, 2022): Belgian king’s Congo challenge: Don’t do anything to cause trouble

South Africa General Elections: May 2024 (due)

South Africa is due to hold general elections in May 2024.

Dubbed the “Rainbow Nation” by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa inspired the world with its nonviolent transition from apartheid in 1994. Since the end of apartheid and the subsequent victory of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela, the African National Congress (ANC) has been South Africa’s dominant political party, winning every election since then.

However, in the local elections on November 1, 2021, which took place in the context of unrest following the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma for corruption, the ANC had its worst election result since the end of apartheid, gaining less than 50 percent of the vote.

As one of the biggest economies in Africa and the most powerful state in southern Africa, South Africa plays a major role in the politics and geopolitics of the continent.  More

Hoolo ‘Nyane, The Conversation (June 12, 2022): Electoral reform: finding African solutions to African problems

Dirk Kotze, The Conversation (June 8, 2022): South Africa is in search of a fairer electoral system. But what’s been tabled is flawed

Sudan General Elections: By 2024 (due – unclear following coup)

Sudan plans to hold general elections by 2024, the culmination of a five-year transition to democracy that began with the July 2019 removal of dictator Omar al-Bashir following several months of protests. Al-Bashir was removed in a military coup, and a junta ruled briefly, but entered into an agreement with the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), a wide-ranging coalition of opposition groups, to transition the country to democracy. Civil servant and diplomat Abdalla Hamdok became prime minister.

However, another coup in October 2021 returned Sudan to military rule. Hamdok resigned. Protests continue and the country’s political future remains uncertain.

Noha Elhennawy, AP (June 10, 2022): Sudan anti-coup group sits with generals for the first time

Hamza Hendawi, The National UAE (June 8, 2022): Sudan’s UN-backed national dialogue opens despite boycott by major players

Africanews with AP (June 8, 2022): Talks to end Sudan crisis begin as anti-coup groups boycott

Mali Presidential and Legislative Elections: Delayed to December 2025

Mali had set presidential and legislative elections for February 27, 2022, following the August 2020 coup, but the interim government has proposed a delay to December 2025, sparking a backlash from neighboring countries and the international community.

In the coup, soldiers removed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (who has since died at age 76, having been in poor health for years), dissolved parliament (which had just been elected in April, in elections marred by fraud and intimidation) and established a transitional government.

Andrew Lebovich and Theodore Murphy, Foreign Policy Research Institute (June 13, 2022): Russia’s long shadow in the Sahel

Camille Pauvarel and Africanews (June 12, 2022): Mali’s junta creates a body in charge of suggesting a new Constitution

Kemo Cham, The East African (June 11, 2022): Ecowas ‘softening’ stance on Mali, Summit outcome shows

Reuters (June 9, 2022): US Urges Malian Transition Government to Take Steps Towards Elections

Reuters (June 8, 2022): West African bloc says it regrets Mali’s 24-month transition decision

Marie Jourdain and Petr Tůma, Atlantic Council (June 7, 2022): As Europe withdraws from Mali, Russia gets the upper hand

Past Africa Elections

Somalia, Indirect Presidential Election: May 15, 2022

Somalia finally held its long-delayed presidential election on May 15, 2022. Former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who served from 2012 to 2017 before losing re-election, was elected, defeating incumbent Mohamed “Farmaajo.”

The Horn of Africa country does not hold direct elections, but rather holds indirect elections in a clan-based system. The elections were delayed, and Farmaajo remained in office beyond the end of his term, which created a political and constitutional crisis. In April 2021, Farmaajo sought to extend his term for two years, but parliament voted to reject the extension.

An ongoing conflict between Farmaajo and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and continual election delays exacerbated the country’s instability. Legislative elections have finally concluded after a slow, delay-ridden process, with the new lawmakers sworn in April. A new date has not been set for the presidential election, but the International Monetary Fund has set May 17 as the deadline, or else Somalia will stop receiving budget support.

Somalia’s strategic location means that instability has impact beyond its borders. More

Abdolgader Mohamed Ali, The New Arab (June 13, 2022): Why are US troops returning to Somalia?

Ayah Aman, Al-Monitor (June 9, 2022): Egypt treads cautiously with reelected Somali president

Mohamed Sheikh Nor, Voice of America (June 9, 2022): New Somali President Inaugurated, Warns of Famine

Fathi Mohamed Ahmed, The Guardian (June 8, 2022): Mogadishu shops shuttered as soaring food prices add to desperation in Somalia

Cameroon Municipal, Legislative, and Regional Elections: February 9, 2020 (delayed from October 2019)

Cameroon holds elections, but President Paul Biya, at age 85 the oldest ruler in Africa, has been in power since 1982, most recently winning re-election in 2018. Elections in the country, including the most recent, have been marred by accusations of ballot-stuffing and intimidation of the opposition. The opposition claims Maurice Kamto actually won the election, and opposition supports have staged a number of protests, which the government answered with a harsh crackdown and hundreds of arrests, including the arrest of Kamto himself.

Cameroon is in the midst of several other crises. Anglophone separatists seek to form a new country called Ambazonia. The government has accused them of terrorism. The crisis is currently deadlocked, with neither side willing to make concessions, leaving half a million people displaced.

Nana Kamsukom, Journal du Cameroun (June 7, 2022): Cameroon- MRC: Michelle Ndoki Seeks To Replace Maurice Kamto

Africa Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Nigeria, Gubernatorial Election in Ekiti State: June 18, 2022

Nigeria, Gubernatorial Election in Osun State: July 16, 2022

Senegal Legislative Elections: July 31, 2022

Republic of Congo Legislative Elections: July 10, 2022

Kenya Presidential and Legislative Elections: August 9, 2022

Angola Presidential and Legislative Elections: August 24, 2022

Lesotho Parliamentary Elections: September 2022

Central African Republic Local Elections: September 2022 (delayed – no new date set)

Sao Tome and Principe Legislative Elections: October 2022 (due)

Somaliland Presidential Election: November 13, 2022

Equatorial Guinea Legislative and Local Elections: November 2022 (due)

Chad General Elections: By December 2022 (tentative, post-coup)

Guinea-Bissau Snap Parliamentary Elections: By the end of 2022

Nigeria General Elections: February 18, 2023

Djibouti Legislative Elections: February 2023

Nigeria Gubernatorial Elections in Most States: March 2023 (due)

South Sudan General Elections: By March 2023 (tentative)

Sierra Leone Presidential Election: June 24, 2023

Zimbabwe General Elections: July 2023

Eswatini Parliamentary Elections: August 2023 (due)

Gabon Presidential Election: August 2023 (due)

Mauritania Parliamentary Elections: September 2023 (due)

Gabon Legislative Elections: October 2023 (due)

Liberia Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2023 (due)

Nigeria, Gubernatorial Elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States: November 2023 (due)

Madagascar Presidential Election: November 2023 (due)

Democratic Republic of the Congo Presidential and Legislative Elections: December 2023 (due)

Togo Legislative and Regional Elections: December 2023 (due)

Côte d’Ivoire Local Elections: 2023

Mali Presidential and Legislative Elections: TBD, following coup

Burkina Faso Elections: TBD, following coup

Guinea Elections: TBD, following coup

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