Africa

June 20, 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.

Lido Beach in Mogadishu, Somalia. Photo credit: Wikimedia/AMISOM Public Information (CC0 1.0)

Upcoming Africa Elections

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.

Victor Abuso, The Africa Report (June 14, 2022): Kenya 2022 election: Ruto woos women voters to counter Raila’s running mate

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

Joseph Cotterill, Financial Times (June 16, 2022): Angola seizes stake in diamond miner: Move marks waning of Chinese influence in southern African nation

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.

Ebenezer Obadare, Council on Foreign Relations (June 23, 2022): APC Runs Into Headwinds as Christian Opposition to Muslim-Muslim Ticket Gains Traction in Nigeria: Presidential candidate faces a dilemma as religious factor threatens to undo campaign.

Foreign Policy (June 22, 2022): Nigeria’s All-Male Gerontocracy Won’t Go Away: Africa’s largest democracy systematically excludes women and young people from politics in a country where the median age is 18.

Gallup (June 21, 2022): Nigerians’ Confidence in Government Falls to Lowest in Africa

Peter Ajayi Dada, Catholic News Service (June 16, 2022): Nigerian bishops: Field election tickets with religious balance

Benedict Mayaki, SJ, Vatican News (June 15, 2022): Nigeria: Catholic Secretariat advises against same-religion ticket in upcoming elections

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.

Farai Mutsaka, AP (June 14, 2022): Discovery of dismembered opposition member worries Zimbabwe

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.

Chris Olaoluwa Ogunmodede, World Politics Review (June 17, 2022): Belgium’s King Followed the European Script for His Congo Visit

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

Jason Burke, The Guardian (June 17, 2022): ‘Farmgate’ threatens Cyril Ramaphosa’s South Africa re-election bid: President is accused of trying to cover up theft of millions of US dollars hidden at his game farm

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.

Baba Ahmed, AP (June 25, 2022): Mali junta paves way for elections with new law

Jennifer Peltz, AP (June 19, 2022): Russia-West tensions inflame UN debate on Mali peacekeepers

Annie Risemberg, Voice of America (June 15, 2022): Under Military Rule, Violence Rises in Mali, Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso Elections: TBD, following coup

Burkina Faso is set to hold elections at some point in the future following the recent coup.

On January 24, 2022, a group of soldiers detained President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, dissolved the legislature, and declared that a military junta would control the country moving forward. Subsequently, coup leader Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was sworn in as president.

This coup (which follows coups in nearby Guinea, Chad, and Mali) plunges the country’s political future into even greater uncertainty. Burkina Faso avoided an earlier coup attempt, and some analysts believed that a successful coup was only a matter of time given simmering discontent with Kabore’s handling of the jihadist threat and other issues.

Captain Sidsore Kaber Ouedraogo of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (the name the junta has given itself) says new elections will take place in the future, but has not specified a date. 

Africanews with AFP (June 22, 2022): Burkina junta leader holds talks with overthrown president

Africanews with AFP (June 21, 2022): Burkina’s junta announces military zones, forbids entry

Al Jazeera (June 18, 2022): State controls just 60 percent of Burkina Faso: ECOWAS mediator: Recent killing of 89 people in the northern village of Seytenga was one of the worst massacres in the country’s history.

Rachel Chason and Borso Tall, Washington Post (June 16, 2022): Burkina Faso massacre highlights a strengthening insurgency

Sam Mednick, AP (June 13, 2022): Jihadi attacks mount in Burkina Faso despite junta’s efforts

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.

Abdulkadir Khalif, The East African (June 18, 2022): Somalia President picks like-minded Prime Minister designate from the ‘hostile’ Jubbaland

Africanews with AFP (June 16, 2022): Somalia’s President appoints lawmaker Hamza Abdi Barre as PM

Africa Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

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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