Africa This Week: November 23, 2020

November 23, 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.

Downtown Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. Photo credit:
Wikimedia/elvirahattingh1 (CC0 1.0)

Upcoming Africa Elections

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

Hileni Nembwaya, The Namibian (November 23, 2020): All systems go for special voting

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

Vanda Felbab-Brown, Brookings Institution (November 23, 2020): Facing elections and a potential US troop withdrawal, risks to Somalia’s security abound

Dalsan Radio (November 20, 2020): Somalia: Partners Urge Consensus On Electoral Teams

David Mwere, Nation Media Group Kenya (November 19, 2020): In a crowded race, newcomer tries to be next Somali President

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.

R. Maxwell Bone, Foreign Policy (November 21, 2020): Paul Biya Is Offering Cameroon’s Anglophones Too Little, Too Late

Ghana Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: December 7, 2020

Ghana is scheduled to hold 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

Audrey Donkor, Foreign Policy (November 20, 2020): For Ghana’s Democracy to Thrive, Citizens Need to Engage

Patrick Smith, The Africa Report (November 18, 2020): Ghana debates life of Jerry Rawlings ahead of critical elections

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

Reuters (November 22, 2020): Liberian electoral body says referendum on presidential terms will take place

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. More

John Lechner and Alexandra Lamarche, The National Interest (November 21, 2020): A Dangerous Narrative Surrounds Russia’s Presence in the Central African Republic

Pacôme Pabandji, Jeune Afrique (November 18, 2020 – in French): Presidential election in the Central African Republic: Sylvain Patassé, the son who wants to embody change

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

Samson Ntale, David McKenzie, Brent Swails and Ivana Kottasová, CNN (November 23, 2020): At least 45 people have been killed during Uganda protests

Richard Vokes and Sam Wilkins, The Africa Report (November 22, 2020): Uganda: Can Bobi Wine unseat Yoweri Museveni?

Abdi Latif Dahir, New York Times (November 20, 2020): Uganda Releases Opposition Leader After Clashes Kill at Least 28

Kristof Titeca and Anna Reuss, African Arguments (November 19, 2020): How Museveni mastered violence to win elections in Uganda

Halima Athumani, Voice of America (November 18, 2020): Uganda’s Presidential Hopefuls Kick Off Campaigns as COVID-19 Cases Rise

Angola Local Elections: Due in 2020, no date set

Angola is due to hold its first-ever local elections in 2020. However, the elections have already been delayed multiple times (most recently in September 2020), and no date has been set. Meanwhile, COVID-19 provides an excuse for additional delays. In short, it is unclear when – or whether – the local elections will actually happen. Moreover, the country has never held free elections, and the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), a former armed group, has ruled since independence in 1976. More

LUSA Agency (November 21, 2020 – in Portuguese): Protesters return to Luanda streets against corruption and impunity in Angola

Simon Hossi, Global Voices (November 17, 2020 – in Portuguese): Angolan police crack down on demonstration on Independence Day

LUSA Agency (November 19, 2020 – in Portuguese): Angolan parliament approves law on regime and form of municipal acts

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 conflictMore

Schams Elwazer, CNN (November 22, 2020): Ethiopian PM issues 72-hour deadline for Tigrayan forces to surrender

Nicholas Bariyo and Gabriele Steinhauser, Wall Street Journal (November 20, 2020): Ethiopia: What We Know About the War in the Tigray Region

Past Africa Elections

Burkina Faso Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: November 22, 2020

Burkina Faso is scheduled to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on November 22, 2020. These elections are taking place in the context of a growing security crisis as well as political uncertainty as the country’s democrats seek to consolidate the young, fragile democracy. More

Sam Mednick, AP (November 20, 2020): Burkina Faso to vote amid escalating violence

Clair MacDougall, Committee to Protect Journalists (November 20, 2020): Burkina Faso’s Invisible War

Ornella Moderan, Institute for Security Studies (November 18, 2020): Burkina Faso’s voters should be offered more than security

Amaury Hauchard, AFP (November 18, 2020): Burkina’s exiled former leader looms large over election

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

Clair MacDougall, World Politics Review (November 20, 2020): Cote d’Ivoire’s Post-Election Political Crisis Shows Little Sign of Abating

RFI (November 17, 2020): Rights group calls on Côte d’Ivoire to free opposition leader

Tanzania General Elections: October 25, 2020

Tanzania held presidential and legislative elections on October 25, 2020 in the context of a crackdown on the opposition and growing authoritarianism. President John Magufuli, whose Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has been in power since 1961, won a second term, but the opposition said the elections were neither free nor fair. Opposition figures have been arrested, assaulted, and murdered. More

Human Rights Watch (November 23, 2020): Tanzania: Repression Mars National Elections

Amnesty International (November 20, 2020): Tanzania: Killings, arbitrary detention and torture of opposition members in aftermath of elections

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here

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