Africa This Week: November 30, 2020

November 30, 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.

The clay pan at Sossusvlei, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Namibia. Namibia’s local elections on November 25 delivered a blow to the ruling Swapo party. Photo credit:
Wikimedia/Ikiwaner (GNU FDL 1.2)

Upcoming Africa Elections

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

Cara Anna, AP (November 26, 2020): ‘Why now?’ Dismay as US considers troop pullout from Somalia

Reuters (November 30, 2020): Somalia expels Kenyan envoy in row over alleged poll interference

Abdulkadir Khalif, The East African (November 27, 2020): Somalia’s opposition candidates demand dissolution of electoral teams

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

Michael Lieber Cobb and Erik Plänitz, African Arguments (November 30, 2020): “Warning shots”: The steady rise of political violence in Ghana

BBC News Pidgin (December 1, 2020): Ghana Election Special Voters list 2020: Voting in progress as Nana Akufo-Addo and John Mahama test popularity

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

Robtel Neajai Pailey, Al Jazeera (December 1, 2020): Liberia’s Weah might be in for a rude awakening at the polls

Emma Farge, Reuters (December 1, 2020): Historic Liberia war crimes trial to open in Switzerland

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

Reuters (November 25, 2020): Niger ex-President Tandja, toppled after extending rule, dies at 82

François Soudan and Mathieu Olivier, Jeune Afrique (November 27, 2020): Niger – Mohamed Bazoum: “Mahamadou Issoufou, Hama Amadou, the third terms and me …”

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

RFI (November 28, 2020 – in French): Central African Republic: the Constitutional Court rejects the candidatures of armed groups in the legislative elections

Jean Fernand Koena, DW (November 27, 2020 – in French): Central African Republic: elections amid insecurity

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

Halima Athumani, Voice of America (November 30, 2020): Uganda President Quotes Bible in Ominous Message to Opposition 

Stephen Kafeero, Quartz (November 27, 2020): Uganda is using Huawei’s facial recognition tech to crack down on dissent after anti-government protests

Abdi Latif Dahir, New York Times (November 27, 2020): Jailed, Exiled and Silenced: Smothering East Africa’s Political Opposition

Rwanda Local Elections: March 6 – February 2, 2021

Bertrand Byishimo, New Times (November 30, 2020): Rwanda: Electoral Body to Go Ahead With Grassroots Polls Despite Covid-19

Republic of the Congo Presidential Election: March 20, 2021

The Republic of the Congo (sometimes called Congo-Brazzaville) is due to hold a presidential election on March 20, 2021. Denis Sassou Nguesso been president almost continuously since 1979, and rules with an iron fist. Elections have not been free or fair. More

Jeune Afrique (November 25, 2020 – in French): Congo: who is running against Denis Sassou Nguesso in 2021?

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 ballotPreviously a model democracy in the region,  Benin has seen democratic decline since Talon’s election in 2016. More

AFP (November 27, 2020): Benin presidential election set for April 11

Gambia Presidential Election: December 4, 2021

In December 2016, The Gambia began a remarkable transition to democracy. Citizens removed dictator Yahya Jammeh – who had come to power in a coup and ruled for 22 years – peacefully, via the ballot box, in a surprising result. Opposition candidate Adama Barrow won the presidency with the backing of a coalition of seven opposition parties. The country then began the process of establishing democracy and recovering from Jammeh’s brutal dictatorship.

James Courtright, OZY (November 24, 2020): The latest hub of political humor: Gambia

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

AFP (November 27, 2020): After protests, Angolan leader holds talks with youths

Mukuta Bun, Voice of America (November 26, 2020 – in Portuguese): João Lourenço does not promise local elections in 2021 and hears criticism from activists

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

Richard Reid, The Conversation (November 30, 2020): Conflict between Tigray and Eritrea – the long standing faultline in Ethiopian politics

Safia Farole, Washington Post (November 24, 2020): Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict reflects unresolved ethnic tensions: Regional self-government rights are being tested

Past Africa Elections

Namibia Local and Regional Elections: November 25, 2020

Namibia held local and regional elections on November 25, 2020. Namibia is a free, stable democracy, but since independence from South Africa in 1990, Namibian politics have been dominated by the socialist Swapo, an independence movement-turned-political party. Swapo took a hit in these elections, losing control of the city council in the capital, Windhoek, and other cities. More

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

Shinovene Immanuel, The Namibian (November 27, 2020): Swapo loses control of Windhoek

Burkina Faso Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: November 22, 2020

Burkina Faso held presidential and parliamentary elections on November 22, 2020, 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. President Roch Marc Christian Kabore won re-election. More

Reuters (November 29, 2020): Allies of Burkina Faso’s Kabore Retain Control of Parliament

Reuters (November 27, 2020): Burkina Faso opposition leader concedes defeat in election

Sam Mednick, AP (November 26, 2020): Burkina Faso president Roch Marc Christian Kabore re-elected

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

Vincent Duhem, The Africa Report (November 30, 2020): Côte d’Ivoire: What Ouattara has in store for his third term

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

Kizito Makoye, Andalou Agency (November 30, 2020): Tanzania: Zanzibar ex-presidential candidate sues gov’t

Georja Calvin-Smith, France24 (November 26, 2020 – video begins at ): Tundu Lissu on FRANCE 24: Tanzanian opposition leader vows to keep fighting

Cultural Note

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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