Africa This Week: March 8, 2021

March 8, 2021

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.

Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, across the Congo River from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Creative Studio (CC BY 3.0)

Upcoming Africa Elections

Somalia Indirect Presidential Election: Set for February 8, 2021 but postponed

Somalia was supposed to hold an indirect presidential election on February 8, 2021, following indirect parliamentary elections in December 2020. However, the elections have been delayed, and the current president’s term has expired, leaving Somalia in a political and constitutional crisisMore

AP (March 6, 2021): 20 dead, 30 wounded after bombing at popular restaurant in Somalia’s capital

Sebastian Fernandez de Soto, Foreign Brief (March 6, 2021): Somali opposition to hold protest in Mogadishu

AfricaIntelligence (March 4, 2021): Farmajo is rescheduling the presidential election and did not invite the opposition

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

Eric Topona, DW (March 8, 2021 – in French): Mathias Dzon: “Sassou will be sanctioned at the ballot box”

Lisa Vives, International Centre for Investigative Reporting Nigeria (March 8, 2021): Opposition seethes in Congo as 77-year-old president seeks another term

Africanews (March 5, 2021): Congo readies for presidential election

Benin Presidential Election: April 11, 2021

Benin is due to hold a presidential election in March 2021. Incumbent Patrice Talon is running run for a second term, and he has largely kept the opposition off the ballot. Previously a model democracy in the region,  Benin has seen democratic decline since Talon’s election in 2016. More

Africanews/AFP (March 8, 2021): Benin opposition candidate jailed and accused of terrorism

François Soudan, Jeune Afrique (March 2, 2021 – in French): Editorial: Democracy according to Patrice Talon

Africanews/AFP (March 2, 2021 – in French): Benin: Two opponents of President Patrice Talon jailed

Chad Presidential Election: April 11, 2020 and Parliamentary and Local Elections: October 24, 2021

Chad plans to hold a presidential election on April 11, 2021 and long-delayed long-delayed parliamentary elections on October 24, 2021 and local elections in April 2022. Originally due in 2015, the legislative elections have been delayed multiple times.

President Idriss Déby seized power in a rebellion in 1990, and although the country holds elections, there has never been a change in power by a free or fair vote. More

AFP (March 3, 2021): Court allows eight presidential challengers to Chad’s Deby

Reuters (March 3, 2021): France tells Chad to open probe after deaths at opposition figure’s home

Reuters (March 2, 2021): Chad opposition candidate withdraws from presidential election

Central African Republic Partial Legislative Elections and Runoffs: March 14, 2021

The Central African Republic (CAR) held presidential and partial legislative elections on December 27, 2020 in the midst of a worsening security situation. Rebels disrupted voting in some areas, so consequently, those constituencies will hold the first round of their legislative elections on March 14, 2021. In addition, some of the constituencies that did vote on December 27 will hold runoff elections for their legislators.

These elections are taking place in the context of a humanitarian crisis and a crisis of governanceSectarian clashes have been taking place since 2013. Moreover, Russia has ramped up its political and military involvement in exchange for mining rights. More 

Candice Musungayi, EU Reporter (March 5, 2021): Humanitarian Crisis in Central African Republic continues

James Wilson, International Policy Digest (March 1, 2021): The Ammunition Box or the Ballot Box?

Djibouti Presidential Election: April 9, 2021

Djibouti is holding a presidential election on April 9, 2021. Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, who has been president since 1999, will run for a fifth term. The main opposition parties plan to boycott, but have been holding protests. More

AfricaIntelligence (March 2, 2021 – in French): Presidential election: the campaign of Ismaïl Omar Guelleh begins in cacophony

Ethiopia General Elections: June 5, 2021

Ethiopia has scheduled general elections for June 5, 2021, after several postponements. These elections are taking place in the context of the growing crisis in Tigray region in the north that has exploded into violent conflictMore

AP (March 8, 2021): Jailed Ethiopian opposition leaders to end hunger strike

Jason Burke, The Guardian (March 8, 2021): Young men take up arms in northern Ethiopia as atrocities fuel insurgency

Scott Neuman, NPR (March 5, 2021): 9 Things To Know About The Unfolding Crisis In Ethiopia’s Tigray Region

Editorial Board, Washington Post (March 3, 2021): Opinion: A key U.S. ally in Africa is massacring civilians. Can Biden stop it?

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. However, the process of establishing democracy and recovering from Jammeh’s brutal dictatorship has not been easy.

Although Barrow had initially pledged to serve only one term, he plans to run for re-election, which has sparked controversy and protests. More

Sankulleh Gibril Janko, The Point (March 5, 2021): Gambia retains marble ballots in Dec polls

Senegal Local Elections: March 28, 2021 (delayed – no new date set)

Senegal was supposed to have local elections in June 2019. However, the country’s election commission first postponed to late 2020, and then postponed them yet again, to March 28, 2021. However, the elections have been delayed again, and no new date has been set. Meanwhile, legislative elections are due in July 2022. More

Krista Larson, AP (March 9, 2021): EXPLAINER: Why Senegal protesters are clashing with police

Leanne de Bassompierre and Momar Niang, Bloomberg (March 7, 2021): Unrest Grows in Senegal as Opposition Intensifies Protests

RFI (March 5, 2021): Violent protests in Senegal as opposition leader summoned over rape charges

AFP (March 5, 2021): Ousmane Sonko, sharp-tongued figure at heart of Senegal crisis

Past Africa Elections

Côte d’Ivoire Parliamentary Elections: March 6, 2021

Cote d’Ivoire held legislative elections on March 6, 2021, following the turbulent October 2020 presidential election, in which President Alasanne Ouattara sought and won a controversial third term. The opposition boycotted the presidential election. Protests followed, as well as arrests of opposition members. However, following discussions and the release of some opposition figures, the opposition participated in the legislative elections. More

France24 (March 8, 2021): With no official result in, both sides claim victory in Ivory Coast elections

Ange Aboa, Reuters (March 8, 2021): Ivory Coast President Ouattara names Patrick Achi as interim prime minister

RFI (March 8, 2021): Tensions high in Cote d’Ivoire as voters await election results

Niger Presidential Runoff: February 21, 2021

Niger held a presidential runoff on February 21, 2021 amid security threats and violence. Despite that, the historic election facilitated Niger’s first peaceful transfer of power from one elected president to another. More

Al Jazeera (March 8, 2021): Niger’s outgoing president wins coveted Mo Ibrahim prize

David Pilling, Financial Times (March 7, 2021): Niger president Issoufou wins $5m leadership prize

Uganda General Elections: January 14, 2021

Uganda held presidential and legislative elections on January 14, 2021. President Yoweri Museveni has held power since 1986, but this time faced possibly his biggest challenge yet in the form of 37-year-old pop star Bobi Wine. Following the elections, the government launched a brutal crackdown on the opposition. More

Rodney Muhumuza, AP (March 9, 2021): Uganda’s Bobi Wine calls for peaceful protests after polls

Karen McIntyre, The Conversation (March 8, 2021): Why working as a journalist in Uganda is particularly tough

Ian Katusiime, The Independent Uganda (March 8, 2021): Museveni’s American dilemma

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. NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo won re-election, but NDC’s John Mahama challenged the results. More

Daniel Finnan, RFI (March 5, 2021): Soul-searching for Mahama after court verdict rejects challenge to Ghana polls

The Africa Report (March 4, 2021): Ghana: Supreme Court throws out NDC petition on presidential election results

Kent Mensah, AFP (March 4, 2021): Ghana court dismisses the opposition’s election challenge

Zimbabwe General Elections: July 30, 2018

A coup in 2017 led to the fall of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s longtime dictator, who left a legacy of gross economic mismanagement and political repression. However, democracy continues to face many challenges in Zimbabwe.

Columbus Mavhunga, VOA (March 6, 2021): Zimbabwe Police Rearrest 3 Women Opposition Activists

Regional News and Analysis

Neil Munshi, Financial Times (March 7, 2021): Democracy erodes in central and west Africa

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

Share This