Africa This Week: June 7, 2021

June 7, 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.

A street in Bahir Dar, capital of Ethiopia’s Amhara region. Ethiopia holds elections this month. Photo credit: Wikimedia/O.Mustafin (CC0 1.0)

Upcoming Africa Elections

Ethiopia General Elections: June 21, 2021

Ethiopia will hold general elections on June 21, 2021, after several postponements. These elections are taking place in the context of increasing ethnic violence that has reached crisis levels. More

Nic Cheeseman and Yohannes Woldemariam, Mail and Guardian (June 7, 2021): Five reasons Ethiopia’s elections will do more harm than good

APA (June 7, 2021): AU to deploy observers to Ethiopia’s general elections

AFP (June 3, 2021): ‘It was a war’: Ethnic killings cloud Ethiopia’s election buildup

Zambia General Elections: August 12, 2021

Zambia has scheduled general elections for August 12, 2021. Zambia used to be a model democracy in the region, with regular, competitive elections and a vibrant civil society. However, under Edgar Lungu, elected in 2015 to complete the term of Michael Sata (who died in office), Zambia began to regress toward authoritarianism. The 2016 elections were  marred by political violence and allegations of vote-rigging but ultimately judged credible. However, there are fears that Lungu could try to rig the 2021 elections. More

Taonga Clifford Mitimingi, Bloomberg (June 3, 2021): Zambia Suspends Election Rallies as Covid-19 Cases Surge

Nigeria, Anambra State Gubernatorial Election: November 6, 2021, followed by Presidential and Legislative Elections: February 23, 2023

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, holds elections in February 2023, but potential 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.

Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw, Wall Street Journal (June 4, 2021): Twitter’s Operations Are Suspended in Nigeria: Government action comes after social media giant suspended the president’s account for a tweet the company said violated its policies

Mali Presidential and Legislative Elections: February 27, 2022 (following coup)

Mali has set presidential and legislative elections for February 27, 2022, following the August 2020 coup. In the coup, soldiers removed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, dissolved parliament (which had just been elected in April, in elections marred by fraud and intimidation) and established a transitional government. Before that, there will be a constitutional referendum on October 31, 2021 and local and regional elections on December 26.

On May 25, Mali had another coup, but leaders have stated that the elections will remain on the calendar for 2022. Nonetheless, the situation remains fluid.

Julia Marnin, Newsweek (June 7, 2021): Assimi Goita Sworn In as Mali’s President Following Second Coup in 9 Months

Lara Marlowe, The Irish Times (June 7, 2021): Army colonel sworn in as Mali president as tensions with Paris grow

Lisa Bryant, Voice of America (June 7, 2021): Will Promises of Democratic Transition in Mali Convince France? 

Ethan Hajji and Fraser Jackson, France24 (June 5, 2021 – video): Hundreds rally in Bamako in support of Mali opposition movement

Franec24 (June 2, 2021 – video): African Union announces ‘immediate suspension’ of Mali after second coup

Kenya General Elections: August 9, 2022

Kenya is due to hold 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. Kenyan politics is highly polarized with a strong ethnic component.

Al Jazeera (June 2, 2021): Kenya gov’t appeals ruling against BBI constitutional changes

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

Chad held a presidential election on April 11, 2021. President Idriss Déby, seized power in a rebellion in 1990, won a sixth term. However, on April 20, he was killed by rebels.

Although the country holds elections, there has never been a change in power by a free or fair vote. Long-delayed long-delayed parliamentary elections had been set for October 24, 2021 and local elections for April 2022. Originally due in 2015, the legislative elections have been delayed multiple times. However, Deby’s death could lead to further delays – the military has said it plans to rule the country for 18 months. More

AFP (June 8, 2021): Chad Junta Authorizes Key Opposition Party

Past Africa Elections

Somaliland Parliamentary and Local Elections: May 31, 2021

Somaliland held its long-overdue parliamentary and local elections on May 31, 2021. The two main opposition parties, Waddani and UCID, together won more seats in parliament than the governing Kulmiye party. Waddani and UCID will team up to choose a parliament speaker and on local councils (where they also won). Somaliland is a presidential system, so there’s no PM. President Muse Bihi Abdi from Kulmiye remains head of state. But it is significant for democracy that the opposition won the “midterms.”

Somaliland has de facto but not internationally-recognized independence from Somalia, and has a much more developed democracy, with direct elections. More

Michelle Gavin, Council on Foreign Relations (June 8, 2021): Recognizing Somaliland’s Democratic Success

Matthew Gordon, World Politics Review (June 8, 2021): Somaliland’s Moment of Reckoning

AFP (June 7, 2021): Somaliland Opposition Joins Forces to Grab Control of Parliament

RUSI (June 4, 2021): Somaliland: The Power of Democracy

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

Jason Burke and Samuel Okiror, The Guardian (June 6, 2021): Hundreds detained without trial in Uganda in new wave of repression

Regional Analysis

Miriam Frost, The Hill (June 7, 2021): The quiet symptoms of democratic backsliding in Africa

Torinmo Salau, Foreign Policy (June 3, 2021): Twitter’s Presence in Africa Won’t End Internet Censorship

Africa Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Ethiopia General Elections: June 21, 2021

Mauritius Local Elections: June 2021 (due – delay likely)

Sao Tome and Principe Presidential Election: July 18, 2021

Zambia Presidential, Legislative, and Local Elections: August 12, 2021

Somalia Indirect Presidential and Legislative Elections: By August 2021 (due, following agreement)

Cabo Verde Presidential Election: October 17, 2021

South Africa Municipal Elections: October 27, 2021

Nigeria, Anambra State Gubernatorial Election: November 6, 2021

Gambia Presidential Election: December 4, 2021

Angola Local Elections: Overdue, might possibly happen in 2021

Senegal Local Elections: January 23, 2021

Mali Presidential and Legislative Elections: February 27, 2022 (following coup)

Gambia Parliamentary Elections: April 2022 (due)

Burkina Faso Local Elections: May 2022 (due)

Lesotho Parliamentary Elections: June 2022 (due)

Republic of Congo Legislative Elections: July 2022 (due)

Senegal Legislative Elections: July 2022 (due)

Kenya Presidential and Legislative Elections: August 9, 2022

Angola Legislative Elections: August 2022 (due)

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

Equatorial Guinea Parliamentary Elections: November 2022 (due)

Sudan General Elections: Late 2022 (due)

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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