Africa This Week: October 4, 2021

October 4, 2021

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.

A street in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, begins his second term amid multiple crises. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Sam Effron (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Upcoming Africa Elections

Cabo Verde Presidential Election: October 17, 2021

Cabo Verde, a stable democracy with regular elections and peaceful transfers of power, holds a presidential election on October 17, 2021, following parliamentary elections that took place on April 18, 2021. The incumbent center-right MpD won, defeating the socialist PAICV (which had run Cabo Verde as a one-party state until 1990, but MpD won a historic victory in 2016).

Cabo Verde’s strategic location in the Atlantic has made it the site of increasing geopolitical competition between the U.S., NATO, and the EU on one hand and China on the other. While PAICV advocates strong links with Beijing, and has a party-to-party relationship with the Chinese Communist Party, current PM Ulisses Correia e Silva from MpD advocates stronger links with NATO and the West. More

Eugene Teixeira, Voice of America (September 30, 2021 – in Portuguese): Presidents in Cape Verde: Carlos Veiga and José Maria Neves show their credentials

RFI (September 30, 2021 – in Portuguese): The campaign for presidential in Cape Verde has begun

South Africa Local Elections: October 27, 2021

South Africa will hold local elections on October 27, 2021, although some have called for delays due to COVID-19. Voters will elect councils for all municipalities in each of the country’s nine provinces. These are taking place in the context of unrest following the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma for corruption. More

The Economist (October 2, 2021): South Africa’s main opposition sees coalitions ahead: Will a weakening ruling party team up with liberals or the thuggish far left?

Reuters (October 1, 2021): S.African president Ramaphosa eases COVID-19 restrictions to lowest level

Africanews/AFP (September 28, 2021): ‘We will do better’: South Africa’s ruling ANC launches manifesto before local elections

Nigeria, Anambra State Gubernatorial Election: November 6, 2021, followed by several state elections in 2022, and general elections in 2023 (and preceded by local elections in various states)

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, holds general elections in February 2023, but some states are due to hold elections before that.

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.

William Clowes, Bloomberg (October 1, 2021): Nigerian Opposition Hints It Wants Southerner as Next President

Anita Patrick and Stephanie Busari, CNN (October 1, 2021): Twitter says it is ‘continuing to engage’ with the Nigerian government as they discuss lifting ban

Chinedu Asadu, AP (September 30, 2021): Dozens killed and abducted in Nigeria’s north

Gambia Presidential Election: December 4, 2021

Gambia is due to hold its first presidential election since it began its remarkable transition to democracy in 2016, when 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 election 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.

In a shock move, Barrow announced an alliance with Jammeh ahead of December’s election. More

Isaac Kaledzi, DW (October 2, 2021): Gambia: The story of a Jammeh-era survivor

Sheriff Bojang Jr., World Politics Review (October 1, 2021): Barrow’s Alliance with Jammeh Deflates Gambians’ Hopes for Justice

Al Jazeera (September 30, 2021): The Gambia delays report on former longtime leader Jammeh

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

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. However, the situation remains fluid.

Moses Rono, BBC (October 2, 2021): Mali’s plan for Russia mercenaries to replace French troops unsettles Sahel

Al Jazeera (September 29, 2021): Mali receives helicopters and weapons from Russia

David Rich, France24 (September 29, 2021): Mali junta’s sovereignty push arouses hope, fear amid troubled anti-jihadist struggle

RFI (September 28, 2021): France rejects Mali ‘abandonment’ claim, insists election timetable be respected

Roger Boyes, Times of London (September 28, 2021): Mercenaries tighten Putin’s grip in Africa

Jeff Seldin, Voice of America (September 28, 2021): Mali Seeking ‘Better Ways’ to Contain Terrorism

Reuters (September 28, 2021): Mali could delay post-coup elections, interim PM says

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.

Dr Westen K Shilaho, The Conversation (September 28, 2021): Kenya’s next election is in view: the struggle between elites and rule of law is intensifying

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

Reuters (October 2, 2021): One policeman killed, at least ten civilians wounded in Chad opposition protest

Trevor Filseth, National Interest (September 28, 2021): Chad Interim Parliament Announced: Opposition Leaders Excluded

Zimbabwe General Elections: July 2023 (due)

Zimbabwe is due to hold elections in 2023. These 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. However, democracy continues to face many challenges in Zimbabwe.

Gibbs Dube, Voice of America (October 1, 2021): Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Says MDC Alliance Not Barred from Attending Stakeholders Meetings

AFP (October 1, 2021): 19 arrested at Zimbabwe pre-election protest

Guinea Elections: TBD, following coup

On September 5, 2021, Guinea’s president, Alpha Condé, fell in a military coup. Guinea’s political future remains uncertain, but regional and international bodies, as well as Guinean civil society and political groups, have urged elections.

Condé was re-elected in October 2020 amid violence. He sought and won a controversial third term, and for the third time, faced off against opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo. Both candidates claimed they won, but election officials declared Condé the winner. However, Diallo is challenged the results, alleging fraud and prompting street protests leading to at least 10 deaths. The government arrested a number of opposition members following the election. More

Marième Soumaré, The Africa Report (October 4, 2021): Army reform in Guinea: Will Mamady Doumbouya succeed where Alpha Condé failed?

BBC (October 1, 2021): Mamady Doumbouya: Guinea coup leader sworn in as president

Saliou Samb, Reuters (September 28, 2021): Guinea junta bars its members from running in next elections

Boubacar Diallo and Carley Petesch, AP (September 28, 2201): Guinea’s junta releases transition charter toward elections

Past Africa Elections

Ethiopia Partial Elections: September 30, 2021, preceded by General Elections: June 21, 2021

Ethiopia held general elections on June 21, 2021, after several postponements. These elections took place in the context of increasing ethnic violence that has reached crisis levels. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, previously a reformer (he even won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2019) but most recently an authoritarian, won in a landslide. Polling couldn’t happen in several areas due to the ongoing conflict, so make-up votes took place on September 30, amid opposition boycotts. Nonetheless, Abiy already had enough seats to form a new government regardless of the results of the September elections.

AP (October 4, 2021): Ethiopian PM begins 2nd term saying war exacts ‘heavy price’

Bileh Jelan and Siyanne Mekonnen, Addis Standard (October 4, 2021): Analysis : As it reckons with multi-layered crises, Ethiopia forms new government in the absence of Tigray, incomplete electoral process

Bethlehem Feleke and Eliza Mackintosh, CNN (October 1, 2021): Ethiopia to expel UN officials amid fears of Tigray famine

AFP (September 30, 2021): Ethiopia to expel seven senior UN staff for ‘meddling’

France24 (September 30, 2021 – video): Ethiopia elections: Somali region holds vote after 3-month delay

Georja Calvin-Smith and Laura Di Blasio, France24 (September 29, 2021 – video): Opposition parties pull out of Ethiopia’s elections

Maria Gerth-Niculescu, DW (September 28, 2021): Ethiopia: War and optimism collide as Abiy Ahmed prepares to form a new government

Benin Presidential Election: April 11, 2021

Benin held a presidential election on April 11, 2021. Incumbent Patrice Talon won a second term after largely keeping the opposition off the ballot. Previously a model democracy in the region,  Benin has seen democratic decline since Talon’s election in 2016. More

Virgile Dénakpo, African Arguments (September 29, 2021): The jailed candidate: What Madougou’s case tells us about Benin

Regional Analysis

Chris Olaoluwa Ogunmodede, World Politics Review (September 30, 2021): ‘Stability’ Without Democratic Values Has Failed in West Africa

Africa Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Nigeria: Local Elections in Nasarawa State: October 6, 2021

Nigeria: Local Elections in Plateau State: October 9, 2021

Cabo Verde Presidential Election: October 17, 2021

Somalia, Direct Local Elections in Puntland: October 25, 2021

South Africa Local 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

Somalia Indirect Presidential and Legislative Elections: February 8, 2022 (Tentative, following numerous delays – additional delays possible)

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

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)

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