Africa This Week: October 11, 2021

October 11, 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.

The city of Mindelo in Cabo Verde. Cabo Verde holds a presidential election on October 17. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Franzfoto (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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

Eugenio Teixeira, Voice of America (October 9, 2021 – in Portuguese): Cape Verde: Citizens consider the figure of President of the Republic relevant

Somalia, Puntland Direct Local Elections: October 25, 2021 and Indirect Presidential Election: February 8, 2022 (tentative – preceded by indirect legislative elections)

Somalia does not hold direct elections, but rather holds indirect elections in a clan-based system. Currently, an indirect presidential election is planned for October 10, delayed from February 8, 2021. The term of President Mohamed “Farmaajo” has expired, leaving Somalia in a political and constitutional crisis. In April 2021, Farmaajo sought to extend his term for two years, but parliament voted to reject the extension.

While the United States and the EU threatened sanctions, some analysts believed that the delay could pave the way for direct elections. However, critics dismiss this idea as a ruse to justify Farmaajo’s extension of his term. The parties reached a deal to hold the elections on October 10, 2021, but this has been pushed to February 8, 2022. Additional delays are possible.

Meanwhile, the self-declared autonomous state of Puntland plans to hold its first-ever direct local elections on October 25. More

AFP (October 11, 2021): African Union to broaden Somalia operations

Dalsan Radio (October 10, 2021): Somalia Misses Presidential Election Deadline

Mohammed Omar Ahmed and Simon Marks, Bloomberg (October 5, 2021): Somalia’s Long-Awaited Presidential Elections Face Another Delay

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.

Vanguard Nigeria (October 6, 2021): Anambra election: PDP cautions against declaring state of emergency

Lawrence Njoku, Guardian Nigeria (October 5, 2021): Insecurity, killings threaten Anambra governorship election

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

Human Rights Watch (October 8, 2021): Gambia : UN Backs Hybrid Court for Jammeh-Era Crimes

AllAfrica (October 6, 2021): Gambia: U.S. Acts to Seize Former Gambia Leader Jammeh’s Property

Chido Mutangadura, ISS Today (October 5, 2021): The Gambia’s Barrow teams up with country’s former ruler signalling preference for political power over justice

Senegal Local Elections: January 31, 2022

Senegal has set local elections – originally due in June 2019 but delayed several times – for January 31, 2022. Meanwhile, legislative elections are due in July 2022. More

Marième Soumaré, Jeune Afrique (October 6, 2021 – in French): Local elections in Senegal: Macky Sall’s dilemma

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.

Le Figaro with AFP (October 11, 2021 – in French): Mali: Elections compromised by the security situation

Africanews with AFP (October 8, 2021): Mali to launch national forum from October, before fixing election date

Reuters (October 8, 2021): Death toll from militant attack on Malian soldiers rises to 16

Burkina Faso Local Elections: May 2022 (due)

Burkina Faso is due to hold local elections in May 2022. These follow 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 (October 11, 2021): Trial over murder of ‘Africa’s Che Guevara’ opens in Burkina Faso

Ruth Maclean, New York Times (October 11, 2021): Who Killed African Icon Thomas Sankara? Trial Opens, 34 Years After His Death.

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.

Steve Mkwale, Standard Kenya (October 7, 2021): ODM leader Raila Odinga rules out coalition with Ruto for 2022 polls

Guyo Chepe Turi, ISS Today (October 6, 2021): Kenyan voters need leaders focused on equity and inclusivity: As deals are done ahead of the next election, citizens should demand more than ethnic alliances and populist rhetoric.

Okwaro Oscar Plato, The Standard Kenya (October 6, 2021): Why tribalism should never be a factor in our elections again

Angola Legislative Elections: August 2022 (due) and Local Elections: Overdue, no date set

Angola, which has never held free elections, and has been ruled by the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), a former armed group, since independence in 1976, is due to hold legislative elections in August 2022. In addition, the country is overdue to hold its first-ever local elections. These 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. More

AFP (October 9, 2021): Angola opposition cries foul as court ousts leader

Africanews with AFP (October 6, 2021): Angola’s opposition parties form coalition

Candido Mendes, Bloomberg (October 5, 2021): Angola Opposition Parties Unite to Challenge MPLA’s 46-Year Rule

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 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

Bintu Zahara Sakor, Mohammed Sacko, and Vamo Soko, PRIO (October 8, 2021): Military Coups d’État and Guinea’s Rocky Road to Political Stability

Reuters (October 7, 2021): Guinea junta names former civil servant Beavogui as prime minister

AFP (October 5, 2021): US urges Guinea coup leader to set election timeline

Sierra Leone Presidential Election: March 2024 (due)

Sierra Leone is due to hold presidential and legislative elections in March 2024. In the last elections, in March 2018, Julius Maada Bio from the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) – one of the country’s two major parties – won the presidency. However, the All People’s Congress (APC), the other major party, won the most seats in parliament.

Peter Clottey, Voice of America (October 5, 2021): Q&A: At Midterm, Sierra Leone President Vows to Continue Reforms

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.

The Economist (October 9, 2021): Ethiopia is losing friends and influence: An essential Western ally now faces sanctions and isolation

Reuters (October 5, 2021): Sworn in for new term, Ethiopia leader promises to fend off foreign pressure

China in Africa

South China Morning Post (October 11, 2021): China’s African infrastructure deals face growing concern that locals don’t feel the benefits

Africa Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

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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