November 1, 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.
Cape Town’s Old City Hall, which no longer houses the municipal government but rather functions as a cultural venue. South Africa holds local elections November 1. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Magemu (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Somalia, Indirect Legislative Elections: Due, Indirect Presidential Election: February 8, 2022 (tentative – preceded by indirect legislative elections), following Direct Local Elections in Puntland: October 25, 2021
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
Abdulkadir Khalif, AFP (November 2, 2021): Somalia kicks off long-delayed elections of MPs
Dalsan Radio Mogadishu (November 1, 2021): Somalia Kicks Off Lower House Elections
Africanews/AFP (November 1, 2021): Somalia kicks off next stage of long-delayed elections
Mohamed Odowa, DW (October 28, 2021): Somalia: Renewed clashes dim hopes of a credible election
Meressa K Dessu, ISS Today (October 26, 2021): Somalia continues to battle violence and insecurity as deadline for peace mission withdrawal looms
Abdulkadir Khalif, Daily Nation (October 26, 2021): Somalia: In Conservative Somalia, Senate Now Has More Women
Puntland Local Elections
Somalia (Puntland State),
Local elections (final result statewide)
Kaah (liberal/centre-right): 39%
Mideeye (conservative): 30%
Run & Cadaalad (regionalist): 25%
— Africa Elects (@AfricaElect) October 27, 2021
Garowe Online (October 27, 2021): Somalia: Farmaajo congratulates Puntland for holding direct election
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 Guardian (November 2, 2021): South Africa’s ANC on course for worst ever electoral performance in local polls: Party expected to dip below 50% in municipal elections with more than half of polling stations reporting
Nickolaus Bauer, Al Jazeera (October 28, 2021): South Africa gears up for hotly contested local elections
Danielle Resnick, Brookings Institution (October 28, 2021): South Africa’s municipal elections: A referendum on political parties and local democracy
Matthew Blackman, Daily Maverick (October 27, 2021): I love Manchester United and I love the ANC, but both are overdue for relegation
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.
Africanews/AFP (November 1, 2021): Nigeria: New leadership for PDP as it eyes 2023 polls
BBC (October 31, 2021 – in Pidgin): Update on PDP national convention: New PDP national chairman, 25 yr-old youth leader, full list of excos
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
Omar Wally, DW (October 29, 2021 – video): A Rasta president for Gambia?
Marième Soumaré, The Africa Report (October 26, 2021): Gambia: Former president Jammeh has not had his last word on the December elections
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.
Carley Petesch AP (October 29, 2021): US ambassador to UN urges Mali to hold February elections
Reuters (October 25, 2021): Mali tells U.N. it will confirm post-coup election date in December
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.
Chrispin Mwakideu, DW (November 1, 2021): Concern as Kenya’s voters shun registration for 2022 election
Edith M. Lederer, AP (October 28, 2021): Kenya’s president Kenyatta: Africa is at a crossroads
Central African Republic Local Elections: September 2022 (due – delays possible)
The Central African Republic (CAR) is due to hold local elections in September 2022, although delays are possible. These will be the first local elections since 1988, and they follow presidential and partial legislative elections that took place on December 27, 2020 in the midst of a worsening security situation. Rebels disrupted voting in some areas, so consequently, those constituencies held the first round of their legislative elections on March 14, 2021. In addition, some of the constituencies that did vote on December 27 held runoff elections for their legislators.
These elections took place in the context of a humanitarian crisis and a crisis of governance. Sectarian clashes have been taking place since 2013. Moreover, Russia has ramped up its political and military involvement in exchange for mining rights. More
AFP (October 31, 2021): Central African opposition parties reject national dialogue plans
Le Monde with AFP (October 19, 2021 – in French): Central African Republic: UN warns against postponement of local elections
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
Human Rights Watch (October 29, 2021): Chad: Violent Repression of Opposition Protest
Eswatini Parliamentary Elections: August 2023 (due)
Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is an absolute monarchy. The country does hold parliamentary elections, but the parliament does not actually have much power, and the elections are tightly controlled, without much choice for voters.
On June 20, 2021, a series of protests calling for democratic reform began. Protests continue.
Peter Fabricius, Daily Maverick (October 25, 2021): Eswatini opposition rejects King Mswati’s offer of a national dialogue
Democratic Republic of the Congo General Elections: December 2023 (due)
The DRC is due to hold general elections in 2023. The December 2018 presidential and legislative elections, which took place after multiple delays, were mired in controversy and dispute. The election commission declared opposition leader Félix Tshisekedi the winner of the presidential poll, but the Catholic Church, which deployed 40,000 election observers and is a highly trusted institution in the country, said that their data indicated a victory for another opposition leader, Martin Fayulu.
When Kabila’s chosen successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, was polling too poorly for Kabila to credibly rig the election for him, Kabila cut a deal with Tshisekedi.
The legislative elections – also highly disputed – produced a majority for Kabila’s coalition. Major opposition figures Moïse Katumbi and Jean-Pierre Bemba were barred from the polls and spent the election cycle outside the country, but both have returned.
Reuben Loffman, The Conversation (October 27, 2021): DRC’s Tshisekedi has secured his power base: now it’s time to deliver
Africanews (October 27, 2021): Congo swears in election chief after disputed nomination
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
Guardian Nigeria (October 30, 2021): West Africa bloc sees ‘positive’ steps to civilian rule in Guinea
Ougna Camara and Katarina Hoije, Bloomberg (October 30, 2021): Guinea Names Conde as Finance Minister to Post-Coup Cabinet
Nathalie Wakam, Africanews (October 29, 2021): Guinea after Condé: Interview with opponent Cellou Diallo
Sudan General Elections: By 2024 (due – unclear following coup)
Sudan plans to hold general elections by 2024, the culmination of a five-year transition to democracy that began with the July 2019 removal of dictator Omar al-Bashir following several months of protests. Al-Bashir was removed in a military coup, and a junta ruled briefly, but entered into an agreement with the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), a wide-ranging coalition of opposition groups, to transition the country to democracy. However, numerous challenges remain.
France24 (October 30, 2021): Protesters killed as tens of thousands demonstrate against Sudan’s military coup
Noha Elehnnawy, AP (October 29, 2021): Sudan coup leader says he’ll appoint new premier within week
The Economist (October 28, 2021): The army’s takeover in Sudan highlights a worrying trend: Jihadism and great-power competition are behind the rise in coups
Michael Cohen, Bloomberg (October 27, 2021): How Sudan’s Coup Is Threatening Foreign Aid, Path to Democracy
Elliot Smith, CNBC (October 26, 2021): Sudan’s military has seized power in a coup. Here’s what you need to know
France24 (October 26, 2021): As it happened: African Union suspends Sudan after coup, security forces tighten grip
Khalid Abdelaziz, Reuters (October 26, 2021): Seven killed, 140 hurt in protests against Sudan military coup
Max Bearak, Washington Post (October 25, 2021): Sudan’s military detains prime minister and dissolves government in coup
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.
Michelle Gavin, Council on Foreign Relations (November 1, 2021): One Year On, Ethiopia’s Tigray Conflict No Closer to Political Solution
Nicola de Jager, The Conversation (October 27, 2021): Sub-Saharan Africa’s liberty deficit: can civil society help fill the gap?
Somalia, Indirect Legislative Elections: Ongoing
South Africa Local Elections: November 1, 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)
Central African Republic Local Elections: September 2022 (due – delays possible)
Sao Tome and Principe Parliamentary Elections: October 2022 (due)
Equatorial Guinea Parliamentary Elections: November 2022 (due)
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