Africa This Week: January 17, 2022

January 17, 2022

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 library at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal, an example of distinctive “forceful geometry” that has become a characteristic of Dakar’s architecture. Senegal holds local elections on January 23. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Bess Sadler (CC BY 2.0)

Upcoming Africa Elections

Senegal Local Elections: January 23, 2022, followed by legislative elections in 2022 and a presidential election in 2024

Senegal has set local elections – originally due in June 2019 but delayed several times – for January 23, 2022. Meanwhile, legislative elections are due in July 2022.

Long considered a stable democracy, backsliding has been taking place under President Macky Sall, who has been accused of prosecuting his political opponents on politically-motivated charges (Freedom House downgraded the country from Free to Partly Free in 2020). Consequently, Senegal saw violent protests in March 2021 following rape charges against former opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, and further protests in November 2021. Some are concerned that Sall could attempt to seek an unconstitutional third term, especially if his allies win another majority in the 2022 legislative elections.

A series of oil and gas discoveries starting in 2014 have set Senegal up to become a player in energy production. Sall is a former oil executive and thus has focused on beginning production. More

Mawunyo Hermann Boko, Jeune Afrique (January 13, 2022 – in French): Local Elections in Senegal: Main opposition coalition refuses to sign non-violence charter

Somalia, Indirect Legislative Elections: Due, Indirect Presidential Election: By February 25, 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.

An ongoing conflict between Farmaajo and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and continual election delays are exacerbating the country’s instability.

Somalia’s strategic location means that instability has impact beyond its borders. More

AFP (January 14, 2022): US threatens action if Somalia misses new election deadline

Mohamed Kahiye, Voice of America (January 10, 2022): Somali Leaders Urged to Implement New Elections Agreement

Angola Presidential and Legislative Elections: August 2022

Angola holds presidential and legislative elections in August 2022. The country has not to date held free elections. The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), a former armed group, has been in power since since independence in 1975. For 38 years, the MPLA’s José Eduardo Dos Santos ruled Angola with an iron fist. His regime engaged in rampant corruption and kleptocracy. Dos Santos’s successor, João Lourenço, has enacted some reforms and sought to curtail corruption, but many issues remain. Moreover, local elections (the country’s first) have been delayed repeatedly, at times sparking protests. The political climate remains tense.

MPLA’s vote share has been steadily decreasing with each successive election: it received 81 percent of the vote in 2008, 72 percent in 2012, and 61 percent in 2017. For the upcoming elections, the three main opposition parties will back a single presidential candidate: Adalberto Costa Junior, leader of UNITA, the main opposition party.

Angola is one of the biggest oil producers in Africa. More

Candido Mendes, Bloomberg (January 12, 2022): Angolan President Vows to Secure Elections as Unrest Mounts

Burkina Faso Local Elections: May 2022 (due)

Burkina Faso is due to hold local elections in May 2022, but delays are possible due to the growing security crisis. These follow presidential and parliamentary elections on November 22, 2020. The political climate remains uncertain as the country’s democrats seek to consolidate the young, fragile democracy. More

Daniel Eizenga, The Conversation (January 18, 2022): Another coup has been averted in Burkina Faso: but for how long?

Henry Wilkins, Voice of America (January 13, 2022): Analysts: Burkina Faso Likely Averted Coup Linked to Military Infighting

Republic of the Congo Legislative and Local Elections: July 2022

The Republic of the Congo (sometimes called Congo-Brazzaville) will hold legislative and local elections in July 2022 or thereabouts. These follow last year’s presidential election. Denis Sassou Nguesso, who has been president almost continuously since 1979 and rules with an iron fist, won re-election. Elections have not been free or fair. More

RFI (January 16, 2022 – in French): Congo-Brazzaville: concern of the opposition ahead of a modification of the Constitution

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.

Because of the crises in neighboring Ethiopia and Somalia, Kenya plays an important role in the region. In addition, Kenya has been an important partner to the United States and other countries on counterterrorism.

AFP (January 18, 2022): Kenya’s top court reviews disputed bid to change constitution

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 while fighting on the front lines. His son, 37-year-old General Mahamat Déby, declared himself interim leader, backed by the military. He dissolved parliament and promised elections within 18 months, by December 2022. However, it is unclear when the elections will actually happen.

Although the country holds elections, there has never been a change in power by a free or fair vote, and elections are riven by lengthy delays, violence, and fraud. More

Muhammed Magdy, Al-Monitor (January 12, 2022): Young Chadian leader sees partner, role model in Sisi: Mahamat ibn Idriss Deby Itno is seeking Cairo’s support to manage the country’s transition.

Nigeria General Elections: February 18, 2023

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, holds general elections on February 18, 2023, but some states are due to hold gubernatorial elections before that, including Ekiti and Osun states in 2022.

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.

Chidi Odinkalu, The Cable Nigeria (January 16, 2022): Five factors will determine #NigeriaDecides2023

Alexander Onukwue, Quartz (January 13, 2022): Twitter must pay taxes in Nigeria after the government lifted its seven-month ban

Martina Schwikowski and Kate Hairsine, DW (January 13, 2022): Nigeria: Who is aspiring president Bola Tinubu? Ruling party chief and influential former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu has declared his ambitions to run for president in Nigeria’s 2023 elections.

Ruth Olurounbi and William Clowes, Bloomberg (January 10, 2022): Nigeria’s Ruling Party Leader Tinubu to Run for President

Liberia Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2023 (due)

Liberia is due to hold presidential and legislative elections in October 2023. The country’s 2017 election brought the first peaceful transition of power since 1944, but Liberia still faces some challenges as it seeks to consolidate democracy. More

Dounard Bondo, The Africa Report (January 10, 2022): Liberia: Breakup in main opposition coalition alliance helps Weah ahead of 2023 vote

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.

Stanis Bujakera and Hereward Holland, Reuters (January 14, 2022): Vice president of Congo’s parliament resigns over ‘bullying, humiliation’

Vava Tampa, The Guardian (January 10, 2022): As violence in the Congo escalates, thousands are in effect being held hostage

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. Civil servant and diplomat Abdalla Hamdok became prime minister.

However, another coup in October 2021 returned Sudan to military rule. Hamdok resigned. Protests continue and the country’s political future remains uncertain.

Nosmot Gbadamosi, Foreign Policy (January 12, 2022): Sudan’s Future Hangs in the Balance: Demonstrators find themselves at odds with key U.N. and U.S. mediators.

Mali Presidential and Legislative Elections: Delayed to December 2025

Mali has set presidential and legislative elections for February 27, 2022, following the August 2020 coup, but the interim government has proposed a delay to December 2025, sparking a backlash from neighboring countries and the international community.

In the coup, soldiers removed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (who has since died at age 76, having been in poor health for years), dissolved parliament (which had just been elected in April, in elections marred by fraud and intimidation) and established a transitional government.

On May 25, 2021, Mali had another coup, but leaders have stated that the elections will remain on the calendar for 2022. However, the situation remains fluid. Most recently, the government has proposed delaying the elections to December 2025, sparking the threat of sanctions from the regional bloc ECOWAS. France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, has called the interim government illegitimate, and the international community has condemned its failure to make progress against the jihadist threat that plages the Sahel.

France24 (January 16, 2022): Hollande hails Mali’s late president Keïta as a proud African and ‘man of culture’

Harrison Smith, Washington Post (January 16, 2022): Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, Malian president deposed in coup, dies at 76

Baba Ahmed, AP (January 14, 2022): Crowds protest sanctions, pressure, after Mali vote delay

AFP (January 13, 2022): Who supports Mali’s junta?

Edith M. Lederer, AP (January 12, 2022): Russia and China block UN support for sanctions on Mali

Africanews with AFP (January 11, 2022): Guinea keeps borders open with Mali hit by ECOWAS sanctions

John Irish, Reuters (January 11, 2022): French official says 300-400 Russian mercenaries operate in Mali

Christopher Michael Faulkner, The Conversation (January 10, 2022): Rising instability in Mali raises fears about role of private Russian military group

Neil Munshi, Financial Times (January 10, 2022): Mali’s neighbours impose sanctions over election delay

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

Boubacar Diallo and Krista Larson, AP (January 17, 2022): Ex-Guinean President Conde flown abroad for medical care

UN News (January 10, 2022): UN top envoy: Resurgence of coups d’état, consequence of being ‘completely out of step’  

Architecture in Senegal

Oliver Wainwright, The Guardian (January 13, 2022): Tented love: how Senegal created a spectacular new African architecture

Africa Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Somalia, Indirect Legislative Elections: Ongoing

Senegal Local Elections: January 23, 2022

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

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

Gambia Legislative and Local Elections: April 2022 (due)

Burkina Faso Local Elections: May 2022 (delays possible)

Nigeria, Gubernatorial Election in Ekiti State: June 18, 2022

Nigeria, Gubernatorial Election in Osun State: July 16, 2022

Republic of Congo Legislative Elections: July 2022 (due)

Senegal Legislative Elections: July 2022 (due)

Kenya Presidential and Legislative Elections: August 9, 2022

Angola Presidential and Legislative Elections: August 2022

Lesotho Parliamentary Elections: September 2022

Central African Republic Local Elections: September 2022 (due – delays possible)

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

Somaliland Presidential Election: November 13, 2022

Equatorial Guinea Legislative and Local Elections: November 2022 (due)

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

South Sudan General Elections: December 2022 (tentative)

Nigeria General Elections: February 18, 2023

Nigeria Gubernatorial Elections in Most States: March 2023 (due)

Djibouti Legislative Elections: February 2023

Zimbabwe General Elections: July 2023

Eswatini Parliamentary Elections: August 2023 (due)

Gabon Presidential Election: August 2023 (due)

Mauritania Parliamentary Elections: September 2023 (due)

Gabon Legislative Elections: October 2023 (due)

Liberia Presidential and Legislative Elections: October 2023 (due)

Nigeria, Gubernatorial Elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States: November 2023 (due)

Madagascar Presidential Election: November 2023 (due)

Democratic Republic of the Congo Presidential and Legislative Elections: December 2023 (due)

Togo Legislative Elections: December 2023 (due)

Côte d’Ivoire Local Elections: 2023

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