Africa This Week: February 14, 2022

February 14, 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.

A street in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The country averted a coup this month. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Antoine Moens de Hase (CC BY 2.0)

Upcoming Africa Elections

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, parties have agreed to complete the process by February 25, 2022, delayed from February 8, 2021, but are unlikely to meet the deadline. 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. Legislative election are underway, but proceeding slowly, and will unlikely be complete in time to meet the February 25 deadline for the presidential election.

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

Feisal Omar and Abdi Sheikh, Reuters (February 10, 2022): Car bomb targeting Somalia election delegates kills six

Democratic Republic of the Congo Gubernatorial and Vice-Gubernatorial Elections: April 6, 2022

The DRC will hold gubernatorial and vice-gubernatorial elections on April 6, 2022. After that, the country 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.

Africanews with AFP (February 13, 2022): Combat troops patrol in Kinshasa after failed coup attempt

Camille Pauvarei, Africanews (February 9, 2022): RDC failed coup plot: president’s security adviser in detention

Jean-Yves Kamale, AP (February 8, 2022): Congo warns of security threat amid coup plot reports

Senegal Legislative Elections: July 2022 (due)

Senegal held local elections on January 23, and is due to hold legislative elections by July 2022. The next presidential election is due in 2024.

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.

In the local elections, the opposition won in Dakar (which was already an opposition stronghold) and the southern city of Ziguinchor, where Sonko was elected mayor. Several candidates close to Sall, including health minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, lost their races.

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

Amat Jeng, Al Jazeera (February 10, 2022): Celebrations unlikely to last long in Macky Sall’s Senegal: As the West African nation celebrates its AFCON victory, political instability is looming on the horizon.

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

Loïcia Martial, RFI (February 13, 2022 – in French): Congo-B: before the legislative elections, civil society wants a “useful” and “open” consultation

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.

Hillary Orinde, AFP (February 10, 2022): ‘They will still steal’: election apathy dogs Kenya’s youth

Michelle Gavin, Council on Foreign Relations (February 9, 2022): Kenyan Elections Will Struggle to Meet the Moment: Kenya’s pivotal role as a regional powerbroker could be compromised by domestic distractions related to this year’s presidential election.

Victor Abuso, The Africa Report (February 8, 2022): Kenya: Women and NGOs express fear about sexual violence ahead of 2022 polls

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.

David Pilling, Financial Times (February 14, 2022): Nigeria: Africa’s paradoxical powerhouse – For all its economic might, it remains a deeply dysfunctional country

Abiodun Fatai, PhD, The Conversation (February 13, 2022): Digital technology can improve Nigeria’s elections: lessons from 2019

Anthony Osae-Brown, Bloomberg (February 13, 2022): Nigeria’s Ruling Party and PDP Share Wins in Local Abuja Polls

South Sudan Elections: By March 2023 (planned)

South Sudan plans to hold elections by March 2023, the first since independence in 2011. Salva Kiir had been president of the semi-autonomous region while it was still part of Sudan, and he remained in office following independence. The legislature’s mandate expired in 2015 (it had been elected in 2010, before independence), and has been extended several times. Additional election delays are possible.

John Tanza, Voice of America (February 14, 2022): South Sudan in Focus

UN News (February 11, 2022): South Sudan: Political violence on the rise, UN rights experts warn

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.

Dabanga (February 14, 2022): Sudan junta head: ‘Military will quit politics once consensus reached via elections’

Prachi Vidwans, World Politics Review (February 10, 2022): Democracy Activists Are Losing Faith in Power-Sharing Transitions

Mali Presidential and Legislative Elections: Delayed to December 2025

Mali had 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.

AFP (February 14, 2022): Draft law excludes Mali junta chief from presidential run

Burkina Faso Elections: TBD, following coup

Burkina Faso is due to hold local elections in May 2022, but delays are likely due to the growing security crisis and recent coup.

On January 24, 2022, a group of soldiers detained President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, dissolved the legislature, and declared that a military junta would control the country moving forward. This coup (which follows coups in nearby Guinea, Chad, and Mali) plunges the country’s political future into even greater uncertainty. Burkina Faso avoided an earlier coup attempt, and some analysts believed that a successful coup was only a matter of time given simmering discontent with Kabore’s handling of the jihadist threat and other issues.

Captain Sidsore Kaber Ouedraogo of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (the name the junta has given itself) says new elections will take place in the future, but has not specified a date. More

Sam Mednick, AP (February 11, 2022): Burkina Faso’s junta leader is declared president by council

Past Africa Elections

Burundi General Elections: May 20, 2020

Burundi held presidential, legislative, and communal elections on May 20, 2020. They were denounced as neither free nor fair and characterized by intimidation (and sometimes murder) of the opposition, political violence, and a lack of media freedom. However, there have recently been signs that some believe could indicate that the country is beginning to open up a bit more political space.

Mausi Segun, Foreign Affairs (February 8, 2022): Burundi’s Vicious Crackdown Never Ended. America and the EU Just Chose to Ignore It

Eloge Willy Kaneza, AP (February 8, 2022): EU lifts its suspension of aid to Burundi’s government


Abu-Bakarr Jalloh and Mikhail Bushuev, DW (February 11, 2022): Russia seeks role as Africa’s security broker amid wave of coups

Folahanmi Aina and Ibrahim Al-bakri Nyei, Al Jazeera (February 11, 2022): Why have civilians welcomed the recent coups in West Africa?

Kristen A. Harkness, Washington Post (February 9, 2022): Africa has had eight coup attempts in recent months. What’s behind the ‘coup epidemic’?

Africa Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Somalia, Indirect Legislative Elections: Ongoing

Somalia Indirect Presidential Election: February 25, 2022 (Tentative, following numerous delays – additional delays possible)

Democratic Republic of the Congo Gubernatorial and Vice-Gubernatorial Elections: April 6, 2022

Gambia Legislative and Local Elections: April 9, 2022

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)

Nigeria General Elections: February 18, 2023

Djibouti Legislative Elections: February 2023

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

South Sudan General Elections: By March 2023 (tentative)

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

Mali Presidential and Legislative Elections: TBD, following coup

Burkina Faso Elections: TBD, following coup

Guinea Elections: TBD, following coup

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