Africa This Week: March 7, 2022

March 7, 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.

Bougainvillea in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-biggest city. Photo credit: Wikimedia/JackyR (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Upcoming Africa Elections

Somalia, Indirect Legislative Elections: Due, Indirect Presidential Election: By March 15, 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

The New Arab (March 7, 2022): IMF warns Somalia aid could lapse amid election delays

Charlotte Hampton, Voice of America (March 1, 2022): In Election Year, Somali Media Face Arrests, Harassment

Zimbabwe By-Elections: March 26, 2022, followed by 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, and the current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, continues to govern in an authoritarian, repressive manner.

Before that, Zimbabwe holds by-elections on March 26, 2022 to fill 28 parliamentary seats and 105 local seats.

March 26, 2022 By-Elections

Columbus Mavhunga, Voice of America (March 6, 2022): Media Watchdog Wants Zimbabwe Government to Ensure Peace During Coming Elections

Sikhululekile Mashingaidze, Mail and Guardian (March 4, 2022): A bloody road to Zimbabwe’s 26 March by-elections

July 2023 General Elections

Brian Raftopoulos, Daily Maverick (March 7, 2022): The 2023 Zimbabwe elections — Zanu-PF’s authoritarian tactics already in play

Voice of America (March 2, 2022): Thokozani Khupe Urges Zimbabwe Opposition to Form Formidable Group Ahead of 2023 Harmonized Elections

Thandekile Moyo, Daily Maverick (February 28, 2022): Zimbabwe’s new political party, Citizens Coalition for Change, sparks fear and violence from Zanu-PF

Gambia Legislative and Local Elections: April 9, 2022

Gambia has scheduled legislative and local elections for April 9, 2022. These follow the December 2021 presidential election, the first 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 2016’s surprising election result, then-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. Jammeh sought to influence this election from exile (he is currently in Equatorial Guinea). Although Jammeh and Barrow had previously made a controversial pre-election deal, they abandoned it and Jammeh ultimately called on voters to oust Barrow, who nonetheless won re-election by a large margin. Even though international observers and Gambian civil society organizations have called the 2021 presidential election credible, some opposition candidates are challenging the results. More

Ismaila Sonko, The Point Gambia (March 2, 2022): VP Touray calls for attitude change

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

Africanews (March 3, 2022): Congolese opposition snubs govt-backed ‘dialogue’

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, although the major candidates have not thus far made ethnicity central to their campaigns.

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.

Jordan Yadoo and David Herbling, Bloomberg (March 7, 2022): Presidential Hopeful Plans to Shun Debt-Fueled Kenyan Projects

Otieno Otieno, The East African (March 5, 2022): Rigging claims could lead to disputed Kenya election results

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.

Shola Lawal, Al Jazeera (March 2, 2022): Analysis: Can Nigeria’s new electoral law inspire a new era?

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.

AFP (March 8, 2022): UN and US press South Sudan to prepare for elections

UN Security Council (March 7, 2022): South Sudan Not Ready for Free, Fair Elections Given Failure to Implement Peace Agreement, Human Rights Activist Tells Security Council

Elise Ann Allen, Crux (March 7, 2022): Pope’s South Sudan visit will be both political and pastoral

Sudan Tribune (March 4, 2022): Pope Francis to visit South Sudan in July

Mozambique General Elections: October 2024 (due)

Mozambique is due to hold general elections in 2024. The last elections, in 2019, came amid several crises, including political violence, natural disasters, and an Islamist insurgency.

Mozambique’s politics have been dominated by FRELIMO, which has been in power since 1975, when Mozambique became independent, and the main opposition RENAMO. FRELIMO was most recently re-elected in 2019. The parties evolved from armed groups that fought a civil war between 1976 and 1992 (and have engaged in clashes since then until an August 2019 peace accord). The Soviet Union backed FRELIMO, while Rhodesia and then apartheid South Africa backed RENAMO.

Borges Nhamirre, Bloomberg (March 3, 2022): Mozambique Prime Minister Loses Job in Biggest Shake-Up Yet

Burkina Faso Elections: TBD, following coup

Burkina Faso is set to hold elections at some point in the future following the 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. Subsequently, coup leader Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was sworn in as president.

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

Africanews with AFP (March 7, 2022): Burkina’s interim gov’t vows to ‘alleviate the suffering of the people’

Africanews (March 6, 2022): Transitional leader of Burkina Faso announces new government

France24 (March 4, 2022): Burkina Faso junta names prime minister for ‘transition’ period

Chris Olaoluwa Ogunmodede, World Politics Review (March 4, 2022): Burkina Faso’s Post-Coup Transition Could Be a Road to Nowhere

Reuters (March 3, 2022): West African leaders cancel Burkina Faso visit after military president’s inauguration

Al Jazeera (March 1, 2022): Burkina Faso approves three-year transition before elections

Alex Vines, The Africa Report (March 1, 2022): Sahel: After a spate of coups, many soldiers ‘are developing a putschist appetite’, what can be done?

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.

Addis Standard (March 1, 2022): #ASDailyScoop: Ruling party to hold first ever general assembly

Tanzania General Elections: October 25, 2020

Tanzania held presidential and legislative elections on October 25, 2020 in the context of a crackdown on the opposition and growing authoritarianism. President John Magufuli, whose Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has been in power since 1961, won a second term, but the opposition said the elections were neither free nor fair. Opposition figures have been arrested, assaulted, and murdered. 

However, in March 2021, Magufuli died of COVID-19, and then-vice president Samia Suluhu Hassan became the country’s first female president. Some have hoped that she would enact reforms geared toward restoring democracy. However, arrests of opposition figures continue. More

Erick Mwakibete, The Citizen Tanzania (March 6, 2022): Three decades of ‘competitive’ politics, Tanzania is still finding its bearings

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Reverberates Around the World

Nosmot Gbadamosi, Foreign Policy (March 2, 2022): How the Russia-Ukraine War Impacts Africans

Drew Forrest, Mail and Guardian (February 28, 2022): Ukraine: SA’s feeble response betrays its own history

Africa Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Somalia, Indirect Legislative Elections: Ongoing

Somalia Indirect Presidential Election: March 15, 2022 (Tentative, following numerous delays – additional delays possible)

Zimbabwe By-Elections: March 26, 2022

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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