Africa

May 2, 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 boat ride off of Lido Beach in Mogadishu, Somalia. Photo credit: Flickr/AMISOM Public Information (public domain)

Upcoming Africa Elections

Somalia, Indirect Presidential Election: By May 17, 2022 (delays possible – 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 elections have finally concluded after a slow, delay-ridden process, with the new lawmakers sworn in April. A new date has not been set for the presidential election, but the International Monetary Fund has set May 17 as the deadline, or else Somalia will stop receiving budget support.

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

Robert Lansing Institute (May 2, 2022): Somalia: unblocked presidential elections amid risks of deepening crisis

Stratfor (April 28, 2022): In Somalia, Food and Water Woes Risk Boosting al-Shabaab and Derailing Elections

Feisal Omar, Reuters (April 28, 2022): Somalia parliament picks Sheikh Adan Mohamed Nur as new speaker

Reuters (April 28, 2022): Somalia: Parliament elects new speaker after security standoff: A power struggle between the prime Minister and president has contributed to the delayed election process in Somalia.

Harun Maruf, Voice of America (April 27, 2022): Somali President, Prime Minister Quarrel Over Election Security

Democratic Republic of the Congo Gubernatorial Elections: May 6, 2022

The DRC is due to hold general elections in 2023. Before that, some provinces will elect governors on May 6.

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.

The DRC faces several political and security crises.

Radio Okapi (May 2, 2022 – in French): DRC: Campaign begins for governors of some provinces

Nic Hailey, Al Jazeera (May 1, 2022): The failed ‘state of siege’ in eastern DRC should not be extended: There are much more promising strategies that could help bring sustainable peace to the region.

La Croix (April 29, 2022 – in French): DRC: Catholic and Protestant churches troubled by lack of respect for deadlines in the electoral process

Kenya General Elections: August 9, 2022

Kenya holds 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. Ironically, Kenyatta has endorsed Odinga for this year’s election, against William Ruto, who was formerly his anointed successor.

Kenyan politics is highly polarized with a strong ethnic component.

Because of the ongoing 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.

David Malingha, Bloomberg (May 2, 2022): President, Deputy Deride Each Other Months Before Kenya Election

Emma Elversson, The Conversation (May 1, 2022): Drivers of electoral violence in Kenya: red flags to watch out for

Otieno Otieno, The East African (April 30, 2022): Raila and Ruto keep running mate cards close to their chests

Daniel Itai, Washington Blade (April 29, 2022): Murder of lesbian in Kenya sparks outrage across Africa

Central African Republic Local Elections: September 2022 (Delayed – no new date set)

The Central African Republic (CAR) had planned to hold local elections in September 2022, but they have been delayed. If held, 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 governanceSectarian clashes have been taking place since 2013. Moreover, Russia has ramped up its political and military involvement in exchange for mining rights. More 

AFP (April 27, 2022): Central African Republic adopts bitcoin as legal currency

RFI (April 25, 2022 – in French): In the Central African Republic, the re-election of Emmanuel Macron brings forth bitterness and relief

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

Africanews with AFP (May 2, 2022): Chad: Junta postpones reconciliation dialogue to a “later” date

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.

Potential 2023 candidates have already begun jockeying for position, and Nigeria’s two major parties plan to hold presidential nominating contests at the end of May. 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.

The Economist (April 28, 2022): Old hopefuls are jostling to succeed Nigeria’s President Buhari: Most Nigerians are younger than 19. Their main candidates are over 70

Patrick Egwu, Reuters Institute (April 26, 2022): As Nigeria approaches the next elections, journalists are increasingly under threat

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.

Madhav Joshi, The Conversation (April 26, 2022): Peace in South Sudan hinges on forging a unified military force: but it’s proving hard

Zimbabwe General Elections: July 2023 (due)

Zimbabwe is due to hold general elections in July 2023. They 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. Democracy continues to face many challenges in Zimbabwe, and the current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, governs in an authoritarian, repressive manner.

Most recently, Zimbabwe held by-elections on March 26, 2022 to fill 28 parliamentary seats and 105 local seats. A new opposition party called the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) won a majority of the seats up for election. CCC is led by Nelson Chamisa, who broke with Zimbabwe’s traditional opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) over internal politics. CCC won 19 parliamentary seats while the ruling ZANU-PF won nine.

However, many concerns remain about the fairness of the upcoming elections.

Voice of America (April 30, 2022 – podcast): Live Talk Special Coverage: Zimbabwe 2022 By-elections

Voice of America (April 30, 2022): Zanu PF Tells EFF Leader Julius Malema to Shut Up on Voting Out Mnangagwa Government

Mozambique Local Elections: October 2023 (due) and General Elections: October 2024 (due)

Mozambique is due to hold local elections in October 2023 and general elections in October 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.

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (April 29, 2022): Mozambique: CNE Does Not Have Enough Money for Local Elections

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.

Samy Magdy, AP (April 27, 2022): Sudan frees ex-officials in effort to end political impasse

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

Reuters (April 29, 2022): Burkina Faso junta defends three-year plan for transition to constitutional 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

AFP (May 1, 2022): Guinea junta leader Doumbouya announces 39-month transition to civilian rule

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.

AFP (May 1, 2022): UN chief calls on juntas in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali to hand power back to civilians

Kemo Cham, The East African (April 25, 2022): France accuses Russia of disinformation campaign in Mali

Past Africa Elections

Cameroon Municipal, Legislative, and Regional Elections: February 9, 2020 (delayed from October 2019)

Cameroon holds elections, but President Paul Biya, at age 85 the oldest ruler in Africa, has been in power since 1982, most recently winning re-election in 2018. Elections in the country, including the most recent, have been marred by accusations of ballot-stuffing and intimidation of the opposition. The opposition claims Maurice Kamto actually won the election, and opposition supports have staged a number of protests, which the government answered with a harsh crackdown and hundreds of arrests, including the arrest of Kamto himself.

Cameroon is in the midst of several other crises. Anglophone separatists seek to form a new country called Ambazonia. The government has accused them of terrorism. The crisis is currently deadlocked, with neither side willing to make concessions, leaving half a million people displaced.

Nosmot Gbadamosi, Foreign Policy (April 27, 2022): Biya Bets on Russia: Cameroon’s president signs a security deal with Putin amid war in Ukraine and conflict at home.

Regional

Cobus van Staden, The Africa Report (May 2, 2022: China: The bread-and-butter partner as African investment exceeds US

Erick Mwakibete, The Citizen Tanzania (May 1, 2022): From father to son: Africa’s varied experiences with succession politics

Jalel Harchaoui and John Lechner, Lawfare (May 1, 2022): How Russia’s War in Ukraine Affects Its Meddling in Africa

Teresa Nogueira Pinto, GIS Reports (April 28, 2022): The Sahel trilemma: Africa’s Sahel region has become another arena for competition between the European Union and Russia

New African (April 27, 2022): What is behind the spate of coups in West Africa?

Africa Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Democratic Republic of the Congo Gubernatorial Elections: May 6, 2022

Somalia Indirect Presidential Election: By May 17, 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 (delayed – no new date set)

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)

Sierra Leone Presidential Election: June 24, 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 and Regional 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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