Africa This Week: May 9, 2022

May 9, 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.

Sunset in Mogadishu, Somalia. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Mohamed Bashir Osman (CC0 1.0)

Upcoming Africa Elections

Somalia, Indirect Presidential Election: May 15, 2022

Somalia has finally scheduled its long-delayed presidential election for May 15, 2022. The Horn of Africa country 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

Abdulkadir Khalif and Hellen Githaiga, The East African (May 9, 2022): Somalia election: First 10 list to vie for presidency

Reuters (May 7, 2022): Somalia seeks three-month extension of its IMF support programme

AFP (May 5, 2022): Somalia to hold presidential election on May 15

France24 (May 4, 2022): Al Shabaab militants mount deadly attack on African Union base in Somalia

Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar, Reuters (May 3, 2022): Islamist militants overrun African Union camp in Somalia

Republic of the Congo Legislative and Local Elections: July 10, 2022

The Republic of the Congo (sometimes called Congo-Brazzaville) will hold legislative and local elections on July 10, 2022. 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 (May 9, 2022 – in French): Congo-Brazzaville: Legislative and local elections set for July 10

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.

Patrick Smith, The Africa Report (May 9, 2022): Kenya election 2022: How the Odinga and Kenyatta dynasties set aside their differences

Onyango K’Onyango, Vincent Owino, and Aggrey Mutambo, The East African (May 6, 2022): Polls body on the spot as Kenyans prepare for region’s ‘most expensive’ election

Africanews with AFP (May 5, 2022): Social media Influencers cash in as presidential election approaches in Kenya

Victor Abuso, The Africa Report (May 3, 2022): Kenya election 2022: A record 47 independents vie for the presidency

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

Henrique Almeida, Bloomberg (May 9, 2022): Angolan Ruling Party’s Lead Narrows Ahead of Vote, Poll Shows

France24 (May 6, 2022 – video): The painful legacy of Angola’s civil war

Somaliland Presidential Election: November 13, 2022

Somaliland plans to hold a presidential election on November 13, 2022, following long-delayed parliamentary and local elections that finally took place on May 31, 2021. In those elections, the two main opposition parties, Waddani and UCID, together won more seats in parliament than the governing Kulmiye party. Waddani and UCID will team up to choose a parliament speaker and on local councils (where they also won). Somaliland is a presidential system, so there’s no PM. But it is significant for democracy that the opposition won the “midterms.”

President Muse Bihi Abdi from Kulmiye is eligible to seek a second term in 2022.

Somaliland has de facto but not internationally-recognized independence from Somalia, and has a much more developed democracy, with direct elections. It is located on the Bab el-Mandeb, a strait through which most oil and gas from the Persian Gulf – and a lot of other international commerce – transits. Thus the geopolitical stakes are high. More

Joshua Meservey, Heritage Foundation (May 9, 2022): Somalilanders’ Quest for Independence Isn’t “Neocolonial” Plot. It’s Self-Determination.

MENAFM-SomTribune (May 9, 2022): Somaliland: President Bihi Reiterates Elections Will Be Held On Time In State Address

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

Chad held a presidential election on April 11, 2021. President Idriss Déby, who seized power in a rebellion in 1990, won a sixth term. However, on April 20, 2021, 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

Cameron Hudson, Newlines Institute (May 9, 2022): A Year After a Dictator’s Death, There is Still Time to Support Democracy in Chad

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

Al Jazeera (May 2, 2022): Why has Chad delayed a national peace dialogue? Scheduled talks between the military government, opposition and rebels are postponed for a second time.

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.

Neil Munshi and Anthony Osae-Brown, Bloomberg (May 9, 2022): Central Banker’s Nigerian Presidency Bid Caps Unorthodox Tenure

Dr Omololu Fagbadebo, IOL (May 8, 2022): What hope is there for Nigeria post-2023 elections?

Ruth Olurounbi, Al Jazeera (May 6, 2022): Nigeria’s central bank chief to run for presidency in 2023: There has been a multitude of interest from heavyweights and has-beens in the governing party and the opposition to succeed Muhammadu Buhari as Nigerian president.

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.

Mat Nashed, The New Arab (May 6, 2022): Sudan’s intensifying crackdown on pro-democracy protests

Justin Lynch, Foreign Policy (May 4, 2022): How the U.N. and the West Failed Sudan: Self-delusion and negligence stopped governments and aid agencies from facilitating a genuine and lasting transition to democracy

Michael Atit, Voice of America (May 3, 2022): Sudanese Families Urge Military Leaders to Free Detainees

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.

Africanews (May 5, 2022): Togo’s president agrees to mediate Mali crisis

AFP (May 3, 2022): Mali: Military government breaks defence accords with France: Vast swaths of Mali lie beyond government control because of armed group activity, which began in 2012.

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

Carlota Ahrens Teixeira, GIS (May 3, 2022): Burkina Faso after the coup: If the junta does not stabilize the security situation soon, Burkina Faso could become a gateway to West Africa for jihadist groups.

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

Chad Williams, IOL (May 8, 2022): Guinea Coup: You can be free, but you will have to wait three years

Boubacar Diallo, AP (May 5, 2022): Guinea prosecutor orders trial against ex-President Conde

Reuters (May 2, 2022): Guinea’s coup leader proposes 3-year transition back to civilian rule

Past Africa Elections

Democratic Republic of the Congo Gubernatorial Elections: May 6, 2022, to be followed by General Elections: December 2023 (due)

The DRC is due to hold general elections in 2023. These follow gubernatorial elections, which took place on May 6, 2022.

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.

Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala, The Africa Report (May 9, 2022): DRC: Governorship elections were a challenge for Tshisekedi ahead of the 2023 poll


Antonio Cascais, DW (May 5, 2022): ECOWAS criticized over West African coups

Benita van Eyssen, DW (May 3, 2022): Where in sub-Saharan Africa are media outlets curtailed?

Africa Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Somalia Indirect Presidential Election: May 15, 2022

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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