Header Image: African Centre
Below are the key elections in Africa you need to watch out for in 2019.
Elections always provide Africans with a beacon of hope that democracy will always prevail and the will of the people will be respected. However, as many past elections have proved, elections are not an easy affair in Africa as they are blighted by allegations of vote-rigging, fraud, violence and intimidation. The perception of democracy in Africa has become seriously warped.
In all honesty, elections remain an uncertain feature of African politics. They have been characterized with egregious reactions like shutting down the internet. The issue of the validity and relevance of liberation parties looms large over the continent.
In Nigeria, military rule ended in 1999, and ever since multi-party politics have been the constant feature of Nigerian politics. The incumbent president Muhamadu Buhari will be aiming for re-election on 16 February 2019 as Nigeria will be having Presidential and National Assembly elections.
His major opponent is Atiku Abubakar, who was once his ally, and who served as Nigeria's vice-president from 1999-2007. Instrumental issues like corruption, high unemployment and an under-performing economy will be the battleground for these candidates and in the wake of a more conscientized youth which is aware of the shortcomings of the government, it will be an interesting election to pay attention to.
Riding on the message of revitalising economic growth, President Macky Sall will be seeking for a second term in office when the country goes for elections on 24 February 2019.
Macky Sall commenced his presidency in 2012 with brimming ambition, by launching the Plan for Emerging Senegal, which focuses on transforming key sectors from agriculture to healthcare, public administration and education by 2035.
There has been a general progress in Senegal's democracy, as noticed by how voted to reduce presidential terms to five years from seven years through a referendum in 2016, a move that was backed by Macky Sall himself.
In Algeria, it seems as if Abdelaziz Bouteflika is hell bent on dying in power. He has been very frail, confined to a wheelchair and last delivered a public address six years ago. He is totally ignoring the incapacity engulfing his presidency.
With these elections coming up in April, will he remain in power? The general feeling among analysts is that "the ruling National Liberation Front party’s endorsement of the octogenarian signifies its decision to use Bouteflika’s popularity and record of returning peace and stability to Algeria to maintain the status quo."
The ruling party in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC), which also happens to be the oldest party in Africa, has been rocked with internal turmoil of late. Zuma's resignation as president was clouded in corruption allegations and also allegations of state capture. Will Cyril Ramaphosa aim to restore the image of the party through a legitimized, popular vote?
The issue of land expropriation without compensation propounded by the ANC is being viewed by some as a populist move to attract the young voters who may have been swayed by the more radical opposition party, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). What is certain is that the issue of land expropriation is a contentious issue that will be one of the deciding factors in how voters are going to vote.
May 21 will see Malawians going for a general election and Peter Mutharika will be seeking to extend his stay in office in the light of a myriad of corruption allegations.
Saulos Chilima, Mutharika's former vice president, will be his main opponent, and also ex-president Joyce Banda.
President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz announced last year that he was not going to defy the country's constution, and as such he is not going to run for a third term. He has overseen a raft of controversial changes, which include abolishing the senate and instituting a new national anthem and flag.
There is suspicion in the opposition circles that Abdel Aziz could run again (because as of yet he has not named any successor) but it is being widely expected that he will probably select a loyalist from his party who would be his successor.
The general elections in Mozambique to be held on 15 October are being viewed as mostly going to be in the favour of the incumbent, Filipe Nyusi of the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo), which is also the ruling party.
There have been peace talks with the opposition National Resistance party (Renamo). Renamo has been involved in a civil war in Mozambique that lasted 16 years. It ended in 1992.
After the death of its founding leader, Alfonso Dhlakama, Renamo is still yet to select a new leader.
Democracy has been stable in Botswana, and this is aided by the politically legitimate succession plan employed by the ruling party, the Botswana Democratic Party. It has been in power since 1966.
Mokgweetsi Masisi is expected to have a comfortable victory.
Last year, Namibia decided to follow in the footsteps of its neighbour, South Africa, by saying that it was going to institute a land reform program similar to that of its neighbour.
As such, land will be a very serious issue as Hage Geingob will be looking forward to further his stay in office as president.
President Beiji Caid Essebsi is 92 now, and is expected to run again after first coming to office in 2014 as the winner of the north African country’s first free and fair election.
Tunisia has been regarded as the success of the Arab Spring in bringing about democracy, but is beset by issues like scarcity of jobs, rising costs of living, and the deterioration of the security situation.
This has actuated protests across the country.
Will the situation change?
Header Image: African Centre
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