Elections That Will Shape Africa in 2017

By David Indeje / Published January 6, 2017 | 11:47 am





2016 was an election year for most African States. The continent witnessed 16 elections, and most of them were both free and transparent.

The first half of 2016 saw elections in Benin, the Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Niger and Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, the Gambia, Ghana, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Zambia.

Major surprises came from West Africa where Ghana and Gambia’s incumbents were defeated by the opposition.

Ghana’s Former foreign minister Nana Akuffo-Addo of the opposition New Patriotic Party was elected President on his third attempt, defeating incumbent President John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress.  He is going to be sworn in January 7, 2017.

africa-elections-in-2016

In Gambia, the opposition candidate Adama Barrow defeated long-term incumbent Yahya Jammeh who has ruled for 22 years. However, Jammeh has clung to power and not ready to leave.

In Benin, businessman Patrice Talon defeated Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou after the incumbent President Thomas Boni Yayi was constitutionally barred from running for a third.

In the Central African Republic, former prime minister Faustin Archange Touadera won the presidential election defeating another former prime minister Anicet Georges Dologuele in the runoff, held on February 14 as no presidential candidate received more than 50% of the vote in the 2015 poll.

Azali Assoumani was elected president of Comoros.

In São Tomé and Príncipe, Evaristo Carvalho was announced president after the incumbent Manuel Pinto da Costa boycotted the second round.

However, other incumbent presidents:  Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Zambia’s Edgar Lungu, Chad’s Idriss Déby, Djibouti’ Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, Niger’s Mahamadou Issoufou and Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon all were re-elected.

On the other hand, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has pushed its presidential election to April 2018. The presidential election was originally scheduled for November 2016. The incumbent Joseph Kabila sought to extend his term to a third leading to protests that culminated into a dialogue.

2017 Elections in Africa

African Union:

The first major election will see the African Union (AU) get a new Chairperson replacing the outgoing Dr. Nkosazana Zuma during the Twenty- Eighth Ordinary Session of the Summit of the African Union with five candidates competing, namely Hon. Pelonomi Venson Moitoi (Botswana), Hon. Moussa Faki Mahamat (Chad), Hon. Agapito Mba Mokuy (Equatorial Guinea), Hon. Dr. Amina C. Mohammed (Kenya), Dr. Abdoulaye Bathily (Senegal).

During the 27th African Union summit meeting in Kigali, no outright winner was declared because non-attained the required 2/3 votes. Those who contested for the seat were: former Uganda vice president Specioza Wandira Kazibwe and Botswana Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson Moitoi, and Equatorial Guinea Foreign Minister Agapito Mba Mokuy.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma still holds the position since her appointed in 2012.

Kenya:

The forthcoming August, 8 General Elections will mark the its 12th cycle of elections in Kenya since independence.

The polls will involve voting for the president senators, MPs, governors and ward representatives.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto through their newly revamped Jubilee are likely set to face off with the opposition led by their arch rival Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga if he will clinch the presidential ticket under the Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (CORD) which has Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula and Wiper Party’s Kalanzo Musyoka who are eyeing the seat.

The current leadership is tainted by corruption, rising debt and increased unemployment rate which the opposition is using to unseat it.

Currently, the country is grappling with how the electoral body will handle the elections after the National Assembly and Senate passed the controversial amendments to the Elections Law (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that empowers the IEBC to revert to manual system in the event of technical failure during the elections.

In the East and Central Africa region, Kenya is the biggest economy.

The Parliamentary Service Commission report, Parliamentary Budget Office Unpacking the Budget Policy Statement, 2016/17 and the Medium-Term states that with a projected economic growth of 6 percent in 2016, the greatest concern lies with:

“Increased investor confidence that will depend on prevailing security in the country. In addition, from past experience, investors normally have a ‘wait and see attitude’ as the Country goes into a campaign and election season, which is likely to happen towards the end of 2016.”

The National Treasury Principal secretary Kamau Thugge says the economy might be impacted negatively with a dip in growth forecast.

“The year’s (2017) economic growth might be slower. Our economic growth is expected to slump from six per cent in 2016 to around 5.9 per cent due to the impending General Election slated for August and the global economic uncertainties, among other reasons.”

Mohamed Wehliye is Senior Vice President, Financial Risk Management, Riyad Bank, Saudi Arabia, “Expect a tough and may be chaotic fiscal environment in the next 100 days or so. Reasons? Rising pending bills, bunching up of debt maturities amidst lower tax revenue collections. And of course, uncertainties in the money/capital market as we approach the general elections.”

Rwanda:

President Paul Kagame will be seeking a third, seven-year term since winning the country’s second election in 2010. The polls are scheduled for August 4. In 2015, a constitutional amendment allowed Kagame to run for this new term and two more five-year terms after that, meaning that he could stay in power till 2034.

Angola:

For the first time, Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the second-longest serving African leader, will step down this year after being in power since 1979. This is likely before the August polls.

Joao Lourenco, the defence minister and vice president of the ruling party was elected as vice president.

Quartz Africa reports that, “The 2017 elections will test the maturity of Angola’s democracy and if successful, confer a measure of legitimacy on its government.”

Liberia:

Africa’s first elected female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia is set to leave office, and could be replaced by soccer legend George Weah. Weah is likely to face off with Jewel Howard-Taylor, the ex-wife of former Liberian president Charles Taylor and Vice president Joseph Boakai.

Sando Boakai, from the Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP), a Liberia-based non-profit, non-governmental organization that documents war related crimes in Liberia says, “Our election is something that every Liberian is concerned about. 85 percent of the Liberians want change of the government because they feel that the Unity Party led government has failed. Corruption is eating up our Country.”

Boakai says due to the sure in corruption the opposition is uniting ahead of the elections with quest for change.

 




About David Indeje

David Indeje is a writer and editor, with interests on how technology is changing journalism, government, Health, and Gender Development stories are his passion. Follow on Twitter @David_IndejeDavid can be reached on: (020) 528 0222 / Email: info@sokodirectory.com

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