African Countries Will Be Going To The Polls

There will be general, parliamentary and presidential elections taking place across the continent. These include Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, Seychelles, Tanzania, and Togo. Elections will also be happening in Chad, Mali, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Comoros, Egypt, Somalia, Liberia, and Gabon.


The first election on the continent for the year will be happening in Togo. Faure Gnassingbé, the current president has been in power since 2005. He is expected to hold onto power as he is also expected to be the sole candidate on the ballot. In 2017, people from Togo took to the streets to protest against the president’s long rule. Stemming from the protests, the lawmakers in Togo agreed to reforms that limit a president to two terms in office. However, if Gnassingbé wins the election, he will be allowed to run for a further two terms.


President Pierre Nkurunziza has been in power since 2005. He announced in December 2019 that he would not be running again. However, before the last election, Nkurunziza changed the constitutional term limits to run again, igniting unrest in the country.  Many in the opposition are therefore sceptical about his promise to finally retire. The election has been scheduled for May 20. 


Abiy Ahmed, the current prime minister of Ethiopia won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. His work in peace efforts between Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as his economic reforms have made him quite popular. However, this year’s election will be Ethiopia’s first democratic election in more than ten years and there are many domestic challenges to be dealt with before the July elections. 


This year’s Ghanian election will be a repeat of the 2016 election. Former president and current opposition leader John Mahama will be taking on incumbent president Nana Akufo-Addo. The first time the pair competed against each other was in 2012 where Mahama won. In 2016 Akufo-Addo won the election. The youth vote along with issues of the sluggish economy and corruption will be key factors in the election. The elections are slated to be held sometime in  November or December. 


This year’s elections in Somalia will mark the country’s first universal suffrage elections in five decades. The elections are due to take place in December amidst a difficult political situation in the country. Somalia has issues with militant attacks, it is the centre of regional and Gulf State competition and the target of airstrikes from America. 


During the initial period of his leadership, Tanzania president John Magufuli’s policies won him a lot of support domestically and from the region. However, recent polls have shown that his support has declined. The Twaweza report showed the decline of Magfuli’s reports. Since the release of the report, there has been a lot of harassment and intimidation of the writers of the report and journalists. This has shown some of the challenges for opposition. On October 4, Tanzania and Zanzibar’s presidential, parliamentary and local elections are due to be held. 

The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in African has produced a comprehensive guide to all the elections and electoral processes taking place across the African continent in 2020. 

Featured image via Flickr