In 2021, Africa’s electoral roller-coaster continues
By Tasie Theodore
One of the very likely outcomes in the year 2021 is that Africa’s current electoral roller-coaster would be continuing, a projection from The Difference Forecasts 2021 has revealed.
The projection, which is based on an annual end of year review of past, present and future trends in the continent, notes that among others, the polls in Uganda, Zambia, Libya and Ethiopia promise to be the most testy.
In Uganda, long-standing President Yoweri Museveni, who has run the country since his National Resistance Movement, NRM seized power in the 1980s, is being confronted by a number of notably younger rivals, including the maverick businessman and artiste, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine. To be eligible for the 2021 contest, the Museveni camp had to engineer a rewriting of the nation’s constitution. His opponents are being severely hindered by the security forces from campaigning under the cover of maintaining COVID-19 restrictions.
In Gambia, the beneficiary of the anti-Jammeh dictatorship of a few years ago, Adama Barrow, is on the spot even as he attempts to secure another term in office. He had previously pledged not to do so.
And from the Horn of Africa, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, whose attempt to recast the nation’s decades-old political structure through the creation of a new political party, the Prosperity Party, is at the root of the current conflict in the country, is expected to seek popular legitimacy for the first time. He had come into office in 2018, not from a formal public election but on account of a replacement vote in parliament, following the sacrificial resignation of erstwhile Prime Minister Desalegn Hallemariam. The elections were to have been held in 2020 and it is presently unclear if it would not also be postponed beyond 2021.
Also in contention are polls in Libya to decide the successor to the Muammar Gaddaffi mantle. The badly fractured nation has a motley pack of candidates angling for the top-position there with some feelers suggesting that Gaddaffi’s son, Saif Al-Islam may also be in contention.
Given the tempestuous contests that had been recorded in 2020 from Cote D’Ivoire to Guinea and on to Ghana and Mali, it is clear that in 2021, the electoral roller-coaster would be continuing in Africa.
Bobi Wine, Ugandan presidential contender