After a rather lacklustre electoral year, the season of big-league African polls is finally here. July 29 will see parliamentary elections in Gabon as the second and final round of round of Congo Brazzaville’s legislative ones are held the following day. Despite their importance, the polls in the Republic of Congo and Gabon will be more or less overshadowed by the major league ones to be held in the momentous month of August. As matters stand, the limelight will be reserved for Rwanda, where a presidential election will be conducted on August 3 and 4. Already deified by his compatriots and practically given a carte blanche during last year’s constitutional referendum, multi-term President Paul Kagame is virtually guaranteed of a win. He has been in power for 17 years already.
Less predictable though will be Kenya which goes to the elections the following week. The Kenyan polls are more critical, going by the fact that the December 2007 ones were steeped in mayhem while the 2013 General Election was alarmingly controversial.
Proceeded by tense campaigns, there are questions as to whether the elections themselves will be peaceful, free and credible. President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga are clear favourites. There are six other candidates.
Whatever the outcome, the Kenyan polls will be followed by the Angolan presidential election on August 23. Already there are serious doubts about the political climate in which the General Election will be held.