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.
Articles about voting issues in sub-Saharan Africa.
Rwanda is getting ready for its federal election on August 4. If nothing unexpected happens, then President Paul Kagame will win a third term. But there is only one remaining question: Will he get more votes than in the last elections seven years ago, when he won 93 percent? Or will it be even higher than it was in 2003, when he got 95 percent? It seems certain that the opposition doesn’t stand a chance. The press coverage from the mostly government controlled media is concentrated on the ubiquitous Paul Kagame and his FPR party. Nevertheless, two other candidates were allowed to contest for the presidency: Frank Habineza, chairman of Rwanda’s Green party and a former member of the current ruling party. Little is known about the second candidate – Philippe Mpayimana – a former journalist who recently returned to Rwanda after years of exile in the Central African Republic and France. He is contesting as an independent candidate in the elections.
Kenya’s appeals court on Thursday quashed a ruling cancelling a contract to print presidential ballot papers, a victory for the electoral commission less than three weeks before general elections. The decision comes two weeks after the high court ordered the electoral commission to start a tender process from scratch, arguing a lack of transparency in the awarding of the printing contract to a Dubai-based firm. The pending court case raised tensions in the lead-up to what is set to be a close battle between incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga on August 8, with observers on high alert for possible violence. However, the five-judge bench at the appeals court quashed the ruling.
A joint ECOWAS delegation comprising the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commission (ECONEC) and the ECOWAS Fact-finding Team has raised concerns regarding hate messages being spread by some media institutions and on social media ahead of Liberia’s presidential and representatives’ elections. But President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf has told the delegation in Monrovia Wednesday, 19 July that government is determined to manage such situation without infringing on the right to free speech. “We must ensure that peace reigns before, during and after the elections because the 2017 elections constitute Liberia’s defining moment, which will test whether the country can move forward with political maturity or retrogress,” Mrs. Sirleaf said during a meeting with the ECOWAS delegation.
Angola has rejected conditions demanded by an EU election observer mission that had been preparing to witness next month’s polls in the country, state media reported on Monday. The European team had called for unfettered access to polling stations across the vast southern African nation during the August 23 vote. “So this is Africa. And we do not expect anyone to impose on us their means of observing elections or to give lectures,” said Foreign Minister Georges Chicoti according to the Journal de Angola newspaper. “The invitation stands. But we do not want to have separate agreements with all of the organisations (sending observers).”
Congo voters go to the polls Sunday in legislative elections in the oil-rich African country, the first since violence-marred presidential polls last year which returned Denis Sassou Nguesso to power. While no fresh violence is expected opposition parties have cried foul, as over 2 million voters are expected to cast their ballots in the first round of polling in Congo-Brazzaville to elect National Assembly members as well as local councils. Sassou Nguesso returned to office in March 2016 after a constitutional referendum ended a two-term presidential term limit, amid deadly violence notably in the Pool region neighbouring the capital Brazzaville.
Kenya is set to hold its most expensive election ever. It’s expected to top $1 billon in aggregate spend and could be Africa’s most expensive on a cost-per-voter basis. The public and private spending are both at an all-time high, with both the government and candidates spending hundreds of millions of dollars to secure the electoral process or campaigning to get elected. In a new pre-election economic and fiscal report released before the Aug. 8 polls, Kenya’s national treasury said the preparation and execution of the election will cost 49.9 billion shillings ($480 million). The largest allotment in the budget goes to the electoral commission, which is using almost 43 billion shillings ($413.2 million) to hire personnel, procure election materials, conduct voter education exercises, besides collecting and transmitting results.
Voters went to the polls in legislative elections in the oil-rich Republic of Congo on Sunday, the first since a violence-marred presidential poll last year which returned Denis Sassou Nguesso to power. The first round of polling to elect National Assembly members as well as local councils is taking place with the opposition calling foul, accusing the ruling Congolese Labour Party (PCT) of giving its candidates an unfair advantage. Electoral officials said voting was nevertheless proceeding calmly although some polling stations opened more than a hour late because of a delay in receiving voting materials.
The president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has claimed a win in next month’s election. He stated that the outcome of the vote was already known in 2015, when a petition to Parliament by 4 million people, changed the constitution, permitting him to run for office once more. “You can choose not to hear the truth but you cannot deny what your eyes show you here today,” he said, according to an ABC News report. “Pretending not to know the will expressed by the people during the referendum would be a lie, not democracy.” The 59-year-old head of RPF-Inkotanyi, the governing party, came to power 23 years ago. He is also backed by nine other political parties.
Kenya experienced a remarkable, if seemingly coincidental, series of events this weekend. Nine people were beheaded by suspected al-Shabaab militants. The Secretary of Internal Security died suddenly. President Uhuru Kenyatta appeared to accuse the judiciary of meddling in the elections. And the opposition leader Raila Odinga was briefly hospitalised. All just a month before Kenya heads to the polls on 8 August in what is anticipated to be a tense vote. … The event this weekend with perhaps the most long-term effects on the elections was a decision by the high court and the president’s subsequent response. On Friday, the court nullified the tender to print ballot papers, which had been awarded to a Dubai-based firm. The opposition claimed that the company has ties to Kenyatta. In their ruling, the judges did not refer to any such connections, but stated that “the failure to consult all the presidential candidates was unfair” and concluded that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had not carried out the tender adequately. The court ordered that the process be restarted.