“Why Elections in Africa Are Gradually Becoming Obsolete” Deus Kibamba, The Citizen, 4 May 2016

“A glance at recent African elections reveals a disaster, to say the least (…) We are still unable to properly manage elections in a continent with less people than India”.

Although we could appreciate some improvements in democratic processes, the situation of elections in Africa remains alarming. To start with, we could mention the former chairman of Kenya’s electoral commission —Samuel Kivuitu—, who didn’t know the winner of the polls after announcing the president-elect. Besides, we could also observe the story of Uganda, where President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has reduced elections to a farce. In power since 1986, he has extended his reign last February. As a result, he has spread a trend of assuming the power without the ballot box among other countries in East Africa. For instance, Laurent Desile Kabila swept as president of the country he renamed Democratic Republic of Congo. After his assassination, his son —Joseph Kabila Kabange— took over as head of state without elections. Another case is Paul Kagame in Rwanda, who moved to the state house in Kigali in 1994. After that, he has been in charge ever since and could choose to be president-for-life if he wishes, following in the footsteps of Museveni. So are the cases of Burundi and DRC. The DRC is scheduled to go to the polls in November, but it seems that elections will be postponed. Kabila could extend a third term, but he could have another idea of extending his reign indefinitely. Of course, opposition and rights activist are up in arms. We can find a similar situation in Zambia, where President Edgar Lungu seeks re-election in next August elections. Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema claims that current President is plotting to print additional ballots in Dubai and adds that Lungu is planning to steal elections. After the retirement of Zambia’s first president, politics in the country have been marked by corruption and divisions. Yet, after being elected less than two years, Lungu seems to have lost the trust of his people. If he loses Zambians will elect their sixth president in eight years. We will have to wait until August!

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“Why Elections in Africa Are Gradually Becoming Obsolete” Deus Kibamba, The Citizen, 4 May 2016


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