At least a dozen sub-Saharan African nations are due to hold presidential or parliamentary elections this year. In Uganda, a divided opposition will struggle to unseat Yoweri Museveni after three decades in office. Denis Sassou Nguesso appears determined to retain power in the Republic of Congo after a comparable stint (albeit with a hiatus between 1992 and 1997). Zambians will return to polling stations a mere 19 months after voting in a presidential “by-election” following the death of Michael Sata. Will they re-elect Edgar Lungu given the parlous state of the economy?
In Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou is competing for a second term in office; Idriss Déby Itno is seeking his fifth term in office inneighbouring Chad. The decision of Thomas Boni Yayi to stand down as president of Benin after completing two terms provides for an extremely competitive election. In São Tomé and Príncipe, Manuel Pinto da Costa is expected to stand again for the presidency, an office which he first obtained in 1975, before standing down in 1991, only to be re-elected in 2011. Whilst both Teodoro Obiang Nguema in Equatorial Guinea and Yahya Jammeh in The Gambia will be seeking their fifth terms as president.
In Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba looks to secure his second seven-year term in office, continuing the political dynasty started by his father in 1967. It is unclear whether Joseph Kabila will compete again in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where he assumed the presidency following his father’s assassination in 2001. More certain is that Ismaïl Omar Guelleh will again stand for the presidency of Djibouti, having succeeded Hassan Gouled Aptidon, in 1999.
In Cape Verde, Jorge Carlos Fonseca is seeking a second term as head of state, having defeated Pedro Pires in 2011. A second elected term is also the ambition of John Mahama in Ghana, where tightly contested polls can be expected once again. Finally,Comorians will have a new leader as the presidency of the republic rotates between the federation’s three constituent islands: Anjouan, Mohéli and Grande Comore. The latter will provide the country’s next president for the first time since 2002.
Finally, Somalia has announced its intention to hold restricted franchise selections for the Lower House, a new Upper House and the presidency. One person-one vote polls have been deferred until 2020.