The controversial President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, has once again won the state election in a landslide victory. He has been in power for 17 years.
The election in Rwanda will be one among the three elections that will be held in the African continent in the month of August.
Much of the African continent is colored by claims of corruption and this has affected the elections held in the continent. In 2016, Afrobarometer, a Pan-African research network conducted a survey on public’s perception of the elections. The survey revealed that only 40% of people living in 36 countries of Africa believed that elections held in 2015 were free and fair. Majority said that they did not trust the electoral commissions. Those who were polled also spoke of bribery and voter tampering prevalent at the polls.
The region has also historically seen activities such as ballot stuffing, suppression of competition and vote buying. Millions of those living in African nations live in abject poverty. The incidence of poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa is increasing faster than the population. Against this backdrop, corruption has steadily increased.
There are three key elections in August 2017. They are:
Rwanda: The general election in Rwanda took place on August 4th. The country’s electoral commission announced that Paul Kagame received the support of over 98% of those who voted. He ran against Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party and the independent candidate, Philippe Mpayimana. He will remain in power until 2024. Kagame is said to be hugely popular in the country but reports have emerged of political repression and attacks on dissidents. He has, however, been praised for promoting economy in Rwanda.
Kenya: The elections in Kenya will be held on August 8th, 2017. It is one of the most hotly contested elections in the country’s modern history. The two main contenders are the current President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, who lost to Kenyatta in the previous election. The region used to be a one-party country till 1991. The incumbent is seeking a second and final term of the office. Violence is expected on the election day. Over 180,000 members of the law enforcement have been deployed to the streets to prevent violent outbreak.
Angola: The Angolan election will be held on August 23rd. In June 2017, thousands of Angolans took to the streets to protest the current administration and demanded free and fair elections. The current President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has been in power for 38 years and he will be stepping down. João Lourenco, the current defense minister has been chosen as his successor. The European Union will be sending a small team of experts to assess the veracity of the elections. A larger contingent was supposed to arrive to the country to observe the elections but the EU and the Angolan government could not reach a consensus.
Our assessment is that these elections and those before in Ghana and Gambia will determine the future of democracy in the African continent.