Several important elections that have taken place in East Africa include the ones in Tanzania, and Zambia in 2015. And even though the elections experienced some stops and starts, all witnessed democratic changes of power. But this is not the case in other places. For instance, in Burundi, things were not so forthright as a controversial amendment of the constitution earned the incumbent Pierre Nkurunziza a smooth ground to seek and win a controversial third term that has bogged down the country in a crisis ever since.
Also, in Ethiopia, the prime minister was able to retain power with a striking 100% vote. With more elections coming up this year, there is need to watch out for other countries in East-Africa that will experience either positive or negative change in their electoral democracy. And that is why you should look out for elections slated for 2016 in three East-African countries which are bound to rock the roots of Africa.
Uganda’s electoral commission scheduled the country’s polling period for presidential, parliamentary and local government polls to start from Feb. 12 to March 12 of 2016. And the presidential election is slated for Feb. 18. You need to pay attention to the country’s electoral process as the incumbent President Yoweri Museveni has been in power for about three decades (since 1986) and is still intending to rule for another five-year term, which everybody expects him to win.
Museveni is being challenged by his former doctor Kizza Besigye and ex-prime minister Amama Mbabazi and this has made the campaign somewhat interesting. That notwithstanding, recent clashes between Museveni supporters and some members of the opposition has raised concerns that as the poll draws close, things could become progressively worse. This of course has caused a fair amount of anxiety among the public regarding nearly every part of the electoral process.
Zambia’s General elections will be held on 11 August 2016 to elect the President and National Assembly members. The current President, Edgar Lungu became the president in January 2015 to serve out the remaining term of late Michael Sata who died in office. Lungu served as Minister of Justice and Minister of Defense under Sata before he died. Election was held after his death and Lungu narrowly defeated the opposition candidate Hakainde Hichilema and took office on 25 January 2015.
And now to lead the continent’s second largest copper producer for a full five-year term as president, Lungu is going to have to prove to the electorate that he is more qualified than Hakainde Hichilema, to fix the issues which the country is currently facing including a severe electricity problem and a struggling economy accompanied by the worst performing currencies in the world. He also has to prove to the electorate that he has a better chance of overcoming a global commodities market that is glaringly slowing down.
Also noting that last January’s election was almost a tie, the fear of the result of the upcoming to be even closer has got everybody waiting with bated breath. The majority of the country’s young citizens are likely to vote on economic concerns more than ethnic or party considerations. This will be because young people are the most affected people in terms of unemployment with the country’s youth dependency ratio officially standing at 91.3%.
Somalia is going to have an election this year, 2016 and you need to pay attention to her upcoming election for this reason: The political instability in Somalia has lasted almost two decades, and this instability gave birth to militant groups such as al-Shabaab. The incumbent government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced that he intends to run for the Presidential seat in September 2015, after he suggested that his government is not yet ready to take part in a general election due to security reasons.
As of yet, various political factions in the country rallied round and formed a National Consultative Forum (NCF) to decide on what format the polls will take. The only constraint now is whether they will decide on the format soon enough to allow the elections go on this year.