This week’s most important headlines out of and about Africa.
In this week’s news, politics take center stage in the African continent. Elections in The Gambia and Ghana are being finalized and a look ahead to Zimbabwe in 2018.
Election Results in The Gambia
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh surprised nearly the entire world when he acknowledged defeat in this year’s presidential election. However, it did not take him long to return back to form after he then came out and said that he will reject all results of the election. Furthermore, he is calling for a new election to be held.
The Gambia has not had a smooth transfer of power since independence from Britain in 1965. Yahya Jammeh has been at the helm of this small West African nation for 22 years after grabbing power during a coup attempt in 1994. During his rule Jammeh has consistently faced poor human rights accusations from the international community. In fact, the leader declared that The Gambia was now to be an Islamic republic in 2015 claiming that the country needs to move away from its colonial history.
President- elect Adama Barrow has vowed to take office January 18, 2017 and is encouraging Jammeh to accept the results of the people. It has also been reported that Barrow is fearing for his life right now. Other regional countries are also working towards finding a peaceful resolution.
Most recently the chairman of Gambia’s electoral commission Alieu Momar Njai has fled the country after receiving substantial death threats. He was the one who confirmed the defeat of President Jammeh.
The results of this election matter because it could set a new precedent in African countries that opposition parties can have a voice in electoral processes since free speech and political dissent have long been not available to many groups across Africa.
Election Results in Ghana
The Electoral Commission of Ghana has declared Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the President-Elect who comes from the New Patriotic Party (NPP). After three attempts, the new leader hopes to continue with policies that exemplify democracy on the African continent. He defeated the outgoing John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress.
The country has had a legacy of significant government changes however there is a strong history of peaceful elections and transitions of power as well.
Ghana has long been a strong regional economy. However, many in Accra point to the economy as being the main issue of concern in this election combined with a high unemployment rate.
Supporters of Mr. Mahama have expressed concern about Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo being able to fulfill most of his campaign promises. He does believe he has a duty to move the country forward after receiving this high confidence in him.
2018 Elections in Zimbabwe
92 year old President Robert Mugabe will once again run for office in the countries elections in 2018. He is coming off winning elections in 2013 that were criticized with voting fraud and other allegations.
The ruling ZANU-PF party has pledged its support and even considering measures that would allow Mr. Mugabe to rule for life. However, the party has also been trying to handle internal factions and disagreements which Mr. Mugabe has also publicly acknowledged.
Despite the support from many, he is facing serious problems in the country that has been plaguing him in recent years. Most notably the economy has come to a crashing halt. This year the country has introduced bond notes into circulation due to significant cash shortages. Many are nervous this will lead to hyperinflation similar to what was seen in 2009 after adopting the U.S. dollar and South African rand. Harare believes that there will be $75 million worth of bond notes in circulation by the end of this year. The only chance that this will work is if the people put trust in the money itself. Otherwise the money will essentially be worthless.
Robert Mugabe has said publicly that he intends to live to be 100 years old.