07.11.2016 – The Art of Keeping Power: A Reflection on this Year’s Presidential Elections in Uganda, Congo-Brazzaville, Djibouti, Zambia, Tanzania, Gabon and Comoros
From Gabon to Uganda, through Congo-Brazzaville (among other notable examples), hope and enthusiasm were visible — especially among the urban youth — for decades-long ruling systems to fall. Yet, except in the Comoros, where the incumbent party failed to win, official results put ruling regimes ahead, allowing them to extend their long decades at the helm (in most of the cases). Tainted with chaos and other issues of grave concern, this year’s elections in the countries under review offered little or no reason for celebration. That being said, one question comes to mind: ‘’are presidential elections gradually losing their true purpose in those countries?” An assessment of this year’s presidential elections leads to some worrisome observations, which could be the basis for answering the above-mentioned inquiry in the affirmative. Some such notable observations include:
- An early perception that victory was beyond the reach for the opposition, for apparently genuine, yet unfair, reasons (the case of Djibouti); or owing to veteran rulers and their systems’ unwillingness to give up power, such as in Uganda and Congo Brazzaville
- Serious violations, including a surge in violence during the electoral campaign periods, and after the announcement of results (all seven countries).