Looking back at the politics of 2015 – Part 1

Jan 07, 2016 Looking back at African politics in 2015, there were several highs and low on the continent’s political landscape.

Nigeria made political history with a democratic handover of power from one civilian leader to another.

President Muhammadu Buhari became the country’s first politician to succeed a sitting leader by ballot. The 72 year old retired general campaigned as a born-again democrat and won a clear lead over outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan.

Commenting on president Buhari’s ascension to power, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, a political analyst said:

“The transformation from dictatorship of the decree 2 of 1984, decree 2 of 1983 to a person who now has to go National Assembly to go and present budget and take questions, to somebody who would propose a particular policy and you discover that Nigerians said no, it will take time,”

As Buhari begun work on his first term, presidents in Burundi, Congo Democratic, Congo Republic and Rwanda were caught in the debate over how many times they could constitutionally run for office.

In April, Burundi was thrown into disarray when Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would seek a third term.

The decision wasn’t smiled upon by opposition and Western powers. But that apparently didn’t stop him from being sworn in for a third five year term in August.

Yolande Bouka, a researcher and risk analyst at the Institute for Security Studies commented on the situation saying:

“What we are likely to see in Burundi is a continuation of instability, refugees have still not returned to Burundi in large numbers, there are still concerned and they are still present in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and those refugees remain a concern for the host countries. What we would not like to see obviously is a situation where people who are in the opposition are further radicalized and decide to join an armed movement. 

In Togo, the constitutional court swore in incumbent president Faure Gnassingbe for a third term following a largely peaceful election.

Despite tensions that followed the announcement of his victory, Togo successfully avoided post-election violence that was the case in previous polls.

In Sudan, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir extended his quarter-century in power with landslide election victories for himself and his ruling party at the polls.

Commenting on the prospect of the elections, Dr Hamad Omer Hawi, a political science lecturer at Bahri University in Sudan said:

“There is a kind of dissatisfaction in regard to the government performance at this stage and at the same time there is a general feeling that this election will change nothing and will achieve nothing new. The result is known and the winner is known, so there are no ambitions in making a change in the general policies. There is no enthusiasm towards voting and there is no desire to know the results because there will be no surprise,”

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