Last Saturday, the 22nd of February, presidential elections were held in Togo. Despite many protests, current president Faure Eyadéma was re-elected, continuing the already 53-year rule of the Eyadéma family. Although the run up to the elections was quite chaotic, the election day was relatively calm. However, noticeable was the fact that 500 civil society observers lost their accreditation, as they were accused of interfering in the electoral process. This was in addition to 9000 observers from the Episcopal Council for Justice and Peace who were also not allowed to monitor the votes. The elections served as a good chance to update our knowledge on this country in West-Africa. We were therefore happy to speak with Kwassi Patrick Dadzie, general coordinator of Togo Focus, on the political situation in his country.
Vorige week, op dinsdag 15 oktober werden er in Mozambique presidentiële, provinciale en parlementsverkiezingen gehouden. Huidig regerende partij Frelimo met president Filipe Nyusi ging de strijd aan met Ossufo Momade van de oppositiepartij Renamo. Mozambique heeft een meerpartijensysteem, maar Frelimo en Renamo zijn de belangrijkste partijen. Zij zijn ook de enige partijen, samen met – zeer kleine – MDM (Democratic Movement of Mozambique) met zetels in het huidige parlement.
Het Holland Festival is het grootste internationale podiumkunsten festival van Nederland en in juni vindt alweer de 72ste editie plaats in Amsterdam. Tijdens het festival is opera, (muziek)theater, dans en meer te zien uit de hele wereld. Dit jaar zijn voor het eerst twee associate artists verbonden aan het festival, William Kentridge uit Zuid-Afrika en Faustin Linyekula uit Congo. Er zal veel werk uit Afrika te zien zijn van de twee associate artists en kunstenaars die hen inspireren.
Since December 2018 a rising amount of protests have been taking place in the country of Sudan. This started off as a reaction to the president’s decision to raise taxes on food and petrol and a protest against low living standards. This quickly evolved into larger protests against the president and his regime, eventually even resulting in a military coup d’etat last month. Former president Omar al-Bashir was arrested. To this day, protests are still happening and have evolved into a place for the Sudanese people to come together and decide over their own future.
On the 16th of February general elections were supposed to occur in Nigeria. The last time elections were held was in 2015, where voters could choose between Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. People hoped this election would bring a new start. This year, Nigerian voters are choosing between the sitting president Buhari (76) and a new candidate, Atiku Abubakar (72). Both are known for being corrupt. The majority of voters in Nigeria do not feel represented by these men, especially the younger part of the population. On top of that, Nigerians never even got a chance to vote this past weekend: the elections were postponed. How did Africa’s largest democracy end up here?
In the past few weeks multiple protests have sparked in the South African country Zimbabwe, bringing a lot of violence and resulting in arrests. The direct cause for these protest was the rise of fuel prices by 150 percent. This meant that petrol now costs 3,31 US dollars per litre, the highest fuel price in the world. The bigger picture shows a general unrest in the country, where corruption and poverty are still very present. When President Robert Mugabe resigned under pressure of his party, the people were very happy. However, the new president Emmerson Mnangagwa has not brought the changes people hoped for.
On the 10th of January opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi was announced winner of the Congolese presidential elections. After an extensive ruling period by President Kabila (since 2001), the election of an opposition leader could be a step in the right direction for the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, Martin Fayulu, a second opposition candidate, claims the elections were rigged and that he is the true winner. Several pieces of evidence support his claim. A year ago, Foundation Max van der Stoel talked about this subject during the political café on the (non)sense of elections in Congo. Here we discussed that the result of new democratic elections could be the first peaceful transfer of power since independence in 1960.
Toen Emmerson Mnangagwa aantrad als de nieuwe president van Zimbabwe, op 24 november 2017, beloofde hij nieuwe, eerlijke en transparante verkiezingen uit te schrijven. Deze belofte lijkt Mnangagwa, in ieder geval deels, na te komen. Op 30 juli vinden presidents- en parlementsverkiezingen plaats in het land. Voor het eerst in drie decennia zal het politieke speelveld tijdens de verkiezingen er anders uitzien. Doordat Robert Mugabe, die 37 jaar aan de macht was, door het leger afgelopen november buitenspel is gezet, zal de strijd voornamelijk tussen Mnangagwa en Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) zijn. Deze verkiezingen zijn van essentieel belang voor de democratische, economische, politieke en sociale transformatie in Zimbabwe.