Election Watch - Africa

Nigeria Riots Delay Two State Polls

Elections for the governors of two states in Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north have been postponed because of violence, officials have announced.

Children celebrate Gbagbo's fall in Bouaké: uncertainty over security persists. Credit:  Nancy Palus/IRIN

COTE D’IVOIRE: Hesitant Steps Towards Normal Life

The prime minister of Côte d'Ivoire, Guillaume Soro, held his first cabinet meeting away from the Golf Hotel on Tuesday. The meeting - at the Prime Minister's Office in the Plateau d'Abidjan - was symbolic, intended to signal a return to normal life in a city that endured heavy fighting between Mar. 30 and the fall of former president Laurent Gbagbo on Apr. 11.

ZAMBIA: Constitutional Baby Out With the Bathwater

After two commissions and close to a decade of consultations, Zambia's constitutional redrafting process crashed when the new constitution failed to win parliamentary approval. Politicians, civil society and ordinary citizens seem uncertain whether to laugh or cry.

KENYA: Feisty Politician Enters Presidential Race

Martha Karua fears nothing and no one, and when her adversaries look back at her long track record in politics, they must get nervous. This previously staunch supporter of Mwai Kibaki resigned as justice minister in 2009, and will challenge all comers for the presidency at the head of her own party next year.

Nigerian Women Stand Up to be Counted

As Nigeria tries again to begin its staggered general elections on Apr. 9, spare a thought for the women who will be putting themselves forward as candidates in an overwhelmingly male field.

Fleeing violence in Abidjan. Credit:  Alexis Adélé Adélé/IRIN

Cote d’Ivoire on the Edge of Chaos

Forces of law and order have abandoned their posts in Abidjan, creating a vacuum which has rapidly filled with violence, looting and fear.

/UPDATE*/: Violence Threatens Nigerian Elections

Nigeria's staggered general elections have been postponed after the Independent National Electoral Commission was unable to deliver voting materials to polling stations in time. Campaigning for the polls was overshadowed by pre-election violence including bombings and gun attacks on campaign rallies, politically-motivated assassinations and violent clashes between members of rival parties.

Campaign billboards in Kano. Credit:  Aminu Abubakar/IRIN

Violence Threatens Nigerian Elections

As Nigerians go to the polls on Apr. 2, pre-election violence has raised fears the elections will not be free and fair. The campaign period has featured bombings and gun attacks on campaign rallies, politically-motivated assassinations and violent clashes between members of rival parties.

ZAMBIA: Women Resume Struggle for Representation Ahead of Elections

Zambians head to the polls sometime before October and civil society groups are working hard to ensure their voices are heard. Groups which were excluded during the 2005 elections and the National Constitutional Conference that began in 2007 are mobilising to ensure they are not excluded.

Refugee children eating while their parents look on. Credit:  Fulgence Zamblé/IPS

Ghana Border Town Braced for Influx of Ivorian Refugees

As many as a million people have fled Côte d'Ivoire's commercial capital, Abidjan, due to intensified fighting. Many people are fleeing to areas in the north, centre and east of the country as thousands of youth answered a call to join forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo; others are trying to leave the country.

Concina Haajila with her voter registration card. Credit:  Lewis Mwanangombe/IPS

ZAMBIA: Young Voters Push Grassroots Issues to the Fore

Concina Haajila was only a year old in 1991 when Zambia turned from 27 years of autocracy and dictatorship to political pluralism and democratic governance. During the past 20 years she and millions of her peers have grown to adulthood and become disenchanted with the politics of their nation which have swung from an issue base to hero worship and personal purse enlargement.

POLITICS-ZAMBIA: Days of Male Domination Numbered

Elizabeth Phiri was so incensed when she was overlooked as a parliamentary candidate for the Patriotic Front in a 2008 by-election on the basis of her gender that she quit the party. Four years on, she has rejoined the party but remains pessimistic - but other women politicians see reasons to hope the 2011 elections will be different.

Frustration is growing as rapid economic growth fails to translate into a better life for Angola's majority Credit:  Louise Redvers/IPS

Mass Protests Fail But Angolan Activists Remain Defiant

An attempt to organise a mass protest against the government in Angola’s capital Luanda this week may have fallen flat, but there is no doubt that a fuse has been lit among people who for so many years have not dared to challenge authority.

Displaced persons arriving at the Saint-Ambroise d

Growing Humanitarian Crisis in Cote D’Ivoire

The U.N. has announced that some 200,000 people have already fled the Abobo neighbourhood, in the north of Abidjan. Each morning for a week now, luggage on their backs, bundles on their heads, the sick riding in wheelbarrows, new borns cradled in their arms, thousands of people have fled Abobo on foot.

SOUTH AFRICA: Rising Leader With Her Feet on the Ground

Zanele Magwaza-Msibi is a woman with a mission: to serve the people of South Africa. She is poised to become leader of South Africa's newest political party, the National Freedom Party (NFP), after breaking away from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), where she served as national chairperson.

Noncedo Pulana and her children in Khayelitsha Credit:  Erna Curry/IPS

SOUTH AFRICA: New, Assertive Women’s Voices in Local Elections

Noncedo Pulana lacks many things, but she is certainly not short of confidence as she prepares to stand for election as Khayelitsha ward councillor. She feels her long years as an activist in the sprawling township have prepared her to do a better job.

An independent South Sudan could influence the geopolitics of the Nile River Basin and beyond. Credit:  Zack Baddorf/IPS

SOUTH SUDAN: Looking to the Future

The peaceful achievement of an independent South Sudan could have economic and security benefits for its East African neighbours in particular. Analysts say it may also shift the balance of power in controlling vital water resources in the region.

South Sudanese ready for referendum. Credit:  USAID

ELECTION-WATCH: Stakes High in What Might be Africa’s 55th State

South Sudan is memorable for unbearably high heat, persistent noise from the generators that help cool the temperatures and glaring poor infrastructure.

Election poster in Juba, Southern Sudan Credit: Fatma Bilal/IPS

ELECTION-WATCH: Countdown Begins to Southern Sudan Referendum

"We want an independent country of our own that is Southern Sudan, and we want a new country". Calm and with a passion in his voice, the secondary school teacher, John Kiri, a native from Juba explained the excitement he is feeling for Sunday’ referendum.

Namibia Finance Minister, Saara Kuugong Credit: Brigitte Weidlich/IPS Credit: Brigitte Weidlich

POLITICS- NAMIBIA: Numbers of Women in Government Declining

Twenty years after independence, representation of women in senior government structures and in Parliament is declining in Namibia. According to the latest demographic survey results of August 2010, out of a population of around 2 million, women outnumber men 10:9. In 2001, the ratio was 94 males per 100 females.

District Councillor, Sandhya Boygah Credit: Nasseem Ackbarally

MAURITIUS: They Do Politics Differently

"I do politics every day, but partisan politics? No, thank you," says Jane Ragoo, long-time trade unionist and social worker. She believes in working to bring about change in society and improve people’s lives but has no interest in clambering onto a truck to campaign for office.

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