Saturday, December 24, 2016

Missing Saharan Sunsets

Thursday, December 22, 2016

African Holiday Crisis of 2016?

It seems that every year there is some kind of holiday crisis (Cote d'Ivoire 2011, Mali 2012, South Sudan 2013, Ebola 2014, Burundi 2015) and this year there are three main contenders: the Gambia, Ghana, and the DRC.  All three contenders held recent elections or were supposed to hold election.  

In the Gambia on 1 December 2016 incumbent Yahya Jammeh lost to opposition candidate Adama Barrow.  Although he originally conceded the election, Jammeh has refused to accept the loss and is attempting to have the results thrown out and schedule another election.  The Gambian supreme court is scheduled to hear the case on 10 Jan 2017 but Adama Barrow plans on holding his inauguration regardless of the court hearing.

The 7 Dec 2016 election in Ghana passed peacefully with Nana Akuffo-Addo of the opposition winning the presidency in the first round and defeating incumbent President John Mahama.  Mahama has promised to hand over power peacefully and accept the election results, averting a crisis in this stable oasis inWest Africa.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo was scheduled to hold elections on 19 Dec 2016 but the President unilaterally postponed elections until April 2018 in order to allow for "voter registration."  Opposition groups have protested but a heavy police and military presence across the country have arrested opposition leaders and detained, beaten, and killed protesters.

The winner for the African Holiday Crisis for 2016 is likely to DRC as protests continue to escalate.  The Gambia would be a contender as well if demonstrations escalated or if Jammeh was to arrest or kill the newly elected president.  However, the Gambia usually receives little international attention and few countries outside of ECOWAS are likely to get involved.