There have been many controversial elections in Africa over the years. In many African countries, the election process is marred by allegations of fraud, vote rigging, and other forms of violence. Some African countries have tried to be transparent while many still face significant challenges.
Many of these elections held are marked with violence, protests, and allegations of fraud and corruption which questions the need for transparent democratic processes in the region.
However, the determination of a controversial election can vary depending on various factors, including the political context, the nature of the election, and the perception of different stakeholders. In this article, we will share some presidential elections that ended in controversies.
Democratic Republic of Congo Presidential Election (2018)
The presidential election held in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2018 was highly controversial, with allegations of vote-rigging and other irregularities.
The opposition candidate, Martin Fayulu, claimed that he was the true winner of the election, but the electoral commission declared Felix Tshisekedi the winner.The election which had been postponed many times led to tensions and protest in the country.
The president Joseph Kabila who had overstayed his constitutional term limit by being in power since 2001 whose party was the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) was accused of delaying the elections in order to hold onto power.
The elections finally took place on December 30, 2018, with reports of vote rigging, ballot stuffing, and intimidation of opposition supporters. The country’s electoral commission thus delayed announcing the results, further fueling suspicions of fraud.
However, opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi was declared the winner of the presidential election, with 38.5% of the vote. Martin Fayulu, another opposition party who was widely seen as the favorite to win, rejected the result and accused Tshisekedi of making a deal with Kabila to rig the vote.
In the end, the DRC’s Constitutional Court upheld Tshisekedi’s victory, dismissing Fayulu’s claims. The court’s decision was not accepted by many, including international observers and some African leaders, who said it lacked credibility and legitimacy.
2021 Cameroonian Presidential Election
The election was held on October 7, 2018, with incumbent President Paul Biya seeking another term in office. There were also concerns about the limited participation of opposition parties in the election, with some candidates withdrawing from the race citing various reasons such as intimidation and violence.
There were allegations of vote rigging and other forms of electoral malpractice, with some opposition parties rejecting the results of the election. The government also shut down the internet in some regions before and during the election, which raised concerns about the ability of citizens to access information and communicate about the election.
2016 Gabonese Presidential Election
The 2016 Gabonese Presidential Election was a highly controversial election that sparked protests, violence including international criticism. The election was held on August 27, 2016, with incumbent President Ali Bongo seeking another term in office.
On August 31, 2016, the election results were announced with Ali Bongo declared the winner by a narrow margin. However, the opposition led by Jean Ping rejected the results and accused the government of electoral fraud.
The controversy further led to a protracted political crisis in Gabon, with the opposition refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the government. The crisis was later resolved through a political dialogue moderated by the African Union.
2023 Nigerian Presidential Election
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the flag bearer of All Progressive Party (APC) has won a tight race to succeed Muhammadu Buhari as the next president of Nigeria in the just concluded 2023 presidential election.
Tinubu was announced as the winner by Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after having satisfied the requirements of the law.
Many Nigerian youths who supported Peter Obi, the flagbearer of Labour Party (LP) saw his win as a disappointment and that the strategy and structure of the electoral process was theft and violence. Supporters of Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who was the third frontliner of the election saw the whole election as sham and not a demonstration of human rights.
Tinubu won a total of 12 states with a total votes of 8,794,726 while Atiku won 11 states with a total of 6,984,520 with Peter Obi winning 11 states plus the FCT, leaving him with a total of 6,101,533 votes.
Yakubu who had conducted several elections since assuming office in 2015 was said to have conducted the most controversial election in Nigeria. The presidential election he conducted in 2019 was criticized by the opposition for alleged irregularities such as voter suppression and vote buying
The 2019 election was criticized by the opposition for alleged irregularities such as voter suppression, vote buying, and intimidation. There were also reports of violence in some parts of the country during the election, which resulted in the deaths of several people. The opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenged the election results in court, alleging that the election was rigged in favor of the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari.
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