In Angola, the investiture took place on Thursday 15 September in the afternoon. In this country of 33 million inhabitants twice the size of France. President Joao Lourenço was re-elected for a second term: he thus perpetuates the domination of his party, the MPLA in power in the country since independence in 1975, 47 years ago. If we add restricted freedoms, questions about the validity of electoral lists and the presence of tanks in the streets today in the capital to deter opposition demonstrators, we say to ourselves that it’s not very democratic. But there are other more encouraging indicators. First, the power recognizes the very tight nature of this victory: 51.17% of the vote. Alternation therefore becomes a possible concept.
Never has an election been so disputed in Angola. Justice was also seized by the opposition, which denounced irregularities. The Constitutional Court validated the result. And the opposition, Unita, very popular among the youth, accepted this decision. By promising to lead a peaceful protest. And then President Lourenço contrasts with his predecessor, Eduardo dos Santos, who had held the country for nearly four decades, mainly for the benefit of his relatives and his family. Lourenço, during his first term, invested heavily in the fight against corruption by cleaning up public finances. All that’s missing is a real alternation.
In Kenya, the inauguration of the new president also took place this week, Tuesday September 13, and there are common points, with one more: precisely an alternation, in this country of 54 million inhabitants, of the size from France. It is an economic locomotive in East Africa. William Ruto was declared the winner with 50.5% of the vote. And it therefore puts an end to the dynasty of the two Kenyatta and Odinga families which had dominated the political life of the country for 60 years. Again, very close result. Again, referral to justice by the opposition. Again, validation of the results by the Supreme Court. And then again, the loser, Raila Odinga, accepted defeat and even shook hands with the winner earlier in the week. That doesn’t mean that everything works perfectly: Ruto, who calls himself “spokesperson for the hustlers”, is a controversial figure, suspected of corruption, surrounded by a scent of scandal. And he inherits a divided country with a faltering economy. But the electoral process has come to an end in Kenya and passed off peacefully.
This is good news for democracy in Africa and all of this contrasts with the situation in other countries on the continent, particularly in the West; with the exception of Senegal, democratic backsliding is evident in West Africa. One thinks of course of the chaos that reigns in Burkina Faso or Mali, caught between a military junta and Islamist groups. Or to the many authoritarian or dynastic regimes in the region: in Chad, Guinea, Togo, Cameroon, etc.