Africa Blog Roundup: Two-Round Electoral Systems, War in Mali, Media in Somalia, and More

Dibussi Tande on the difference having a two-round election system can make, and why Cameroon (for historical reasons) does not have one:

The Republic of Senegal has a new president following run-off elections which resulted in the defeat of outgoing President Abdoulaye Wade by Macky Sall, his one-time protégé and former Prime Minister. One of the main reasons for Macky’s victory is Senegal’s two-round electoral system, which calls for a second round of voting if no candidate obtains more that 50% of votes cast. This is unlike countries such as Cameroon which have a one-round/first-past-the-post electoral system.

In the first round of voting, President Wade obtained 34.81% of votes cast while Sall obtained 26.58%. If this had been the first-past-the-post system practiced in Cameroon, Wade would still be President of Senegal…

The two-round system is a potent tool for dislodging sit-tight incumbents, especially in the face of a splintered opposition (there were 14 candidates in the first round of elections in Senegal).

Erin in Juba provides a snarky perspective on life in South Sudan during the oil shutdown.

Mali continues to grapple with war and the aftermath of the recent coup. Dr. Gregory Mann says Mali’s democracy is “Down But Not Out.” Lesley Warner looks at the trajectory of the war with a post entitled, “After the Loss of Kidal and Gao, What Next for the MNLA and CNRDR” – the MNLA being the rebels in the north (The National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad) and the CNRDR being the military junta in Bamako (the National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and the State).

Peter Dorrie continues his series on the Sahelian food crisis with a look at Burkina Faso. He writes,

Burkina will be one of the least impacted countries of this year’s hunger crisis. This is due to its geographical advantages, but also the early and relatively comprehensive reaction by the government and NGOs. Still, many people will be off worse after the crisis than they were before. Lets hope that they won’t be forgotten as soon as the crisis is declared over.

Carmen McCain, “The Strange Poisonous Fruit of Hate: South Africa, Nigeria, and the World.”

Laine Strutton reflects on the way her interlocutors in the Niger Delta talk about the 1990s, and what implications this case has for larger questions of  security and/vs. freedom.

Amb. John Cambell argues, “Africa Unlikely to Win World Bank Presidency.”

And Amb. David Shinn flags a new report on the Somali media landscape.

Been a lot of news this week. What’s on your mind?

3 thoughts on “Africa Blog Roundup: Two-Round Electoral Systems, War in Mali, Media in Somalia, and More

  1. Well Timbuktu has reportedly come under attack. One problem in looking at this is that the Tuareg forces have only just exploded onto the international stage and so I don’t know how much information about their motives (besides creating their own state) is available and reliable. I suspect most governments are wondering if it would be possible to do business with them even if it means breaking the ‘no new states’ rule.

    • Whatever you do, Gyre, never ever start opening the pandora box ( recognizing new African states). The Tuareg, just like the Somalis and the Kurds were given the raw deal by the colonials after creating arbitrary borders. After the fall of the central government of Somalia in 1991, the former British Somaliland actively agitated  creating their own homeland. One of the reasons was being, in their opinion, under the yoke of the former Italian colony of southern Somalia.  They founded their freedom movement for that purpose, the SNM. Now the western as well as the eastern peripheries of within un-recognized  Somaliland are up in arms against whom? Against Somaliland, of course! They have the same issues Somalilanders had years ago. They argue, if Somalia is divisible,  so is Somaliland! Just today, mini-war flared up between the centre ( this time Hargeisa) and forces of Khatumo State. So please, don’t entertain the idea of creating new states in Africa. The solution lies in being within the State but decentralized. No more powerful one-city State, no more marginalizing the regions and definitely no new independent states. 

      The Tuaregs had better chance if they opt that way.

      • It’s not my choice to make. Things in Mali will be decided very soon and depending on the outcome the African nations may have to decide how they treat a possible Tuareg state.
        Right now I don’t see any good options. Africa and the world powers have to decide whether or not to recognize a horribly timed coup with all the consequences that will probably cause. If it is recognized that effectively tells soldiers that under the right circumstances they can get away with it, something that every leader in Africa is no doubt watching nervously. If it isn’t recognized it runs the risk of a Tuareg separatist victory*, with at least one important faction being politically Islamist and separatists throughout the world taking note.
        Worst of all for America, this is happening in a very charged election year. Every decision taken by a president during election year is a tough one and while Africa usually doesn’t have much impact on the U.S public Obama needs every advantage he can get, which limits his options.

        *And I’m fully aware that even if it is recognized there is still no guarantee of a victory by the Mali government.

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