The Year 2020, COVID-19 and Elections in Africa

7 Pages Posted: 11 May 2020 Last revised: 18 May 2020

Date Written: May 5, 2020


Across the continent, millions of people will be going to the polls to exercise their democratic rights this year. In theory, elections will provide avenues for citizens to hold their leaders accountable through either endorsing their legitimacy or replacing them if they have performed abysmally. In this regard, you would expect citizens to be enthusiastic and excited for the opportunity to vote, but this is not always the case. For the most part, election periods in many African countries are characterized by fear and panic because electoral contests are considered a ‘do-or-die’ affair . Even when incumbents are defeated, it is uncertain whether they will leave office. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic presents manifold challenges to democracy in Africa. This paper highlights some of these challenges and identify countries at high risk of contentious elections.

Keywords: Elections, Democracy, COVID-19, Violence

Suggested Citation

Akuamoah, Ernest, The Year 2020, COVID-19 and Elections in Africa (May 5, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Ernest Akuamoah (Contact Author)

Australian National University ( email )


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