Top 5 Elections To Watch In Africa And Predictions For 2017

Kurt Davis Jr.
Written by Kurt Davis Jr.
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Photo: dpa/gisreports



The ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) will most likely win in elections scheduled for August 2017. But how the party’s victory plays out will be the thing to watch. The MPLA has elected João Lourenco, a former defense minister and vice president of the MLPA, to be the standard bearer for the party. He has the support of outgoing President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

The departure of dos Santos seems anticlimactic for his critics. His announcement in December 2016 to step down as president before the 2017 elections came as a surprise to supporters and detractors. The dos Santos family will not disappear from the scene. The president’s daughter, Isabel dos Santos, is not only the richest woman in Angola but the entire African continent. She is the chairwoman of the Angolan state oil company Sonangol. She will be charged with charting a path forward for the company, especially under a new administration, with the state and the company’s balance sheets holding a significant amount of debt. The president’s son, Jose Filomeno de Sousa dos Santo,s serves as chairman of Fundo Soberano de Angola, the country’s sovereign wealth fund. He has performed relatively well despite the hit to the country’s coffers from low oil prices.

The question is less who wins, but how does this election change the country? The 2017 elections will be a positive for the Angolan people despite a lack of formidable opposition looking forward. Change nevertheless will be good for the MPLA. That said, critics observing the election will be looking to see if the system is maturing. Is the Angola democracy becoming more democratic? A positive conclusion there would be a game-changer for the country’s reputation.