Good, bad, ugly or interminable political transitions will loom large in 2017. The theme of transition will dominate the first two editions of Africa Confidential, which carry a set of economic and political forecasts for countries facing major changes this year.
In Ghana, defeated President John Mahama quickly conceded and
jointly managed a transition with winner Nana Akufo-Addo, who is due to take
over on 7 January. Not so in Gambia,
where President Yahya Jammeh
changed his mind about accepting defeat in December's elections. The
head of the military, General Ousman
Badjie, who initially pledged support for election winner Adama Barrow, has changed his mind,
too. A trial of strength looms between Jammeh and regional leaders who
insist they will recognise Barrow as the legitimate President after 19
Transitions in Congo-Kinshasa
and South Africa will also
attract attention. After talks mediated by the Catholic Church,
President Joseph Kabila now
says he will hold elections and step down by December. His opponents
insist he signs the deal in public. Jacob
Zuma will be replaced as President of the African National
Congress by the end of the year: if he goes with his favoured successor
in place, he will still wield influence. If he's forced out early, it
would end his political career and that of his key allies. Big changes
are looking more likely in Zimbabwe.
In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta is tipped to win
elections in August but with a high risk of a messy dispute.