Four former presidents will dominate the upcoming elections, while their respective political vehicles are seeking to curry favour with the military and to create political alliances with rivals, although the threat of fresh civil unrest remains ever present.
In the first six months of its administration, the new government had taken a measured and pragmatic approach to pursue internal and external peace, enhanced political pluralism, and economic privatisation, yet remains challenged by both socio-political and institutional pressures.
Supporters of the opposition will start to mobilise to pressure the electoral commission to accept their demands for reform ahead of the December elections, yet even if the various fragmented opposition parties unite, the governing party’s candidate retains the strong benefit of incumbency.
The newly elected president has consolidated his political authority through shaking up the cabinet, while he is sending a reformist message to creditors that he will prioritise growth as a mechanism for development, beginning with measures to stabilise the country’s precarious fiscal and monetary positions.
A proposed delay to legislative elections seems engineered to favour the president and allied opposition, while harming the ruling party in parliament; international stakeholders will push for a compromise settlement to avoid another political crisis.
In the one-month outlook, further demonstrations and retaliatory violence are likely leading up to trials of opposition leaders, while the risk of diplomatic sanctions would increase in case of broader restrictions on NGOs.
The new government will seek international re-engagement, political conciliation, and economic recovery, while taking a measured approach, prioritising less disruptive policy, and personnel changes and gradually moving toward more comprehensive change.
Incomplete data on farm attacks are facilitating the politicisation of the issue by lobby groups and political parties, even though a review of available statistics shows a downward trend in attacks and murders over the past 16 years.
The exclusion of high profile candidates from upcoming municipal elections are triggering divisive defections from the ruling party, driving risk of youth protests in the capital, and straining peace negotiations with the armed opposition.
A fresh wave of anti-government agitation has provided fresh momentum to the political opposition in the past few weeks, especially among younger, urban-based, and usually apathetic communities, posing a threat of disruptive and potentially violent protests ahead of the 2021 elections.
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