Covid-19 Pandemic and Electoral Participation in Africa: Likelihood of Ugandans Voting in the 2021 ‘Pandemic Elections’

The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on political dynamics, as it did on other aspects of human life. The outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 almost brought the world to a standstill. This was mainly due to pandemic mitigation measures put in place, including social distancing. These actions greatly affected all levels of human interaction – politically, socially, and economically. Politically, it meant minimal or no electoral activities, no local or international face-to-face meetings, and the abuse of power. The restrictions saw elections postponed indefinitely in some countries, rescheduled or delayed in others, or held with minimal interaction elsewhere. Uganda is one of the few African countries that went ahead with holding elections in 2021 amid the pandemic. The study sought to examine and contribute to the broader understanding of the effects of COVID-19 on electoral participation by analysing available literature, Uganda’s electoral laws and reports, and Afrobarometer survey data collected in Uganda before and during the pandemic. The focus was on individual-level predictors of voting intentions by Ugandans: demographic, political, social, and economic. Descriptive and inferential analyses were performed on citizens’ likelihood of voting. The results demonstrate that party affiliation/identification and ethnic/regional identity are the strongest predictors of the likelihood of voting during the pandemic.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: COVID-19, democracy, election, electoral participation, Uganda, voter turnout
journal of african elections vol21 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa