Canada denies visa to famed anti-corruption campaigner Rafael Marques de Morais (Globe and Mail – April 27)

Jeffrey Smith, executive director of Vanguard Africa, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that works for free elections in Africa, said the Canadian decision to reject the visa application is “a disservice to the decades-long selfless sacrifices that Rafael has made.”

How Tanzania’s Government is Trying to Dismantle the Free Press ‘Piece by Piece’ (World Politics Review – April 20)

In an email interview, Jeffrey Smith, the executive director of Vanguard Africa, and Vincent Mashinji, secretary general of Tanzania’s main opposition party, CHADEMA, discuss Tanzania’s assault on the media and how the government is “promoting authoritarian rule, rather than the rule of law.” 

Can This Pop Star Topple Uganda’s Strongman President? ( – April 4, 2018)

According to Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the pro-democracy nonprofit Vanguard Africa, this demographic tension bodes well for Kyagulanyi. “If he’s able to build a campaign structure to effectively channel this energy,” says Smith, “Uganda’s ruling class could be in for a shock.”

What is Happening in Ethiopia? State of Emergency, Protests and Political Crisis Explained (Newsweek – February 19)

"The latest state of emergency in Ethiopia, the second in two years, is an extension of the long repressive status quo, and that status quo is increasingly untenable," Jeffrey Smith, Executive Director at Vanguard Africa, which advocates for free and fair transfers of power in the continent, told Newsweek.

"If the country's leaders are in any way committed to pulling the country out of its economic, humanitarian and political tailspin, then long overdue democratic reforms are necessary."

Zimbabwe Government to Help in Laying Late Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai to Rest (Voice of America – February 15)

The executive director of the US-based nonprofit Vanguard Africa, Jeffrey Smith, also paid tribute to Tsvangirai on twitter. “Go well and rest in power, Morgan Tsvangirai. His steadfast courage and willingness to stand tall against one of the most repressive regimes on the African continent should be applauded. He pushed #Zimbabwe's pro-democracy struggle further than anyone. He will be missed by many.”

Ethiopia Wants Political Prisoners to Sign “Confession” Forms Before Release (Quartz Africa – Feb. 12)

Jeffrey Smith, the executive director of advocacy nonprofit Vanguard Africa, says that undertaking these actions against prisoners “will only exacerbate the social and political fissures that are increasingly evident in the country.”

Beyond Bell Pottinger: Larger Trends Shape Africa's PR Market (PR Week - February 9)

Emerging democratic governments are also enhancing Africa’s economic growth. For instance, Gambia voted dictator Yahya Jammeh out of power at the start of last year. Supporting that ouster was Vanguard Africa, a nonprofit that works to implement free and fair elections. Chris Harvin, cofounder of Vanguard Africa, says a more open society results in a freer press and opportunities for firms offering counsel to high-end clients. 

What One Man’s Detention in Cameroon says about France’s Role in Central Africa (World Politics Review – February 8)

“It’s not that France has taken a hands-off approach,” says Jeffrey Smith, an activist who pushed for Atangana’s release in past roles at Freedom House and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, an advocacy organization. “They’ve taken a hands-on approach with a very pro-stability lens. They’re really trying to maintain the status quo, which is in their best interests.” 

Gambia’s Diaspora Helped Oust a Dictator. Now They’re Asking: What Next? (Christian Science Monitor – January 29)

The diaspora leadership also worked with Vanguard Africa, a nonprofit that advocates for pro-democracy politicians. Jeffery Smith, the executive director of Vanguard Africa, helped Gambians in the US get meetings at the State Department and connect with international media. The diaspora was crucial in focusing attention on Gambia in the lead-up to the election, he says.

“Dictators grow strength in the shadows. They become more emboldened in the darkness and [the diaspora] were able to take that away from Jammeh,” he says. “The international spotlight was on the country. The people in the country recognized this; they were becoming more emboldened because of that.”