Ahead of elections in 2020, Ethiopia has many problems to address. Here are our top reads on how Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power and what comes next.
Jeffrey Smith, founding director of Vanguard Africa, and executive director of Freedom Forward Sunjeev Bery also applauded Minaj.
"Pocketing millions of dollars from, and representing the selfish interests of, ruthless dictators has become a lucrative business,” said Jeffrey Smith, the founding director of Vanguard Africa, a Washington based non-profit organisation that says it supports ethical leadership in Africa. “It’s an upside-down world in which priorities are misplaced, the people suffer, and abusive leaders inevitably grow stronger and more emboldened.”
Jeffrey Smith, a US-based international human rights activist, said on Twitter: “An unsolicited piece of advice to Mnangagwa, Moyo and the government of Zimbabwe: respecting the human rights of your citizens – regardless of political affiliation – and implementing your own constitution and regional conventions costs nothing. It’s free. Try it.”
Move back a few steps to get the bigger picture and the retreat of democracy looks like a global rout. Here, for instance, is Nic Cheeseman’s and Jeffrey Smith’s take on Africa in Foreign Affairs:
IN TANZANIA, PRESIDENT JOHN MAGUFULI HAS CLAMPED DOWN ON THE OPPOSITION AND CENSORED THE MEDIA. HIS ZAMBIAN COUNTERPART, PRESIDENT EDGAR LUNGU, RECENTLY ARRESTED THE MAIN OPPOSITION LEADER ON TRUMPED-UP CHARGES OF TREASON AND IS SEEKING TO EXTEND HIS STAY IN POWER TO A THIRD TERM. THIS REFLECTS A BROADER TREND. ACCORDING TO FREEDOM HOUSE, A THINK TANK, JUST 11 PERCENT OF THE CONTINENT IS POLITICALLY “FREE,” AND THE AVERAGE LEVEL OF DEMOCRACY, UNDERSTOOD AS RESPECT FOR POLITICAL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES, FELL IN EACH OF THE LAST 14 YEARS.
As Jeffrey Smith, the founding director of Vanguard Africa, told me, "the more that the Museveni regime tries to muzzle its rightful critics, the more admired and respected they become, both in the country and outside its borders."
Jeffrey Smith, executive director of Vanguard Africa, told DW: "In the eyes of President Museveni and the security apparatus around him, I think they rightly view Bobi Wine as a threat to their power and legitimacy. He's resonating particularly with Uganda's majority youth population." Vanguard is a nonprofit organization that partners with African leaders and democracy activists to consolidate democratic gains and advocate for free and fair elections in Africa.
Outspoken artist, activist and legislator Robert Kyagulanyi (AKA Bobi Wine) has been detained after police shut down a recent concert of his and has since surrounded his home.
The thirty-eight undersigned human rights and civil liberties organizations are gravely concerned by the continued arbitrary detention of Mr. Amade Abubacar, a community radio journalist at the state-owned Rádio e Televisão Comunitária Nacedje de Macomia, in Cabo Delgado province.
Absent amid all the maneuvering are any real efforts to move beyond the ethnic- and elite-driven political system that has long defined Kenyan politics. Jeffrey Smith, the executive director of the pro-democracy group Vanguard Africa, calls the developments “concerning” for Kenyan democracy and the ripple effects it sends around East Africa. “Once again, Kenya’s ruling class seem intent on prioritizing short-term political gain and self-interest over the long-term development of the country, and at the expense of Kenya’s democratic foundations,” he says.