The Movement to Oust Togo’s Gnassingbe Dynasty Faces an Uncertain Year (World Politics Review - February 7)

Gnassingbe’s critics have been dismissive of these gestures. In a piece this week for Vanguard Africa, Wolali K. Ahlijah, a co-founder of the Faure Must Go campaign, suggested that Tsegan’s election was a cynical attempt by the government to get plaudits for “empowering women.” The released prisoners, meanwhile, should never have been detained in the first place, he said, and were “held hostage and used as a bargaining tool by the regime.” 

In Tense Uganda, You Watch President and He Watches You (Bloomberg News – January 30)

Elections “will be a true litmus test of the power of the country’s youth and a testament to their collective aspirations for a better, more prosperous country,” said Jeffrey Smith, Washington-based executive director of the Vanguard Africa Foundation, which advocates for inclusive democracies.

After Mugabe, Zimbabwe Still Enforces a Law Against Insulting the President (NPR – December 20)

Jeffrey Smith, executive director of Vanguard Africa, a pro-democracy organization that engages with African governments, says he is not surprised by the insult law arrests. Mnangagwa — nicknamed the Crocodile for his crafty ways as a liberation fighter — rose to power through a de facto coup. Smith believes it would be a mistake to assume the country will now become more democratic.

This Week in Politics: December 15, 2018 (Hot FM Gambia)

Hot FM Gambia heads to Washington, DC as Jeffrey Smith, who helped highlight the plight of Gambia's dictatorship at the highest levels of the US administration, tells us what he thinks of the Barrow government after two years.

Still Reeling from the Jammeh Years, Gambia Begins its Journey to Justice (World Politics Review – November 27)

Jeffrey Smith, director of Vanguard Africa, the Washington-based organization that advised Barrow’s coalition during the transition, agrees that the government has made a series of missteps. “People with which Barrow surrounded himself at the beginning had really good intentions, but the lack of governing experience is really hampering efforts. A lot of people are really disappointed, me included,” he says. “Unfortunately, I think this is giving more power to the APRC and in many ways it’s paving the way for their eventual comeback to the political scene. That’s something I’m keeping an eye on and I’m particularly worried about.”

Cameroon’s Paul Biya Gives a Master Class in Fake Democracy (Foreign Policy – October 22)

“What really stands out in Cameroon and elsewhere is the degree that highly abusive, repressive, and, in this case, dictatorial regimes will go to, to somehow get this stamp of approval,” said Jeffrey Smith, the executive director of Vanguard Africa, a nonprofit organization focused on democracy promotion in African states.