“It’s a military regime with a civilian figurehead at the top effectively doing their business for them,” said Jeffrey Smith, the founder of Vanguard Africa, a Washington nonprofit that works with Togolese pro-democracy activists. Gnassingbe “is putting a patina of legitimacy on an otherwise illegitimate military regime,” he said.
“It’s clear the new government is genuinely resolved to make a clear and unequivocal break from the dictatorial past,” says Jeffrey Smith, director of Vanguard Africa, a pro-democracy outfit. “But the perception is that much of that goodwill has yet to be translated to on-the-ground results.”
“Rather than a rebuke of the government’s failure to hold overdue legislative elections, this is merely a dubious measure to strengthen the president’s weakened hand,” said Jeffrey Smith, executive director of Vanguard Africa, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that monitors elections in Africa.
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.”
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.”
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.”
In recent months, President Magufuli's popularity has dwindled, as the government has come under sharp criticism over some of his policies, including the ongoing clampdown on civil society and political opposition.
"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."
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.”
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.”