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December 5, 2019

Zambia
Standing Up for Human Rights in Zambia

Last week, when U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote expressed his dismay about a Zambian court ruling sentencing two men to fifteen years in prison for the crime of conducting a same-sex relationship, Zambian President Edgar Lungu was quick to take offense.

Zambia's President Edgar Lungu attending a signing ceremony in Paris, France, February 8, 2016

December 3, 2019

Democratic Republic of Congo
The Destabilizing Consequences of Fear and Frustration in the DRC

Protests that began last week in and around Beni in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo have continued into this week, claiming several lives. Civilians on the ground, frustrated and frightened by yet another spike in insecurity, have channeled their anger toward the United Nations’ peacekeepers in their midst, demanding that they leave since they are unable to protect civilians.

A U.N. peacekeeper serving in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in Beni territory, North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, November 17, 2018

October 31, 2019

Elections and Voting
Southern Africa’s Tale of Two Elections: Mozambique and Botswana

Southern Africa recently wrapped up two dramatically different elections. In Mozambique, presidential, parliamentary, and regional elections were characterized by irregularities and even violence, but not by suspense. The ruling FRELIMO party had ensured its victory in the pre-election period, in part through the presence of “ghost voters” on the voters’ roll, and through a campaign of intimidation aimed at challengers to its power.

A woman casts her ballot at Moshupa village, in the Southern District of Botswana, October 23, 2019

November 30, 2016

United States
Michel Temer’s Shrinking Presidency

When he officially became president three months ago, Michel Temer’s game plan was simple and bold: in the roughly eighteen months before the 2018 presidential campaign ramped up, he would undertake …

Brazil's President Michel Temer looks on during a news conference at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia

November 19, 2019

Burkina Faso
The Roots of Burkina Faso’s Crisis

Burkina Faso is in trouble. The shocking ambush of a Canadian mining company’s convoy earlier this month was part of a relentless series of deadly attacks perpetrated both by terrorist organizations and by domestic criminal groups that have claimed hundreds of lives, forced nearly half a million people from their homes, and gravely shaken domestic and international confidence in the country’s security services.

A pro-democracy protester holds up a Burkina Faso flag at Place de la Nation in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, November 2, 2014

October 18, 2019

West Africa
Worrying Trends in Côte d'Ivoire

Several successive years of being one of the world’s fastest-growing economies have made Côte d'Ivoire a darling of investors bullish about Africa. But the country’s strong economic performance has not been matched by political progress in overcoming the divides that drove the country into civil war twice in the last twenty years. With elections scheduled for 2020, many of the same antagonists that featured in those earlier conflicts are jockeying for position, giving observers and citizens an unwelcome sense of déjà vu.

Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara of the Rally of the Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) party talks after casting his vote at a polling station during a presidential election in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire on October 25, 2015

October 8, 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa
A New Challenge to Confront: Rising Illicit Drug Use

New research suggests that African policymakers focused on the future have yet another pressing issue to add to their already full plate: A study released on the margins of the UN General Assembly meeting and funded by the European Union indicates that Africa will be the site of the world’s largest increase in illegal drug use over the next few decades.

A recovering drug addict receives his dose of methadone at a Medication Assisted Therapy clinic run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) at Karuri Level 4 hospital in Kiambu, Kenya October 3, 2019.

October 3, 2019

Somalia
Diplomatic Progress in Somalia

The re-opening of the U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia, is welcome news to many who have worked on U.S. policy issues in the Horn of Africa for decades. It represents not just a positive step in strengthening bilateral relations, but also a victory over those who would prioritize risk-aversion  ahead of the actual work of diplomacy

Italian and Somali security forces are seen near armored vehicles at the scene of an attack on an Italian military convoy in Mogadishu, Somalia September 30, 2019

September 16, 2019

Eritrea
How Long Must Eritrea Wait for Change?

Last week, the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Eritrea "the most censored country in the world." That unsurprising conclusion is only the latest dubious distinction for Eritrea, a state that often seems frozen in an authoritarian limbo in the midst of region characterized by profound changes. 

Eritrean refugees participate in a demonstration in support of a U.N. human rights report accusing Eritrean leaders of crimes against humanity in front of the Africa Union headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, June 23, 2016

September 6, 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa
Mugabe and the Zimbabwe He Left Behind

Robert Mugabe, who ruled over Zimbabwe for 37 years, died on September 6. His was an undeniably epic life of glaring contradictions. He was a passionate voice for the liberation of the Zimbabwean people from the injustice and humiliation of white minority rule, but a brutal oppressor when those same people sought to exercise political freedom.

Zimbabwe's former President Robert Mugabe looks on before casting his vote in Highfields outside Harare July 31, 2013