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A window into democracy in Africa and the world: In conversation with Prof Staffan Lindberg

The year 2016 was full of surprises. The biggest ones (Brexit, Trump’s election, Jammeh’s exit) were delivered via the ballot box.  Democracy may yet have more surprises in store for us in 2017. As the Director of the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute at the University of Gothenburg, few people on the planet study democracy and its effect more closely than Professor Staffan I. Lindberg. He spoke to Wycliffe Muga, a Kenyan journalist and political commentator, on what V-Dem’s work reveals about democracy in Africa, why people are now more open to “I can fix this” politicians and much more.

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Abortion is not going away, no matter how much you gag it

Around the world, abortions are happening by the millions. In some cases they happen safely; in some they are done with bleach and herbs. It is a contentious issue, with people falling hard into the pro-choice or pro-life camp. Fact is, abortion is not going away, and simply not speaking about it or not allowing it makes the problem far worse. This is not a debate about ‘loose women’ or ‘loose morals’ but about the best way to keep women alive and safe.

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Cartoon: Buhari requests for indefinite extension of medical leave

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has requested an extension of his 10-day vacation for a “routine” medical check-up in UK. It’s unclear when the president would return to the country. President Buhari was initially expected back by the 6th of February but has asked for more time for his doctors to “complete the test cycle before returning”. Buhari’s continued absence has set tongues wagging in a country facing numerous economic and security challenges. Pressure has been mounting for President Buhari’s administration, with ongoing protests against the worsening economic situation. Baba Go Slow’s leadership is sorely missed.

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Buhari, Patience Jonathan, and Theresa May

President Buhari’s silence translates as nonchalance towards his creditors, all Nigerians. Sadly, this indifference is the default, if feckless, attitude of those who occupy the space of leadership in Nigeria. These are the men and women who take the most from Nigeria but give back the least. Think about it: since assuming the presidency, has Mr. Buhari offered a serious policy statement about his country’s healthcare sector?

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Zimbabwe: Evan Mawarire #ThisFlag movement leader arrested on return

Police in Zimbabwe have arrested Pastor Evan Mawarire, who started #ThisFlag, a social media campaign, which encourages citizens to speak on poor governance, the ailing economy, corruption and poverty in the country. Mawarire was arrested upon his return, and he reportedly faces charges of subverting a constitutionally elected government. Mawarire’s arrest has been heavily criticized on social media, and his return has also divided opinion on various platforms.