UNITED States Secretary Of State Anthony Blinken, who is currently visiting Nigeria, has listed obstacles to democracy in Africa and urged African leaders to strengthen democratic governance and allow citizens’ rights.
Blinken addressed representatives at the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja on Friday.
He said, “We must strengthen democracy. This is a critical moment. Authoritarianism is on the rise around the world, technology is being used to silence dissent and prosecute citizens.
“Meanwhile, governments are becoming less transparent, corruption is growing. In many places, elections are flashpoints for violence and the pandemic has accelerated many of these trends.”
The US secretary of state listed some of the trends plaguing African democracy: “We see this happening across Africa, leaders rigging elections, exploiting social grievances to gain and maintain power, arresting opposition figures, cracking down on the media and allowing security services to enforce pandemic restrictions with brutality. Many Africans are now living under this partial authoritarian governance.”
He also urged African countries to step up response to climate change.
“We have to step up our response to climate. This pandemic has revealed how vulnerable all of us are; we have to seize the opportunity to strengthen global health security.”
“On this, the United States and the countries of Africa are uniquely well-positioned to lead because we spend decades working together to improve health across the continent,” he added.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had a meeting with Blinken on Thursday at the presidential villa in Abuja.