Confronting Human Right in Africa

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Across the continent, many of Africa’s long-serving presidents have met their counterpart in the form of online protests which test the strength of their ability to maintain power.

While countries like Uganda, Nigeria, and Rwanda have constitutions that strictly guarantee rights such as freedom of speech, association, and assembly, these rights are often breached. Today, spurred by improved connectivity, youthful Pan-African online societies are using social media to speak out against this oppression and support younger candidates fighting for office in countries where leaders have held to power for years.

The last few months have seen exceptional online involvement, with trending hashtags such as #FreeBobiWine (Uganda); and #FreeSamuel Ogundipe (Nigeria) created by African netizens to create awareness, unity and put international pressure on their governments.

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari’s government has significantly oppressed press freedoms in recent years. Between August 2015 and March 2018, about 17 Nigerian journalists and bloggers have been unlawfully arrested or detained by security forces. Buhari has openly expressed his dislike to a free press and freedom of speech. He stated that “the Rule of Law must be subject to the supremacy of the nation’s security and national interest.”

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari’s government has significantly repressed press freedoms in recent years. Between August 2015 and March 2018, about 17 Nigerian journalists and bloggers have been unlawfully arrested or detained by security forces. Buhari has openly expressed his aversion to a free press and freedom of speech. In a recent address to lawyers, he stated that “the Rule of Law must be focused to the supremacy of the nation’s security and national interest.”

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