Michel Atangana (left) was imprisoned in Cameroon for 17 years until his release in 2014. Smith’s letter to the Cameroonian government is credited with helping secure Atangana’s release.

Podcast: Meet Jeffrey Smith. Meet Jeffrey Smith: A thorn in the side of Africa’s dinosaur presidents

My guest today Jeffrey Smith helps bring down Africa’s “presidents for life.”  His organization, Vanguard Africa, is very new but they already have one success under their belt– assisting the peaceful transition of power from The Gambia’s longtime ruler. He now has his sites set on Africa’s second longest ruling leader, Paul Biya of Cameroon.

We kick off with a discussion of the situation in Cameroon and have great digressions about the Zimbabwe, some deficiencies of the NGO community in D.C. and, of course, the Gambia.

Jeff discusses how and why he came to focus on issues of democracy and human rights in Africa and how he found inspiration from the hero of an anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. If you want to learn how foreign NGOs can help local democracy activists topple longstanding “presidents for life” then have a listen to this Global Dispatches podcast episode.

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