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Blinken: Africans should be wary of ‘bad actors’ that undermine democracy

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The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken advised Africans to be vigilant of rising threats to democracy in his three-nation diplomatic tour.

Previously, Mr Blinken had conversations with civil society representatives to seek suggestions on how to curb “bad actors” who undermine democratic institutions before visiting Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“We have seen over the last decade or so what some call a democratic recession,” he said on Wednesday.

“Even vibrant democracies like Kenya experience pressure, especially around election time. We have seen the same challenges here than we see in many parts of the world – misinformation, political violence, voter intimidation, voter bribery.”

The senior US diplomat said he wanted to hear the participants’ opinions on democratic difficulties and solutions, as well as “how the United States can be helpful” in these efforts.

According to the State Department, he will also address particular regional challenges like resolving the conflict in Ethiopia, battling terrorism in Somalia, and revitalising Sudan’s path to a civilian government.

Mr Blinken’s trip to Kenya is part of a three-nation African tour that includes stops in Nigeria and Senegal. His visit is part of a larger effort to advance the US’s reputation as a prominent player in the continent as it competes with China.

Despite considerable financial and vaccine commitments to combat the coronavirus pandemic and other infectious illnesses, the US has struggled to build influence in the region.

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