Countries that have made greater democratic strides since the independence era, such as Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania, have in recent times witnessed a concerning trend, according to a June 2015 report by Civicus.
Attacks on citizens, activists and journalists in these countries are evidence of increasing intolerance of political dissent. Repressive tactics have led to a heightened state of fear in these traditionally more open societies.
The study was written by Cathal Gilbert, a researcher with expert knowledge of civic action in southern Africa.
Bill contributed to the research for the report and assisted in editing and final proofreading.
Civicus is a is global alliance of civil society organisations.
Featured image: Botswana president Ian Khama, AFP