US threatens visa restrictions against African countries that engage in electoral violence

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The US government has warned of dire consequences if African countries going to the polls do not work towards clamping down on electoral violence.

It has thus urged all political party leaders across the continent to hold onto integrity and ensure that peace prevails before, during and after the conduct of their respective elections.

Key amongst the sanctions the US has threatened ahead of the upcoming elections is the imposition of travel restrictions.

A statement on the US official website and signed by its Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, urged African countries to uphold democratic credentials and shun acts that undermine the freedoms of the citizenry.

“We will watch closely the actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process and will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those responsible for election-related violence,” the US government added in the statement.

Below is the full statement

The United States is committed to supporting free, fair, inclusive elections. The conduct of elections is important not only for Africans but also for defenders of democracy around the world. We believe all sides should participate peacefully in the democratic process. Repression and intimidation have no place in democracies.

The right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression and association are at the heart of a functioning democracy. Adherence to these democratic norms and to the rule of law allows all citizens to engage in political dialogue and support their choice of candidates, parties, and platforms. We will watch closely the actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process and will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those responsible for election-related violence. As long-time partners to the nations of Africa, we care about the region’s democratic trajectory and are committed to working constructively with international and regional partners.

Groups kick against political violence

Aside from Christian groups, other election stakeholders who matter in Ghana continue to urge political parties to ensure decency in their campaign messages ahead of the polls.

For them, it is prudent for political parties to communicate meaningful messages which are factual and can be substantiated by the citizenry devoid of distortions in campaign messages.

Additionally, the groups want political parties to avoid violence and hate speech in their campaigns and desist from using inducement to gain votes for their parties.

Meanwhile, leaders of the various parties have also admonished their followers across the country to be wary of irresponsible politicians who may want to use them to perpetrate acts of violence in the run-up to the 2020 elections.

In Ghana, voters will on December 7, 2020, go to the polls to elect a President and parliamentarians to lead the affairs of the country for the next four years.

But ahead of the polls, there have been pockets of violence by some political actors.

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