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US warns Ghana, other African states over election violence

The United States of America has threatened to impose visa restrictions on African politicians who engage in election related violence.

Ivory Coast, Ghana, Niger and some other African states are all expected to head to the polls later this year to elect a new president and parliamentarians.

Ghana will vote on December 7 in both presidential and parliamentary elections while Ivory Coast will also head to the polls on October 31 to elect a new President.

In a statement on the US State Department’s website, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said the US 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.

He added that the US has been long time partners of Africa’s democratic trajectory and is committed to working constructively with international and regional partners.

“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.”

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