US Threatens Visa Restrictions – for Those Responsible for Election-related Violence
Washington – Ahead of more than a dozen elections on the continent of Africa this year, the United States says it remains 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,” Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in a statement Thursday.
Mr. Pompeo averred that 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.”
More than a dozen African nations are holding presidential and parliamentary elections this year.
Presidential elections are expected in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, Seychelles, Tanzania and Togo. Parliamentary and legislative elections will also take place in Chad, Mali, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Comoros, Egypt, Somalia, Liberia and Gabon.