The United States has sounded a caveat to African countries preparing for elections, including Liberia to respect the rule of law by allowing citizens to engage in political dialogue and support their choice of candidates, parties, and platforms.
U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, in a statement issued over the weekend, said the conduct of elections is important not only for Africans, but also for defenders of democracy around the world.
Liberians are gearing up for midterm senatorial elections on December 8, 2020 that would see 15 senators elected to join 15 incumbent at the Capitol to complete the 30-member Liberian Senate.
Ahead of the poll, political rallies, mainly by the opposition have been disrupted repeatedly by violence, with fingers-pointing. “We believe all sides should participate peacefully in the democratic process. Repression and intimidation have no place in democracies”, Mr. Pompeosaid.
Secretary Pompeonoted the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression and association are at the heart of a functioning democracy, and warned that serious consequences awaits individuals who will interfere in democratic process on the Continent.
“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 United States threatened.
Secretary Pompeo continued that the United States is committed to supporting free, fair, inclusive elections, adding that as long-time partners to the nations of Africa, America cares about the region’s democratic trajectory and is committed to working constructively with international and regional partners in achieving this.
Story by Jonathan Browne