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General News of Monday, 14 November 2016

Source: citifmonline.com

UK threatens to deny visas over election violence in Ghana

The United Kingdom (UK) government, has said Ghanaians found to have engaged in election-related violence ahead of the 2016 polls, could face some sanctions within its remit.

A statement from the UK said these sanctions could include the refusal or revokal of visas for anyone engaging in or inciting political violence and thus undermining Ghana’s democracy.

The UK government’s warning is in response to the recent clashes between supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The statement made direct reference to the clahses between the two parties in front of the Nima residence the NPP Flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, during a health walk organised by the NDC. It also followed a similar statement from the United States Embassy in Ghana.

Following the tensions, the UK government urged the various parties to ensure that their members avoid acts of violence and instead promote peace. “We therefore call on all Ghana’s political actors to promote peace, and to respect Ghana’s electoral and constitutional processes.

All political parties should strongly urge their supporters to refrain from, and indeed actively to condemn, any violence, incitement or intimidation which only serve to undermine democracy,” the statement said.

Find below the full statement

The British Government expresses its concern at recent incidents of political violence in Ghana in the run-up to the presidential and parliamentary elections on 7 December.

We condemn all violent acts by the supporters of any political party, including any occurring as a result of holding electoral campaign events close to the private homes of rival candidates.

The UK is a great supporter of Ghana’s democracy and of maintaining its electoral record. We admire the open and energetic nature of its campaigns. We believe that violence has absolutely no place in the electoral process.

We therefore call on all Ghana’s political actors to promote peace, and to respect Ghana’s electoral and constitutional processes. All political parties should strongly urge their supporters to refrain from, and indeed actively to condemn, any violence, incitement or intimidation which only serve to undermine democracy.

The UK reserves the right to take action against anyone engaging in or inciting political violence, including considering refusing or revoking visas.

The UK will continue to work with Ghanaian institutions, including the Electoral Commission, Police, Judiciary, National Peace Council, civil society groups and the media to support Ghana’s efforts to hold credible, peaceful and fair elections. The UK remains entirely neutral in those elections.