The US has issued a warning to African leaders suppressing democracy and instigating violence in their countries.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement on Thursday said that the US is watching closely and will not hesitate to impose sanctions on leaders interfering with elections.
He further expressed US commitment to free, fair, and inclusive elections, adding that the conduct of elections is important not only for Africans, but also for defenders of democracy around the world.
“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,” Pompeo said without mentioning a specific African country.
He added: “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.”
Denial of visas is among the sanctions the US will impose on such leaders, Pompeo said.
“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.”
It is not clear whether the US warning targeted Kenyan leaders due to the political tensions witnessed in the country recently.
A week ago, two people were killed in Kenol town, Murang’a county after two political rival groups clashed ahead of Deputy President William Ruto’s visit to the area.
This prompted the National Security Advisory Council (NSAC) to announce new measures aimed at preventing such political chaos in the future.
“A convener or any person intending to hold a meeting shall notify the officer in a commanding station three days to but not 14 days before the procession,” Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua said while announcing the new measures.