The spiraling wave of electoral and political violence in Liberia, ahead of the December 8, 2020 midterm senatorial and referendum elections, has finally claimed the attention of the Government of the United States of America, as the US Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, has issued a stern warning against anyone involved in election-related violence.
According to an official statement issued October 8, 2020 by Secretary Pompeo, 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, Mr. Pompeo noted.
“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,” Secretary Pompeo warned.
The United States, Secretary Pompeo said, is committed to supporting free, fair, inclusive elections; stressing that 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,” Pompeo further cautioned.
The US Government warning to African states that are expected to hold democratic elections soon comes in the wake of the rising wave of election-related violence currently rocking Liberia. The recent acts of violence, allegedly perpetrated by supporters of politicians from the ruling party against opposition aspirants and their supporters in Grand Gedeh, Grand Cape Mount and Montserrado Counties, have elicited calls from the public for the international community to step in and calm the situation.
The US Government has of late taken keen interest in Liberia’s political governance. The current furor over the alleged sale of diplomatic passport to non-Liberians and unsavory characters for cash benefits was fueled by an official designation from Secretary Pompeo recently when he banned former passport director Andrew Wonplo and his immediate family from traveling to the United States after the courts had acquitted him of illegally selling Liberian passports to non-Liberians and defrauding the government.
“The US Government made tremendous sacrifices to bring peace to Liberia. I believe this warning from Mr. Pompeo shows that America has not lost hope in the Liberian people. This is the best news I have heard in recent times,” a very elated concerned Liberian remarked upon learning of the move.