The United Kingdom (UK) government has through its High Commission in Ghana warned that it will not hesitate to sanction persons or individuals who engage in election-related violence ahead of the 2016 polls.
According to a statement signed by the Jon Benjamin, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, the sanctions could include the refusal or revoking of visas for anyone engaging in or inciting political violence and thus undermining Ghana’s democracy.
The concerns by the British Government follows recent incidents of political violence in Ghana between the two main political parties - National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Read the full statement below:
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.