The United Kingdom (UK) Government has expressed concern at recent incidents of political violence in Ghana in the run-up to the presidential and parliamentary elections on 7 December.
The UK becomes the second western nation to comment on political violence in the West African country. The United States had earlier issued a similar caution stating that it was ready to hold people who foment trouble responsible via the denial of and or revoking of visas.
A statement issued by the British High Commission in Accra titled, ‘A statement by the UK on peaceful elections in Ghana,’ read: ‘‘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.
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.
Just as the US had warned, the UK also stated the use of visas as a measure to ‘deal’ with violent politicians, ‘‘The UK reserves the right to take action against anyone engaging in or inciting political violence, including considering refusing or revoking visas.
They called on political stakeholders 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,’‘ their statement concluded.
Ghana heads to the polls for general – presidential and parliamentary – elections on December 7. This will be the country’s seventh polls since the return to multi party democracy in 1992.
President John Dramani Mahama is running on the ticket of the NDC as he stands for a second term. His main opponent is the opposition NPP’s Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is standing for the third time having lost in 2008 and 2012.
There are five other candidates who qualified to run for the presidency. The Convention People’s Party (CPP) candidate Ivor Kobina Greenstreet and an independent presidential candidate Jacob Osei Yeboah.
A former first lady of Ghana, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, is also on the ballot as is one of Ghana’s illustrious businessmen who has been in frontline politics for over 10 years now, Papa Kwesi Ndoum.