US government threatens visa restrictions for leaders instigating violence

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. [Photo: Mike Pompeo The Statesman]

The US government has issued a stern warning to African leaders instigating violence in their countries.

In a fiery statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo underscored that Africans have an exclusive right to assemble and express themselves which are evidence of a functional democracy.

He noted that any move by a leader to instigate violence erodes the democracy of the country which the US will not allow.

“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,” Pompeo’s statement read in part.

He added that the US is closely monitoring leaders who infringe on the rights of expression, freedom of expression and association. Pompeo said the US will take stern measures against them including denying them visas.

“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.”

The statement comes barely a week after the death of two people was reported on Sunday, October 4 in Kenol, Murang’a County.

The chaos follows a political event that was presided over by Deputy President William Ruto who has been under fire for engaging in early campaigns.

It is just before he arrived in Kenol that chaos broke out leading to the death of two people while several others were left with serious injuries.

Following the chaos, the National Security Advisory Council (NSAC) read the riot act on politicians and instituted a raft of new measures for any politician to hold a public rally or a public function.

“A convener or any person intending to hold 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 read the riot act on Wednesday.