Amid government unrest in yet another region of Africa, the US has threatened to ban US visa services for those found to be involved in sponsoring electoral violence. It’s understood that the US has said that it will ‘not hesitate to take action against anyone found guilty of undermining the Anambra governmental elections.
Elections are set to take place in Anambra State – a region in Nigeria located in the southeast of the country – on November 6. A statement issued by the White House said: “US visa restrictions may be placed on those found guilty of instigating violence during or after the election.
Meanwhile, the US said it will be ‘monitoring the elections closely, paying close attention to the actions of individuals who interfere with the democratic process. “We call on citizens, electoral officials, party members, and security force personnel to do their part in ensuring a credible and secure electoral process,” the White House statement said.
US immigration law
Under US immigration law, it’s not only those found guilty of interfering with the democratic process that face US visa restrictions, but their family members could also be denied a visa.
The threat made against Anambra State is the first of many made toward several countries this year, including a number of African nations. In April of this year, the Biden administration issued a US visa ban against Ugandan nationals following upheaval during the nation’s election process.
Elections in Uganda descended into chaos after controversial President, Yoweri Museveni, secured a sixth term in office having been in power since 1986. However, his closest challenger, Bobi Wine, disputed the result of the election and claimed that fraudulent activity had taken place.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the time, he said: “Opposition candidates were routinely harassed, arrested, and held illegally without charge. Ugandan security forces were responsible for the deaths and injuries of dozens of innocent bystanders and opposition supporters. The election process was neither free nor fair.”
“The government of Uganda must significantly improve its record and hold accountable those responsible for flawed election conduct, violence, and intimidation,” Blinken added.
Trouble in Nicaragua
In July of this year officials in Nicaragua, a country in Central America, were hit with a US visa ban after 100 government representatives were accused of involvement in a crackdown on political opponents.
The current President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, has been widely condemned by world leaders amid accusations that his regime targeted his opposition by having them arrested ahead of their elections this month.
At the time of issuing the US visa ban, the US Department of State (DoS) said: “The US visa restrictions will affect 100 members of the Nicaraguan assembly and judicial system, including prosecutors and judges, as well as some of their family members.”
“US visas already issued to designated individuals have been revoked. However, we are not at liberty to say which officials have had their visas rescinded.”
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