The United States Embassy in Accra is warning American citizens in Ghana or those intending to travel to the country to avoid large crowds and political rallies or demonstrations during this election period.
The embassy's website since October 8, has carried the warning under the heading "Warden Message - Ghana Elections" and warns “U.S. citizens should be aware of the possibility of demonstrations and other civil disturbances surrounding election activities during this campaign period, especially in urban areas.”
The publication acknowledges that “These disturbances will not likely target U.S. citizens, but it is possible for U.S. citizens to become accidentally involved,” and advises that they monitor local media to be abreast of events.
“U.S. citizens residing in or planning travel to Ghana should regularly check the Department's Country Specific Information for Ghana at http://travel.state.gov and the U.S. Embassy Accra website at http://ghana.usembassy.gov for the latest safety and security information. Please also refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” found at http://travel.state.gov for additional safety and security information.”
Many, including Ghana's Electoral Commission, political parties and presidential candidates in the December polls have repeatedly assured of peaceful elections, however, many others have questioned the commitment and preparedness of the country to conduct a peaceful ballot.
The December polls have been rated by pundits as a 'do-and-die' affair for the major political parties, especially between the governing New Patriotic Party and main opposition, National Democratic Congress, whose supporters have already clashed in violent confrontations around the country.
On Friday, the presidential candidates and their running mates attended a symposium on peace orgainsed in Accra by the Editors' Forum, a platform of editors and seasoned journalists at which they reiterated their commitment to see Ghana through another peaceful elections, as has been of the past.
Story by Isaac Yeboah