International observers on Thursday raised concerns about violence in Togo before elections later this month, which the government has said will go ahead despite the unrest and an opposition boycott. The tiny west African country has seen a wave of opposition protests since last year calling for a limit to the number of presidential terms and a two-round voting system. Protestors have also called for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005 after taking over from his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema. On Thursday, the UN, European Union and the embassies of the United States, France and Germany said they were following the situation in Togo “with concern”. In a joint statement they said they “regret the deaths and violence” and “await the results of the investigations announced by the government” following the last protests.
At least two people were killed in Togo when police clashed with demonstrators during a banned nationwide protest, in an explosion of tension before disputed parliamentary elections later this month. Four policemen were also hurt, and authorities arrested 28 people in the capital, Lome, and Bafilo, 250 kilometers (150 miles) north of the city, the government said in a statement that was read out on state-owned Television Togolaise Saturday. It confirmed the two deaths. Opposition spokeswoman Brigitte Kafui Adjamagbo said one of the people killed was nine years old. Several more people were wounded when police opened fire with live ammunition, she said.
Opposition parties have held a series of protests across the country calling for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe. Togo’s government has banned a series of planned opposition protests on security grounds, saying the marches posed a security risk. A coalition of 14 opposition parties announced earlier this week that they would boycott a parliamentary election planned for December 20 and instead try to stop the electoral process. But the government said on Wednesday in a letter seen by AFP that they would not be allowed to take to the streets.
Togo’s opposition coalition has called for workers across the country to stay at home on Tuesday as campaigning starts for parliamentary elections later this month. The West African nation’s main opposition has vowed to boycott elections over alleged fraud and is demanding President Faure Gnassingbe resign after more than a decade in power. “We don’t want fraudulent elections in this country,” coalition coordinator Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson said in a video published on social media on Sunday evening.
Togo’s main opposition plans to hold nationwide protests on Thursday to demand the government halts preparations for Dec. 20 local elections in which only some small parties and independent candidates will participate. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to demand an end to the rule of President Faure Gnassingbe last year, prompting talks led by Ghana and Guinea. While the negotiations resulted in a date for the local vote, the opposition says that the government hasn’t fulfilled promises it made to mediators of the Economic Community of West African States, known as Ecowas.
The main opposition coalition in Togo said on Monday it will boycott December 20 general elections and call for further protests over what it alleged was a “fraudulent” poll. “We’re not going to give our blessing to this masquerade being prepared,” a co-ordinator in the coalition, Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson, told local radio. Togo’s Constitutional Court has validated ballots for 12 parties – but not any for the 14-party opposition coalition that has staged protests in the former French colony over the past year. Ballots for 17 independent candidates have also been approved.
Togo will hold legislative and local elections in December as well as a referendum on constitutional reform. “We will hold the local elections and the referendum on December 16, and on December 20 we will organise legislative elections,” national election commission chief Kodjona Kadanga said on Tuesday. “We are technically prepared. I can assure you that we have sufficient balloting material as well as people. There are no problems on our side.” Kadanga did not specify what reforms were envisaged. Togo’s latest political crisis started in August 2017, when large numbers of people rallied against the administration of President Faure Gnassingbe. Mass anti-government rallies have repeatedly been held across the country since, with protesters demanding an end to the 50-year rule by the Gnassingbe family and constitutional reform, including a two-term limit for presidents.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Togo’s capital Lome on Saturday, against President Faure Gnassingbe and his government. The protest came the day after mediators from Ghana and Guinea said that Togo will enter talks on controversial constitutional reform February 15, in a move aimed at ending a crippling political stalemate. A rolling series of demonstrations against President Gnassingbe have been unfolding for several months, and the country has been rocked by striking teachers and health workers.
Internet connection has been intermittent in Togo hours ahead of another planned protest for the reinstatement of the 1992 constitution that stipulates a two-term presidential limit. The internet slowdown started last night after the boycott of a constitutional reform vote by the opposition in parliament who described it as a sham, and called for another round of demonstrations on Wednesday and Thursday. Bandwidth has been reduced and WhatsApp has been totally blocked in the country creating difficulties in accessing the internet, Togolese journalist Emmanuel Agbenonwossi told Africanews.
Togo’s opposition stayed away from parliament on Tuesday, blocking the passage of the government’s bill for political reform and forcing a referendum. The bill was published last week on the eve of protests calling for a revision of the constitution that developed into demands for President Faure Gnassingbe to step down. A four-fifths majority was needed for it to be approved but the opposition no-show meant it only secured 62 out of 91 votes, with one abstention. Eric Dupuy, spokesman for the main opposition National Alliance for Change (ANC) party, called the National Assembly session a “sham”.
Togo’s ruling presidential party on Monday urged supporters to take to the streets to coincide with planned opposition demonstrations against the slow pace of political reform. Georges Kwawu Aidam, the first vice-president of the Union for the Republic (UNIR) told AFP there would be marches on Wednesday and Thursday in support of a controversial constitutional reform bill which the opposition see as not going far enough. A parliamentary panel last Friday approved the bill to revamp the constitution and introduce a presidential term limit after days of protests against the regime of Faure Gnassingbe, the scion of one of Africa’s oldest political dynasties. But the panel rejected wholesale 48 amendments proposed by opposition parties.
Togo’s parliament suspended its session Tuesday as opposition members protested the lack of a promised discussion of constitutional reforms, while anger grew over the 50-year-rule of the Gnassingbe family. Opposition lawmakers want a discussion on reinstating the country’s 1992 constitution, which included presidential term limits and two rounds of voting to allow the opposition to reassemble behind one candidate. Thousands of people across the small West African nation have been demonstrating for term limits on President Faure Gnassingbe, who has been in power since his father died in 2005. The protests began last month, when security forces killed at least two people and injured several others.
Togo opposition leaders on Sunday said they were not hopeful of political change, as parliament prepared to discuss potential constitutional reform after days of huge anti-government protests. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets this week calling for presidential term limits and denouncing President Faure Gnassingbe and his family’s half-century in power. Gnassingbe took over as leader in 2005 after the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who had come to power in 1967 after a military coup.
A huge rally for constitutional reform has taken place in Togo, a country presided over by one family for the past half-century. Opponents of the government want President Faure Gnassingbe to “leave by the front door.” Tens of thousands of protesters wearing the colors of Togo’s opposition parties – red, orange and pink – marched through the Togolese capital, Lome, on Wednesday. Some carried aloft placards bearing slogans including “Free Togo” and denouncing the Gnassingbe regime after 50 years in power. Opposition party leader Jean-Pierre Fabre said the demo had been “unprecedented” and estimated that “more than one million people” were on the streets of the capital, Lome.
Togo’s constitutional court declared Faure Gnassingbe president for a third five-year term after tallying final votes on Sunday. Aboudou Assouma, head of the Constitutional Court, said on state television that the final results show that Gnassingbe received a majority of the votes with about 59 percent. His main opposition challenger Jean-Pierre Fabre received about 35 percent of the votes.
Togo’s main opposition challenger on Wednesday rejected the results of the country’s presidential election after incumbent Faure Gnassingbe was declared the winner, reviving fears of a post-election violence. Jean-Pierre Fabre said results announced by the election commission late on Tuesday were fraudulent and did not match those from polling stations compiled by his party. “The results from local electoral commissions where there were no major issues showed that we won by a large margin,” Fabre told journalists.
Togo’s main opposition candidate complained on Monday of widespread irregularities in Saturday’s presidential election and called for the announcement of results to be halted. Results issued earlier on Monday from six of 42 voting districts put President Faure Gnassingbe ahead with 64 percent of the vote and his nearest rival, Jean-Pierre Fabre, on 33 percent. The remaining votes were shared between the three other candidates. Gnassingbe is widely favoured to win a third term, extending his family’s long hold on leadership. He has held power Togo since 2005, when his father died after 38 years in charge. No more results had been issued by early evening.
Togo’s opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre on Wednesday claimed he had won a weekend presidential vote, despite the electoral commission pronouncing victory for incumbent Faure Gnassingbe. Fabre denounced the results as “fraudulent” and a “crime against national sovereignty” after the electoral commission said he won 34.95 percent of the vote against Gnassingbe’s 58.75 percent. His party, the Combat for Political Change (CAP 2015), said it “categorically” rejected the results, asserting that they bore “no resemblance to those compiled from reports collected in polling stations by its representatives”. Fabre was asked whether he considered himself the new president of Togo and he replied: “Of course!” The opposition leader went into Saturday’s election looking to prevent Gnassingbe from securing a third term of office and end his family’s nearly 50-year grip on power of the tiny west African nation.
Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe has won a third term with 58.75 percent of the vote in Saturday’s polls, the electoral commission said, with his main rival Jean-Pierre Fabre taking 34.95 percent. “The national electoral commission states that Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe has been elected based on provisional results which are subject to confirmation by the Constitutional Court,” the commission’s head Taffa Tabiou said late Tuesday. Outside the headquarters of the ruling party, about 50 of his supporters danced to campaign songs late at night shortly after the results were announced.
Togo’s election officials on Sunday added up results from a presidential vote that had the lowest turnout of any election conducted in the past decade. President Faure Gnassingbe is seeking a third term against four opposition challengers. Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005 when he succeeded his father, who died after 38 years in office. The family has ruled this West African nation for nearly 50 years. The turnout on Saturday was between 53 and 55 percent of the 3.5 million people registered to vote, Taffa Tabiou, head of the election commission, said Sunday. That turnout is lower than presidential contests in 2005 and 2010 and legislative elections in 2007 and 2013.
Thursday is the last day of campaigning in Togo before Saturday’s presidential poll. President Faure Gnassingbe faces four challengers in his bid for a third term. The Gnassingbe family has ruled Togo for nearly 50 years since Gnassingbe Eyadema took power in a military coup in 1967. His son, Faure Gnassingbe, stepped into the office in 2005 when his father died. Some people in the West African nation say it is time to move on.
Prior to earlier concerns of a bloated electoral register, Major Stakeholders in Togo’s elections say they are satisfied with the cleaning process and are ready to go to the Polls on Saturday April 25. They expressed the satisfaction when ECOWAS Chair President John Mahama, met with them in a follow up visit to ascertain their level of preparedness.
All of Togo’s presidential candidates have agreed on an updated but still “imperfect” voter roll, removing an obstacle that had forced a delay in the election that will now take place on April 25, election officials said on Wednesday. “The current state of the election list is good enough for the 2015 vote,” said Siaka Sangare, a Malian former general working for the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF). The French-speaking nations group has worked with election organizers to address opposition complaints that election lists included numerous duplicates, potentially favoring President Faure Gnassingbe.
Togo’s presidential election will be held in mid-April, a minister said Tuesday, clarifying a constitutional court ruling on the date of the vote. The cabinet is expected to set the date based on proposals from the national election commission, the minister for territorial administration, Gilbert Balawa, told AFP. A statement from Togo’s constitutional court on Monday was interpreted to mean that voting had to take place no later than March 5, a timeline that opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre said was “materially impossible to respect”. But on Tuesday, the court issued a second statement to clarify that in fact only the date of the election had to be set by March 5.
Togo’s main opposition on Monday rejected provisional electoral results showing the ruling party winning two-thirds of parliamentary seats, allowing the president’s family to maintain its decades-long grip on power. The main opposition coalition, Let’s Save Togo, had alleged irregularities even before full results in Togo’s parliamentary elections were announced by the electoral commission on Sunday night. Agbeyome Kodjo, a key figure in Let’s Save Togo, on Monday called the vote and results a “sham”. “It’s an electoral sham amid massive corruption and proven electoral fraud,” Kodjo, a former prime minister whose OBUTS party joined with Let’s Save Togo for the elections, told AFP. The West African nation’s constitutional court must still approve the results from Thursday’s election before they become final.
Togo’s ruling party has taken the lead in the country’s parliamentary elections, partial results showed Friday, while an opposition coalition was ahead in the capital Lome. Thursday’s long-delayed polls came after months of protests in the West African nation, with the opposition seeking to weaken the ruling family’s decades-long grip on power. President Faure Gnassingbe’s UNIR party was ahead in provisional results from the electoral commission seen by AFP, while the Let’s Save Togo coalition was the strongest opposition contender. Gnassingbe’s party was dominating the north of the country, its traditional stronghold, while Let’s Save Togo did particularly well in the capital.
The small West African nation of Togo held legislative elections on Thursday, nine months after they were originally scheduled. Although the vote was calm, opposition leaders expressed concern about a number of procedural problems. Togo has been ruled by the same family for more than four decades. Eyadema Gnassingbe came to power in 1967, and his son, Faure Gnassingbe, followed suit when Eyadema died in 2005, winning a flawed and violent election that year and a more credible re-election in 2010. When the last legislative elections were held in 2007, the ruling party claimed 60 percent of the seats. But there have been signs in recent years that frustration with the party is mounting, with notably large scale protests against government policies and alleged abuses by the security forces.
The small West African nation of Togo is holding legislative elections on Thursday amid signs voters are increasingly fed up with the ruling party. Analysts say in order to win, though, the opposition will have to overcome its own divisions, as well as an electoral system vulnerable to fraud. Negotiations over how the election would be run continued until just a few weeks ago, and major opposition parties refused to confirm until recently that they would participate. On Tuesday, the final day of campaigning, however, all the major parties staged rallies in Togo’s capital, Lome, expressing confidence about their chances.
Voters in Togo will cast ballots in a parliamentary election tomorrow that’s been delayed for eight months amid concerns by opposition parties that the poll won’t be transparent and fair. President Faure Gnassingbe’s ruling Rally of the Togolese People will seek to protect its majority against the main opposition Union of Forces for Change, which threatened protests if it believes the results are rigged. The group challenged the outcome of a presidential vote in 2010 and say the West African nation’s electoral commission is dominated by supporters of Gnassingbe. The RPT denies the claim, saying the ballot will be transparent and fair. “Things can degenerate when the results are announced if anyone tries to falsify the results that come from the ballots,” Kuam Kouakouvi, a politics professor at Lome University in the capital, said in an interview on July 23. “Considering the enormous needs of the population, this would be hugely damaging.”
Pierre Warga is among the majority of Togo’s 6 million citizens who have spent their entire lives ruled by the Gnassingbe family. Eyadema Gnassingbe was in power for 38 years before dying of a heart attack in 2005. His son Faure Gnassingbe was then installed by the military before winning a highly flawed and violent election later that year, and a re-election in 2010. The small West African country goes to the polls Thursday for legislative elections that will test whether recent signs of discontent might legitimately threaten Gnassingbe’s hold on power. Some experts say there may be, for the first time, vulnerabilities in a country that has seen an increasingly daring public outcry against entrenched poverty, high youth unemployment and controversial crackdowns by the security forces.