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.
Articles about voting issues in the Togolese Republic.
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.