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.
Aidam said the ruling party march would “say ‘no’ to violence” and hold counter rallies as the opposition steps up its demands, notably to apply a limit on the number of presidential terms retroactively, preventing Gnassingbe from running again in 2020.
He has been president since 2005 following the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who had ruled since 1967.
Opposition parties have long called for the introduction of two-term limits and a change to the two-round voting system.