TOGO MUST NOT SLIDE INTO ANARCHY!

The tension in neighbouring Togo, which began about a fortnight ago with demonstrations over the 50-year ruling dynasty of the Gnassingbe family, keeps escalating each passing day and must be a concern to neighbouring countries like Ghana.

Thousands of people have been protesting in the streets of Togo’s capital, Lome, demanding an immediate resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe.

Their voices get fiercer by the day, despite attempts by the police to quell the protests. There have been clashes and lives have been lost. And considering the closeness of Togo to Ghana, everyone one wishes that the crisis comes to an end.

All that the protesters want is for President Gnassingbé, who took over the reins of power from his late father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, in 2005, to step down immediately.

But to appease them, the Gnassingbe government is reported to have tabled a draft bill to reform the constitution and re-introduce a two-term limit that was changed earlier to enable him cling to power so long as he wins elections.

The political turmoil in Togo, has once again put the sub-region under the spotlight for the wrong reason, derailing the continents attempts to develop after years of civil wars in many countries.

As a matter of fact, Togo is the only democracy where the President has no term limit in West African.

Former President Gnassingbe Eyadema seized power in a coup in 1967 and ruled for 38 years before his death. He introduced a 1992 constitution that brought in a multi-party democracy and limited presidential terms to two, in response to protests.

However, 10 years later, lawmakers scrapped the term limit so Eyadema could run for another term.

When he died in 2005, the military installed his son, Faure instead of the national assembly head as was legally required, triggering protests which led to the death of at least 500 people.

The Ghanaian Times foresees that if a consensus is not reached on the matter and peace restored to our neighbouring country, the 2005 incident could repeat itself with dreadful consequences.

The United Nations’ Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas has added his voice to calls for the Togolese government to respond to the people’s “legitimate expectations”.

We think it is a legitimate call and must be heeded by authorities in Togo to prevent lives from being lost and property destroyed.

If this is not done, the country would take several steps back in its development efforts with dire consequences for the ordinary people.

We condemn all acts of lawlessness and urge the people of Togo to use lawful means to register their displeasure. In this democratic dispensation, it is only through legitimate means that one government can be replaced by another.

We wish the Republic of Togo well as they go through these difficult times and hope that the government would address the concerns of the people.

 

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