THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN TOGO


Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé
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    Written by: Meshack Masibo
    Togo has been ruled by a father-son duo for 50 years. Gnassingbé Eyadema (b. 1935) seized power in a military coup in 1967. He remained president until his death in 2005, after which the army proclaimed his son successor. Faure Gnassingbé has been head of state ever since. In  the past month, Togolese have demonstrated against Faure’s rule, which has a poor record in development and human rights. They are demanding constitutional reform, limits on presidential terms, and voting rights for nationals who live outside the country.

    The government has responded by periodically blocking the internet to slow down communication between opposition groups. Though the protests have been largely peaceful, official sources have reported nine civilian deaths. The opposition alleges that the gendarmerie (military forces with policing powers) have taken to beating and torturing protesters.

    But where did it all begin from?

    Togo gained independence from France in 1960 with Sylvanus Olympio as its first president. Olympio resisted Togo’s integration into Francafrique, the political framework that bonded former French colonies to France. He wanted out of the French West African franc but agreed to pay an annual debt tax to France

    Olympio came from the Ewe-speaking region in Togo’s south. Investment and developments became concentrated in the south. This was mainly because the south was part of the urbanised West Africa corridor. People from the Kabye-dominated north felt excluded from government. The seeds of a long-lasting north-south political divide were planted.Olympio was assassinated in 1963 in a military coup engineered by former French foreign legion veterans Emmanuel Bodjollé and Gnassingbé Eyadema. They replaced him with……Subscribe to Readmore………

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