“Since millions have been protesting in #Togo the past 6 weeks, the president did not make a single speech to address the people” (Farida Nabourema, 05.10.2017).
Just as the Senegalese and ECOWAS troops entered into The Republic of Gambia earlier this year to bring down Yayha Jammeh. It is the same to happen in Togo, where the Faure Gnassingbe have been ruling for long, he has been running the Republic since 5th February 2005 and plans to rule longer after abolishing term limits. His father Eyadema Gnassingbe ruled for 37 years from 1967 to 2005. That is 50 years of dictatorship. Not just a hot minute, but a family ruling the republic as they self like.
It is understandable that the Togolese are addressing it, taking 16 hours rallies and demonstrations. Lasting all night, burning tires and showing the views on the hostile takeover of the Gnassingbe family. The family is now acting like they own Togo. What is important to know is the allies of the family, which is these: “A day after his father’s death, parliament received clear instructions to dismiss Natchaba and elect Gnassingbé in his place, which would legalize his succession; French law professor Charles Debbasch served as mastermind of the entire operation. Gnassingbé’s election was unanimously approved by the deputies who were present in parliament at the time, a parliament that was elected in an election boycotted by the opposition. The members of Gnassingbe’s party did not want to challenge the army’s choice. The parliament also eliminated a constitutional requirement that elections be held within 60 days of the president’s death, enabling the younger Gnassingbé to rule until the expiration of his father’s term in 2008. Under pressure from others in the region, and particularly Nigeria, later in February 2005 Gnassingbé announced that new elections would be held within 60 days, but said that he would remain in office in the meantime. However, on February 21, the Togolese National Assembly reversed some of the constitutional changes that it had made so as to allow Gnassingbé to assume power, although it did not instruct him to resign. This was construed as a way of pressuring him to stand down with dignity. To change the constitution during a period of transition was itself an unconstitutional act, but this did not deter Faure’s allies” (African Sucess, 2010).
“On this view of the recent developments in Togo, it seems possible to argue that the succession issue, being within the internal affairs of the country, the insistence on the strict compliance with constitutional provisions – with particular regard to the impeachment of Fambare Quattara Natchaba and his replacement with Faure Gnassingbe – constituted an unjustified interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign State and, therefore, a violation of international law. However, it might be asked whether the doctrine of state necessity can also be used to support the amendment of the Constitution to remove the 60 days prescribed for an acting President to conduct a presidential election and to enable Faure Gnassingbe to serve his father’s (President Eyadema’s) remaining term that was to end in three years time (2005–2008). Conceptually, the doctrine of state necessity, as indicated above, only supports situations of extreme emergency (as is the case with dealing with the need to avoid a vacuum in political leadership of the country at the highest level); it does not go beyond this (Ebeku,P:20, 2005)
So it’s the Togoese Army that have given power to the son of Eyadema, who has not left power ever since. That the extreme emergency and state necessity was the reason for his rise to power in his fathers stead. Clearly, like father like son. Father was 37 years and the son 13 years. The Gnassingbe power structure has been by force and intimidation, therefore the violence and killings during recent protest is just a manifestation of the dictatorship Togo is!
TogoEnMarche and TogoDebout proves the strength of the opposition and the will of the people. Six weeks of big demonstrations. Stopping business and showing huge part of the population participate in these demonstration. The public will to stop the dictatorship is there. African Civic Society and other Groups of Activist has thrown their support behind the banners and the opposition in their will for change. The Multi-National Organizations should do to like ECOWAS, African Union and others. Since they could sway the leadership, but their silence is acknowledging the leadership of Gnassingbe and that they will not see a new dawn.
This is sad, but expected, the African Union is like a dictatorship-club, where the oppressors teach each other techniques and rhetoric to sell to their populations. So they can oppress more when they come home to their republics and kingdoms. Where they can use the tricks of Addis Ababa or Khartoum, even Alger if they feel like it.
The continued demonstrations should be a warning, that the Togolese people don’t accept the Gnassingbe family rule. They are ready for someone who cares and who doesn’t use them. Don’t violate the human rights, detain and intimidate the opposition. It was all done in the state necessity and used the pressure for the succession, also former Nigerian Presidents push for a legitimate president. But it was the National Assembly who made the changes to allow the succession. Just like it was the National Assembly that have made it possible for Gnassingbe to get more terms in power. Even if that means 50 year rule of the family.
The reason why the Togolese has had the stamina of 6 weeks of steady demonstrations. This haven’t been a fluke, this is the opposition and citizens, also the civil society at its finest. The civil disobedience, the peaceful demonstrations proving their power. The President is nobody if he doesn’t have the people, the citizens and the territory, but only with the dominion he cannot rule alone. Therefore, the continues demonstrations at this magnitude are showing how weak the government is. There are even reports that the demonstrators are so many, that they can overpower the security forces. Who they even have served water too, while they are demonstrating. Clearly, the power of Gnassingbe are dwindling.
It is time for change, the Togolese people deserve our support and not only sympathy for their cause. For their will for freedom and liberty, out of the shackles of oppression. There is hope and their ability to must strength against the President. Shows their stamina and their acts of civil disobedience are Nobel, they are for the common good. Their peaceful acts against oppression. Shows the grace and clarity of anyone who wants a bloodless and peaceful transition. Even when the Police and Soldiers has killed demonstrators. The demonstrators still has just destroyed smaller infrastructure and things, but hasn’t been violent.
That is the proof of their good and their strength. The world and ones fighting for liberty and justice. Has to see their cause and support it. The Togolese deserve credit and support. Even if someone do what the ECOWAS did with Jammeh. That could be necessary in Togo, also get Kofi Annan or Thabo Mbeki to talk some sense into Gnassingbe, but that if they muster courage to do so.
The Togolese deserves better and they should continue, knowingly that their cause to freedom is still on course. If the world want help, than they have to take in into their own hands. They are plenty and the police cannot arrest them all, neither can every soldier kill them all. The citizens knows this and therefore are the government more careful now. Peace.
African Success – ‘Biography of Faure GNASSINGBé’ (03.07.2010) link: http://www.africansuccess.org/visuFiche.php?lang=en&id=266
Ebeku, Kaniye S.A. – ‘THE SUCCESSION OF FAURE GNASSINGBE TO THE TOGOLESE PRESIDENCY – An International Law Perspective’ (2005) link: http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:240415/FULLTEXT02.pdf