#TogoEnMarche: The Togolese people wants the Gnassingbe family to-go!

The Togolese people have now been demonstrating in the streets, many fold who has still walked and demonstrated as the third generation Gnassingbe President are still ruling. This after the third term of Faure Gnassingbe, who are trying to continue to rule with changing rules of law. The Togolese opposition and people are reacting to this. Saddest part of this is death done by police brutality and army responding to the demonstrations. Surely, the people are ready since they don’t want the family of Gnassingbe to rule it anymore.

Pretext:

As photos of this violence spread, it brought back some familiar memories. It reminded some of the early-1990s, when a similar democracy movement gained momentum in Togo before it was brutally cut short by the regime of General Gnassingbe Eyadema. That repressive strongman died in 2005, but his son, Faure Gnassingbe, took over and has continued his father’s style of leadership. Over the years, this has led a new generation of Togolese to grow increasingly impatient, culminating in this weekend’s mobilisation to demand reforms once more” (…) “In the aftermath of these events, Gnassingbe signed a comprehensive political agreement and vowed to enact reforms to allow free and fair elections. Yet 12 years later, and with the president well into his third term having won elections again in 2010 and 2015, the Togolese people are still waiting for this change” (Narourema, 2017).

#TogoEnMarche:

Tensions have erupted in Togo after protests against the ruling Gnassingbe family dynasty over the weekend turned deadly. Two protesters were killed, and 12 gendarmes were wounded in Sokode, 338km north of the capital, Lome, when security forces opened fire to break up demonstrations, the security ministry said on Saturday. Tikpi Atchadam, Togo’s opposition leader and president of the PNP party, put the death toll at seven on Saturday night” (…) “There has been no official statement by the government regarding Saturday’s violent protest. Nabourema said: “People are still so motivated and so ready. They showed so much courage. People were pulling out bullets from their bodies. They were daring the regime and the military.” (Harding, 2017).

But who is Tikpi Salifou Atchadam, leader of the PNP? His detractors take him for a fiery, a dreamer who relies on his community Team. He is accused of having ethnically sounding language of hate. But to all this, the main interested responds: “When you have a language that your interlocutors understand, they trust you and follow you. “” (…) “With his sophisticated language, PNP’s methodical leader answers all questions from journalists, but he takes care to record his interviews himself. Prudence or lack of confidence? He ensures re-listen to these interviews to allow him to “do better” during the following. His declared ambition for Togo is “to stop the dynastic regime that has ruled the country for almost 50 years”. And the means to achieve this, “it is the people,” adds Tikpi Salifou Atchadam”

Yaa Asantewaa’:

It was reminiscent of the exploits and bravery of Ashanti warrior in 1900, Yaa Asantewaa, a native of Ejisu, Kumasi, last Saturday in Ghana’s neighboring country, Togo, when a 37-year-old woman single-handedly arrested a soldier in a demonstration at Sokode in the central part of the country. This happened when some Togolese soldiers opened fire at demonstrators who had taken to the street to protest the dynasty of Gnassingbe family in the country” (Ghanaweb, 2017).

The opposition will continue the fight this one, as the Gnassingbe family of 50 year rule are being demonstrated against. The people want free and fair elections in Togo. They deserve so and they are tired of being taken for granted by the leadership. That the peaceful demonstration in Togo have been met with police brutality, the police have attacked the civilians and killed several innocent.

So #TogoEnMarche or Togo on the move! It needs to move and people are willing to show they are force to be recon with. As they have now for days demonstrated against the Gbassingbe rule, also that they want the republic to return to the 1992 Constitution. Certainly, the Togolese will continue, even if the violence from the state continues. They seem tired of the family and the control from one junta. Peace.

Reference:

Harding, Leah – ‘Tensions in Togo as anti-Gnassingbe rally turns deadly’ (21.08.2017) link: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/08/tensions-togo-anti-gnassingbe-rally-turns-deadly-170821130327797.html

Ghanaweb – ‘‘Yaa Asantewaa’ appears in Togo; arrests soldier’ (23.08.2017) link: https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Yaa-Asantewaa-appears-in-Togo-arrests-soldier-572486

Nabourema, Farida – ‘50 years of hurt: Togo protesters vow to continue’ (25.08.2017) link: http://africanarguments.org/2017/08/25/50-years-of-hurt-togo-protesters-vow-to-continue/

RFI – ‘Manifestations réprimées au Togo: qui est Tikpi Atchadam, le leader du PNP?’ (21.08.2017) link: http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20170821-manifestations-reprimees-togo-est-tikpi-atchadam-le-leader-pnp

Press Statement: Kofi Annan to African leaders: “Leave when your time is up” (19.04.2016)

Kofi press release

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 19, 2016 Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has urged African leaders to leave when their mandated time is up and to avoid excluding opposing voices if elections are to cease contributing to conflicts on the continent.

The renowned international diplomat said that while unconstitutional changes to government on the continent had reduced, exclusionary politics threatened to reverse the gains made.

“I think Africa has done well, by and large the coups have more or less ended, generals are remaining in their barracks, but we are creating situations which may bring them back,” the Nobel laureate said in an interview at the 5th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa (TanaForum.org).

“If a leader doesn’t want to leave office, if a leader stays on for too long, and elections are seen as being gamed to suit a leader and he stays term after term after term, the tendency may be the only way to get him out is through a coup or people taking to the streets”.

“Neither approach can be seen as an alternative to democracy, to elections or to parliamentary rule. Constitutions and the rules of the game have to be respected.”

Annan, the keynote speaker at the forum this year, said winner-take-all approaches to elections on the continent had the effect of leaving out citizens for holding an opposing view, raising tensions around elections.

Annan, who chairs the Africa Progress Panel and the Nelson Mandela-founded The Elders grouping, said he had been the first to tell the African Union not to accept coup leaders among their midst [during an OAU heads of state summit in Lusaka in 2001].

Annan also said that solutions to the problems the continent has must come from within. However, the continent must build up its ability to do so, including in financing its institutions.

“We cannot always pass a hat around and insist we want to be sovereign, we want to be independent. We should lead and get others to support us—that support will be much more forthcoming when they see how serious and committed we are.”

If a leader doesn’t want to leave office, if a leader stays on for too long, and elections are seen as being gamed to suit a leader

The African Union has struggled to get members to pay their dues to allow it run its operations and programmes efficiently, a recurrent theme addressed by leaders at the forum in the Ethiopian city of Bahir Dar.

Annan said such budgetary concerns were constraining the work of the continent in strengthening stability and required creative ways of resourcing.

“I was happy to hear them [African leaders] say ‘we must be prepared to pay for what we want; we must be prepared to put out our own money on the table and fund issues that are of great importance to us.’”

The forum, now in its fifth year, is an inspiration of the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and is organised by the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) of Addis Ababa University.

An invitation-only event, it is chaired by former Nigeria president Olusegun Obasanjo and seeks to provide a platform for current and former leaders to interact with key stakeholders in an informal setting to tackle contemporary issues facing the continent.

It does not make decisions but is becoming an African ‘brand’ of note where local solutions are innovatively explored as the region seeks to carve out its place in a global security architecture dominated by western and emerging powers.

Leaders and experts at the Tana Forum also noted that the continent was not isolated.

“As Africa faces increasing security challenges, so does the rest of the world. The continent is well placed to provide innovative solutions to these security challenges,” Obasanjo said.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Togo’s Faure Gnassingbe, Somalia’s Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and Sudan’s Omar al Bashir were among the heads of state and government present.

Former leaders Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Festus Mogae of Botswana, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Pierre Buyoya of Burundi and Joyce Banda of Malawi were also in attendance.

“I think it is a very good idea that ex-leaders come together with current leaders to share experience and try to talk very frankly about the challenges facing the continent and also about our relations with the international community,” Annan, who was attending the annual forum for the first time, said.