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Togo: Authorities even bans the #TogoDebout from having a Concert on the beach (Letter dated: 03.10.2017)

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Opinion: It’s time to recognize the Togolese struggle to end their dictatorship!

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.

Reference:

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

Opinion: Burundian government support of Mayi-Mayi in Kivu Provnices; is it a ploy to keep Kabila in Power?

The instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been used by the other states in the Great Lakes Region. This has been done in the past by both Rwandan and Ugandan forces, even South Sudanese rebels has been on DRC territory at some point. Therefore, its a massive change that the Burundian support of rebels. Seems like it been used as propaganda tool by the Bujumbura government. That President Pierre Nkurunziza is using his CNDD-FDD youth militia the Imbonerakure, to create havoc at the neighbor country in collaboration with the Mai-Mai Yakutumba.

There is even an agreement flooding online between Mayi-Mayi Jejero Pelican and representative of the Burundian government Eltienne Ntakuratimana, who wrote an agreement on the 8th February 2017, where the Burundian counterparts would supply guns, ammunition and radios to the Mayi-Mayi group in response of taking out the Rwandan counterparts in the region.

So first after giving a short insight to who the Mayi-Mayi militia is, I will give one report on the Burundian enterprise in the Democratic Republic of Congo, before showing my thoughts on the manner. Where the different rumors are combined with critical thinking on the actors in the conflict of the Kivu’s. Who earns and what purpose. Take a look!

A tale of who the Mayi-Mayi or Mai-Mai is explained nicely here:

This inter-community power conflict is shaped by and shapes antagonistic identities, which are firmly rooted in specific worldviews. In the case of the Mai Mai Yakutumba, this worldview is constructed around the idea of “autochthony”, or the concept of being a “Son of the Soil”, the “original” inhabitant of a certain zone. In this perspective, which is shared by almost all Mai-Mai groups in the DRC, the self-styled autochthonous groups are threatened by the Rwandophone communities (Hutu and Tutsi), who are seen as “foreigners” trying to take over their land and power. Betweeen 1996 and 2003, “autochthonous” and Tutsi (often Banyamulenge)-led groups clashed on numerous occasions in southern South Kivu, and there were several ethnically targeted massacres on both sides. The resulting mutual distrust and dislike continue to feed Mai Mai movements like the Yakutumba group, which serves to many Babembe as a psychological safeguard to avoid that the Banyamulenge will extend their power in Fizi and will come to dominate the Babembe” (…) “It is in part this function as a safeguard that makes Yakutumba fairly popular among the Babembe, although many do not approve of armed struggle and are tired of the war. What also contributes to Yakutumba’s popularity is that he is perceived to symbolize and embody what are seen as typical Bembe characteristics and values, such as resistance against domination and repression, not only from other ethnic groups, but also from the central government. This self-imagery is in part the product of a tradition of Bembe resistance dating back to the colonial era, the Mulele rebellion in the 1960s and the Fizi-based rebellion of Laurent-Désiré Kabila under the Mobutu regime. The Mai Mai Yakutumba place themselves explicitly in this tradition, which implies a strong animosity towards Kinshasa. They consider the regime of Kabila jr. to be complicit with the Rwandophones and their plan to ‘balkanize’ the DRC, backed by resource-hungry imperialist powers” (Verweijen, 2011).

This shows the plans and added support of the group from Burundi would serve their purpose, as well as give them strength to create havoc in the Kivu’s. Since they want power and be different than the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC), also different from FDLR and ADF. Who all have been militias contributing to violence and weakening the control of these eastern states of the Republic. As well, being proof of the lacking control that the Central Government from Kinshasa has in the region. With all the eyes that we’re on M23 who has had armed insurgency and also tried to gain control of the area. It’s wouldn’t be the first try someone who has supported a group like Mayi-Mayi/Mai-Mai has done it in the Kivu’s, to show Kabila and his government, that they want to be a force to be recon with.

Very few smart commentators aside. However, Gibert-Bécaud Njangwa, president of the association ONELOPE-Burundi (mobility) finds that the capture of Uvira by Yakutumba would destabilize peace and security in Bujumbura. He is not talking about a threat from some Burundian rebel group. But he suspects that behind Yakutumba is the invisible hand of the West: “It is very likely that Burundi is attacked by mercenaries from Congo Kinshasa so that the West can destabilize peace and security in the subregion. The Government of Burundi must be vigilant, if not the plan of destabilization is well conceived, planned, it can be executed from one moment to another” (…) “Another reading by the former communication commissioner of the Burundian opposition platform CNARED: “Uncontradicted evidence shows that Mai-Mai Yakutumba are working with Burundian intelligence, Imbonerakure militia in DRC, Interahamwe militiamen who are also allies of the Burundian regime. We have evidence that Mai-Mai Yakutumba are supplied with weapons from Bujumbura, we also know that elements of the regime are fighting alongside them. “(Ngendakumana, 2017).

If all of this isn’t bad enough, there are speculations that National pour le Renouveau et la Democratie (CNRD-Ubwiyunge) and Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), who is Rwandan counterparts in the same region. CNRD-Ubwiyunge have been an armed militia who has tried to gain control. While the FDLR has been more trying to recoup strength to go back and take their motherland back again from the Rwandan Patriotic Front(RPF). Therefore, the troubles of the region, also transpires in the Kivu States. So, the problems and the power-struggle of Burundi is now reaching the mineral rich Kivu’s and Uvira.

There reports that both CNRD and FDLR has been fighting together with Mayi-Mayi this month and in the battles for Uvira this week. If that is likely or true, than it wouldn’t fit the pattern and the history of the Mayi-Mayi, but they are accepting foreign support from Burundi, so if they would use help of Rwandan supported groups. It would be more powerful and even stronger, in the region where the FARDC and MONUSCO is lacking manpower and resources. If they had enough and if they could, they would have been able to banish these groups long time ago, but the Kabila government is keeping them. Just like he is accepting insurgency from Kisoro, Uganda into Southern Kivu, since its from the friends that brought him into power.

There is even further conspiracy that Pierre Nkurunziza is working together with Joseph Kabila to make instability and insurgency, so that there is no need for another election and end of his term. Secondly, the support and the instability is made to make sure the FARDC could get support from French Government, which they can use to invade and control the Rwandan Government. That is only plausible, if the French wants to challenge Paul Kagame, since he has distanced himself from Paris during recent years. Thirdly, the Burundian government would use their relationship with Kabila and Paris to gain proper capital to their struggling economy. So the trade of arms to militias in Kivu Provinces, would enrich the weak Bujumbura government.

Sidebar: We can just wonder if even Emmanuel Macron would care about these places, since he is more into make-up, then international politics, just remember his ignorance towards the African continent earlier this year. Therefore, parts of me doubt it, but French involvement in regime change on the continent isn’t new, but would a risky project for the newly elected French President to pull-off. Even more seasoned leaders has struggled with doing so.

Sidebar II: It is more reasonable to use this insurgency to enforce the need for Kabila, just as the running battles in Kasai-Orientale, which has killed dozens and made massive amounts of mass-graves. So that his leadership could again regain peace, but this is different. Just like the sudden movement of M23 from camps in Kisoro in 2016 and early 2017, that just fitted the paradigm of using militias as pawns. The innocent lives in the Kivu Provinces to let Kabila government rule a little longer. The same could be possible yet again. This time instead of having either Rwandan or Ugandan supported militias, it would be the cash-strapped Burundian government, who would need the financial support and the trade with the groups. Clearly, it makes it more plausible, as the net of well-wishers are dwindling for Bujumbura as well.

We just have to wait and see, what is fact and what is fiction. What we do know is that that Bukavu and Uvira has seen violence and insurgency this last few days. That the DRC/RDC has seen militias growing in strength and if foreign states are interfering in the Kivu’s. Peace.

Reference:

Ngendakumana, Phillipe – ‘Et si les Maï-Maï Yakutumba prenaient Uvira, la ville de Bujumbura serait-elle menacée?’ (30.09.2017) link: http://www.ikiriho.org/2017/09/30/burundi-rdc-mai-mai-yakutumba-prenaient-uvira-la-ville-de-bujumbura-serait-elle-menacee-monusco/

Verweijen, Judith – ‘Guest Blog: Profile of Mai-Mai Yakutumba’ (01.08.2011) link: http://congosiasa.blogspot.no/2011/08/guest-blog-profile-of-mai-mai-yakutumba.html

MONUSCO is gravely concerned by the use of lethal weapons by Congolese defense and security forces in a crowd control operation in Bukavu (26.09.2017)

Congolese defense and security forces reportedly fired warning shots to disperse demonstrators protesting against rampant insecurity and repeated cases of armed robbery in the locality.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, September 26, 2017 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of MONUSCO, Maman Sidikou, is gravely concerned by the use of lethal force by Congolese defense and security forces in response to public protests in Bukavu, South Kivu province, leading to civilian casualties including children.

This morning, in the Panzi neighborhood of Bukavu, Congolese defense and security forces reportedly fired warning shots to disperse demonstrators protesting against rampant insecurity and repeated cases of armed robbery in the locality. An 8-year girl, on her way to school, was reportedly hit by a stray bullet and subsequently died. According to credible reports received by MONUSCO, there are additional casualties and the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office is investigating to collect more detailed information.

“Defense and security forces have an obligation to use force only as the last resort, in compliance with the principles of necessity, proportionality and legality, pursuant to the international standards. Alleged violence perpetrated by protestors should never be an excuse for the use of lethal force”, said Maman Sidikou, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of MONUSCO.

“Furthermore, I urge Congolese authorities to ensure that law enforcement personnel is adequately equipped and trained to engage in crowd-control operations, and call on the authorities to urgently carry out prompt, credible and independent investigations into this incident, as a mean to prevent loss of civilian lives during future protests”, Sidikou concluded.

Declaration Commune des Mouvements Citoyens Africains sur la Situation Sociopolitique au Togo (13.09.2017)

Togo: CAP2015 – Groupe des 6 – PNP – Sante du Peuple – CAR – ‘Communique’ (08.09.2017)

#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

RDC: CENI – Communique de Presse (24.08.2017)

RDC: CASC – “A l’intention de l’opinion nationale et internationale” (24.08.2017)

RDC: Manifeste du Citoyen Congolais (18.08.2017)

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