Nigeria’s President Warns Togo About Political Instability

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday warned about the dangers of political unrest as he met the new envoy from Togo, where there has been a wave of anti-government protests.

Map of TogoThe Daily Mail reports that Buhari did not specifically mention Togo as he received the newly appointed ambassador, Lene Dimban, at the presidential villa in the capital, Abuja.

But according to his office, the president said “peaceful transitions” in Africa were now non-negotiable, because political crises had a drastic effect on the economy and people.

The West African bloc ECOWAS was working “to prevent political transitions from snowballing into crisis so that citizens in the region can focus their energies and resources rather than trying to survive political upheavals”, he was quoted as saying.

Buhari became president in 2015 in a peaceful handover of power after becoming the first opposition candidate in Nigerian history to defeat a sitting president.

Togo President Faure-Gnassingbe
Togo President Faure-Gnassingbe

Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe has faced an almost weekly round of anti-government protests since late August last year, calling for political change and for his resignation.

A coalition of 14 opposition parties wants the introduction of a two-term limit for presidents, in line with the majority of countries in the region.

Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005 and is now in his third term of office, after taking over as president from his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who himself ruled Togo for 38 years.

The opposition wants the limit on presidential mandates to be retroactive, to prevent Gnassingbe standing for re-election in 2020 and 2025.

Mediators from Ghana and Guinea have announced that talks will take place between the two sides in Togo’s capital, Lome, on February 15.

But neither the government nor the opposition has fully confirmed its attendance.

Togo: More Protests Planned Against President Gnassingbe

More political turmoil is forecasted for the small West African nation of Togo in the coming days.

Administrative Map of Togo
Administrative Map of Togo

Reports say, a series of nationwide strikes are expected to be held in in the country beginning Tuesday Tuesday, January 30 through the following week into Thursday, February 8.

In its country security risk report issued on Monday, the world’s largest privately owned security firm Garda says, the first series will be a teachers unions strike which will launch and last for  72-hours beginning on January 30.

Next will be the Togolese health care workers who are expected to launch their strike on January 31 and February 1.

Garda says it is still unclear to what extent the healthcare workers’ strike will affect available medical services across the country. Public sector workers, the firm said, also plan to strike from Monday, February 4, through Thursday, February 8.  Large demonstrations and public gatherings are expected in the capital Lomé and in other areas during the strikes.

Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe’s government has been dogged by sometimes violent protests organized by the opposition who have called form him to go. The President has resisted calls and has instead called for dialogue with the opposition aimed at political reforms.

Women in Togo have also marched to protest the administration of President Gnassingbe. The main opposition leader Jean Pierre Fabre, who said he supports the women told the AFP that, “Faced with the refusal of the power to move forward, women have decided to enter the game.”

Togolese Anti Government Protesters
Togolese Anti Government Protesters

The opposition is demanding  the return of the original Togolese 1992 Constitution which limits the President to a two five-year term and a two-round voting system. The opposition also wants the introduction of diaspora voting, an independent investigation into killing of protesters, the release of all political detainees and an end to arrests, torture and persecution of members of the opposition.

President Gnassingbe, who was installed in 2005 with the support of the Togolese military following the death of his father General Gnassingbe Eyadema who ruled the country for 38 years, is the current chair of the sub-regional economic grouping ECOWAS.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

Ghana: PNC Chairman Accuses Govt Of Suppressing Protests In Togo

In Ghana, the People’s National Convention (PNC) chairman is accusing the government of conniving with Togolese authorities to suppress voices protesting against human right abuses in that country.

Ghana -Togo Map
Ghana -Togo Map

According to the Myjoyonline website, Mr. Bernard Mornah’s accusations come in response to his arrest alongside 17 others for embarking on a “rally” Saturday against the Togolese government to draw attention to the human rights abuses being perpetrated by authorities.

Speaking to Joy News, Mr. Mornah said the police behaved in an unprofessional manner and that their actions suggest that the Ghana government supports the abuses in Togo.

“…What is happening suggests that that the government support the undemocratic happenings in Togo, they support the abuses and killings of our brothers and sisters,” he said.

He also described the “Rambo-style” of their arrest as “uncouth, unreasonable, and that it defies any reasonable thinking that the police in recent times can behave like that”.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mornah and security analyst Irbard Ibrahim who was also among those arrested have since been released on bail.

Mr. Mornah says the arrests were uncalled for.

Ghana: Catholic Bishops Call For Repair of Road

Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo
Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo

A call has been issued to the Akufo-Addo government  in Ghana to speed up the rehabilitation of the Eastern Corridor road which is in a deplorable condition.

The Ghana Conference of Catholic Bishops Conference, in a communique released at the end of its annual meeting held in Ho, cited the poor state of the road and the health and development risk posed. “…Lives of motorists, traders and tourists are in danger…” the Bishops said and called for the government to prioritize the project.

On the political crisis in neighboring Togo, the Ghana Catholic Bishops called for an intervention to ensure that all Ghana nationals in Togo and along their common border were safe.

Map of Ghana-Togo-Benin
Map of Ghana-Togo-Benin

Citizens of Ghana were urged to treat Togolese refugees with love and warmth. Several hundred Togolese nationals fled their government crackdown following protests against President Faure Gnassingbe.

Protesters are calling for his resignation and an overhaul of the political system in Togo to end the family grip on power.

However, President Gnassingbe has shown little interest in stepping down.

West African Journal

 

 

 

 

Togolese Refugees In Ghana Returning Home

Reports from Ghana quoting the country’s  Refugee Board say that some Togolese nationals have begun returning home following the recent security crackdown against anti government protesters in Lome. 

Ghana -Togo Map
Ghana-Togo Map

Violent protests against the government of President Faure Gnassingbe forced hundreds of Togolese nationals to cross over into Ghana. A number of people were killed as a result of the protest.

According to the Program Coordinator for the Ghana Refugee Board, Tetteh Paddy, quoted by the Starfmonline website, “about half of the Togolese refugees have returned home although the political crisis in Togo is not over yet.”

Coordinator Tetteh said further that “The last check we sent a team up North to go and do verification and registration and we registered 355 [refugees] which meant that many of them have returned. At some point they were about 600.”

Help has been requested fronm the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and local organizations to care for over 300 Togolese refugees.

West African Journal Magazine

 

 

Press Statement: Liberian Leader Receives Guinean & Togolese Counterparts in Audience

Monrovia, Liberia: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received in audience His Excellency, Professor Alpha Conde, President of the Republic of Guinea and Chairman, African Union and His Excellency, Faure Gnassingbé, President of the Republic of Togo and Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State of ECOWAS. The Liberian leader received her colleagues at the Roberts International Airport in Harbel, Margibi County.

Togolese and Guinean Leaders and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Monrovia1
Guinean and Togelese Leaders Meet President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

According to an Executive Mansion release, the three leaders held tete-a-tete in the Presidential Lounge at the Roberts International Airport.

President Sirleaf receives AU Chairperson President Alpha Conde of Guinea
President Sirleaf Receives AU Chair and Guinean President Alpha Conde

Meanwhile, following the formalities at the Roberts International Airport, President Sirleaf opened a one-day political stakeholders’ meeting at the Boulevard Palace involving major players in the just ended October 10 Presidential and Representatives elections.

President Sirleaf receives ECOWAS Chairperson Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe
President Sirleaf Receives ECOWAS Chair and Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe

Speaking during the opening of the one-day stakeholders’ meeting, President Sirleaf briefed colleagues on the state of Liberia’s electioneering process, a successful first round coupled with scheduled runoff. She further informed the Chairs of the AU and ECOWAS during the meeting at the Boulevard Palace Hotel in Sinkor on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 that the transition remains on course and noted that the process must be concluded in time for her to turn over to a successor.

She reminded political leaders around the table of their commitment to the Farmington Declaration in the presence of West African leaders. She noted concerns expressed regarding irregularities during the first round and said the appropriate channels are being used to handle whatever the concerns.

The Liberian enjoined her Guinean and Togolese counterparts to listen to the various concerns and bring their expertise to bear on the table with a view to resolving those issues. She cautioned the need for aggrieved parties to bear in mind that Liberia is the only country that they have and the peace of this nation should be sustained at all cost.

 

Liberian Political Leaders in Meeting with Presidents Sirleaf and African Leaders
Liberian Political Leaders Meet With President Sirleaf and African Leaders

President Sirleaf called on all those who took part in the process to remain peaceful, and respect the elections laws of Liberia and give the process a chance to go on peacefully and successfully. She challenged those dissatisfied to go about it in a peaceful manner and within the constitutional time-frame.

President Sirleaf sounded a caveat to all those around the table in the midst of the West African leaders to realize that they believe in peace, in the Liberian nation and should commit themselves to staying the course of peace and commit to remaining in the country, following the elections.

The one-day political stakeholders’ meeting was led by Presidents Conde of Guinea and Gnassingbe of Togo with Vice President, Joseph Nyumah Boakai of the Unity Party, Ambassador, George M. Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change, Businessman, Benoni Urey,  All Liberian Party, Mr. Alexander B. Cummings of the Alternative National Congress, among others in attendance.

Source: Executive Mansion, Liberia