News / Africa

Togolese Opposition Demands Reform, Halt to March Election

James Butty
A member of Togo’s main opposition National Alliance for Change, or ANC, party said the opposition wants to stop the government’s preparation for March parliamentary elections amid a dispute over electoral reform.  

Thursday, security forces fired tear gas at tire-burning youths after the government banned an opposition rally. The government said the march was illegal.  

Thursday was to have been the first of three days of protests led by “Let’s Save Togo,” a coalition of opposition and civil society groups demanding electoral reforms and the removal of President Faure Gnassingbe.

ANC member Amorin Alexander said there can be no election without constitutional and institutional reforms.

“The electoral agenda has to be stopped now.  We have a lot of problems," he said. "We have the problem of the dimension of the constitution.  We are living in a system of quasi-apartheid.  In Lome, for instance, you need over 200 people to have one MP (Member of Parliament).  But, when you go outside Lome, you need 45,000 votes to have one MP.  We don’t want this to continue,"

Alexander said the opposition and civil society want a transparent electoral process.

“We want equity; one man, one vote.  Then, we want transparency.  We don’t want these people to rig the election.  These [people have been] in power for almost 50 years, same people,” Alexander said.

Butty interview with Alexander
Butty interview with Alexanderi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

The legislative elections were supposed to have been held last October, but they were postponed because of disagreement over opposition demands for electoral reform.

​Gnassingbe has announced that the local and parliamentary elections would be held by the end of March.  Alexander said it would be impossible to have elections in Togo without reform.

“We need to sit and have talks.  We have to change the whole system of election in Togo.  We have to change the institution in charge of organizing elections,” Alexander said.

He said the government’s claim that it is trying to reform the country’s electoral process is untrue.

“The president is not saying the truth.  I don’t want to be impolite by saying that he is lying.  We signed the general political agreement in 2006.  With this agreement, we are all saying that this country needs discussion to reform the constitution.  They refused to have this kind of election.  So, nothing has changed.  The president is not doing anything to improve the political system,” he said.

Gnassingbe took power in 2005 following the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for 38 years. 

Alexander said Togo is a republic and not a kingdom to be ruled by one family.                        

“The father was in power for 38 years.  When the father died, he [Gnassingbe] has been in power by the military.  And so, he’s there since 2005, almost eight years. Togo is not a kingdom.  Togo is a republic,” Alexander said.

The government said it does not want a rally to be held in the commercial district of Lome because it would disrupt commerce.

Alexander said the government has no legal right to tell protesters where to hold rallies.  In addition, he said, the rally would have a strong impact if it is held in the heart of Lome.

“What is the meaning of a demonstration if the demonstration cannot have impact on the society?  If you go to [the] seaside to make your demonstration, you are not doing anything.  But, by doing the manifestation in the center of the city, everybody will know that something is going wrong in this country,” Alexander said.

You May Like

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid