News / Africa

    Togo Sets Date for Polls Amid Torture Claims

    Supporters of Togolese main opposition presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre rally in Lome, March 2, 2010 file photo.
    Supporters of Togolese main opposition presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre rally in Lome, March 2, 2010 file photo.
    Togo's first legislative elections since 2007 will be held on July 21, according to an announcement on the government’s official Web site.
     
    The deadline for submitting candidates was originally scheduled for Monday, but the Associated Press reports that government spokesman Yacoubou Hamadou said Friday the deadline had been moved back to June 16.
     
    The run-up to the long-awaited vote is taking place alongside mounting concern over the government’s treatment of opposition demonstrators, many of whom have made legislative elections one of their primary political demands.
     
    Togolese League for Human Rights president Raphael Kpande-Adzare says 24 members of the opposition coalition “Let’s Save Togo” remained in detention over fires that broke out in January at major markets in the capital, Lome, and the northern city of Kara.
     
    Kpande-Adzare said the charges against the suspects were politically motivated and based on a flawed investigation.
     
    "It is clear that the investigation was not done properly, and the authorities began to arrest people," he said. "And the people they began to arrest are the same people who are today contesting the legitimacy of the government."
     
    The International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR) has also raised concern over the arrests, recently issuing a declaration of “important failings in the legal procedures to investigate this case.”
     
    It also cited complaints about torture and mistreatment of detainees. Last month Kodjo Yakanou, one of the arrested activists, died in prison. Officials said he was suffering from malaria, but opposition activists said officials had refused to provide him with appropriate medical care.
     
    Togo Security Minister Yark Damehane could not be reached Monday to respond to the allegations.
     
    IHFR has called on government officials to release torture victims and others it says have been arbitrarily detained over the market fires.
     
    The opposition is also calling for reforms to the country’s National Elections Commission (CENI). Leader of the opposition National Alliance for Change, Jean-Pierre Fabre, says party's legislative candidates would not submit forms to the commission in its current state.
     
    “We will not give our candidates’ list to the CENI because we do not recognize this CENI," Fabre said. "We do not want to just accompany the party in power to this election.”
     
    Fabre is also calling on the government to enter into dialogue with the opposition to produce conditions that would allow for a fair vote.
     
    “What we want now is dialogue," he said. "We want to sit down with the government and discuss how to make this election good. It is known everywhere in the world that the Togolese government is not a democratic government and that the government does not want to organize [a] good election. We do not have to spend our time to explain the reason why we do not want to give the list of our candidates."
     
    Togo's ruling party, Rally of the Togolese People, has been in power almost continuously since the late 1960s. President Faure Gnassingbe took power after the death of his father, Eyadema Gnassingbe, in 2005.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora