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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs