Opposition coalition movement in Togo announces renewed protest

Photo: Officials of Togo’s main opposition coalition movement

ACCRA, Ghana––The main opposition coalition movement in Togo’s on Tuesday said it would restart its demonstration against the government of President Faure Gnassingbe.

The opposition made the assertion despite both sides prior agreement to suspend protest and any activities that pose threat to national security and the country’s economy during talks.

Eric Dupuy, the spokesman for a group of 14 political parties and civil society affiliates, told

Globe Afrique and other media groups: “We have decided to start our protests again for four days next week: Tuesday, WednesdayThursday, and Saturday.”The opposition spokesman said the decision was taken because President Faure Gnassingbe and his government have not honored a commitment to preparations for parliamentary elections, which are due to be held in 2018.

A few months ago, Ghana’s President Nana Akuffo-Addo, brokered a deal between the opposition movement and the government after a closed-door talk.

President Faure Gnassingbe’s government and the opposition movement initiated and have been engaged in talks since February 19 to hammer out a way forward, after months of street demonstrations that rallied thousands of Togolese throughout the tiny West African nation.

During an interview, Dupuy said discussions “had not moved forward because the ruling party is backing the candidacy of Faure Gnassingbe (at the next presidential election) in 2020”.

“We will never accept that. He’s already done two terms and is currently on his third,” he added.

Faure Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005, after taking over his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who himself ruled Togo for 38 years before his death.

The country’s opposition coalition movement wants a return to Togo’s 1992 constitution, which set a two-term limit for presidents, applied retroactively.  That would, in practice, prevent incumbent president Faure Gnassingbe from contesting in 2020 and 2025.

The Togolese government has opposed such move.  Instead, it has proposed a two-term limit but without the retroactive element.

On Tuesday, Ghanaian Akuffo-Addo extended an invitation to a delegation from Togo’s main opposition coalition movement to visit Accra for consultation.  The Ghanaian leader has promised to consult with both parties separately in Accra before talks resume in Lomé soon.

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Jacob Ujamaa Nyerere

Jacob Ujamaa Nyerere is a public affairs researcher and senior investigative correspondent.

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