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Several International groups urged Togo to end political crisis

Guinea’s President Alpha Conde, current Chairman of the African Union offers to mediate Togo’s political impasse

LOME, TOGO – Togo’s political conflict is attracting international and regional concerns such that the country’s authorities were, on Friday, admonished to halt their clampdown on anti-government demonstrations and initiate talks to end a months-long political crisis.

Reports reaching Globe Afrique confirmed that thirteen international and local human rights organizations urged the government to “end the bloody repression” and talk to those involved in the stand-off.

According to reliable sources, three days of marches were organized for this week, which ended Saturday.

Beginning about a month ago, thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets of the capital, Lome, to demand the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe who is also the chair of the regional bloc ECOWAS.

The opposition groups want the introduction of a two-term limit for presidents and a two-round voting system. Such condition the group said would bring an end to more than 50 years of rule by the Gnassingbe family.

According to sources, mediation attempts are proceeding at the regional level with Guinea’s President Alpha Conde, who currently holds the rotating presidency of the AU, on Thursday saying he would meet opposition leaders to try to find a “peaceful” solution.

Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, has already met with opposition leaders in Lome on Tuesday on behalf of his West African counterparts.

The head of research at the Institute of Politics in Bordeaux, southwest France, Comi Toulabor, said: “The government doesn’t appear in any way to want to give in to the street and the overtures it’s pretending to make aren’t really overtures.”

In late September this year, Togo’s government guaranteed the holding of a referendum on constitutional reform. However, the government’s proposal for a two-term presidential is not retroactive.

The opposition objected, saying it would leave Gnassingbe, who has already won three elections since 2005, to participate in the next two elections in 2020 and 2025, and could potentially keep in him until 2030.

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Dave Okonjie

Dave Okonjie is a public affairs analyst, researcher and senior issues correspondent.

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