Africa’s longest-serving ruler dies

President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo died yesterday at age 69. He was one of the original African dictators of the post-colonial era. This is his legacy in a nutshell:

Born to a peasant family in northern Togo, the young Sergeant Eyadema seized power in 1967 after staging one of Africa’s first coups soon after Togo won independence from France – an achievement noted and copied elsewhere.
BBC, Feb. 6, 2005

Sadly, Democracy in Togo, an ailing sapling under Eyadema, also suffered a “heart attack” when the military closed the borders and Army Chief of Staff Gen Zakari Nandja announced that the army had decided to hand power to son Faure Eyadema, 39. The African Union and the European Union denounced this Coup D’état.

Our thoughts are with our friends in Togo during these trying times.

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