Powderkeg Togo: the fuse is lit

Togo closed its borders Friday in preparation for the elections on Sunday. Hours before, the Interior minister François Esso Boko called for a postponement of the “suicidal electoral process” during a 2 AM meeting with foreign diplomats and the press.

While the RPT is deriding Boko as having gone crazy, the opposition has put on the war paint. As bizarre as the circumstances of Boko’s announcement were, he was certainly closely involved in the election preparations and knows what is going on, as Olivier Bocco points out:

Le ministre togolais de l’intérieur sait de quoi il parle, puisque c’est son ministère qui a la haute main sur l’administration électorale. Il sait de quoi il parle puisque, dans cette matière, les archives du ministère, si elles existent, doivent être fort documentées et instructives. Il vaut mieux tard que jamais, dit-on ! – LeTogolais.com

The RPT also accuses Boko of angling for a job in a new government, which is laughable, because as the Interior Minister he most certainly was involved in the rigging of the elections to prevent a new government. So his best chance at job security would have been to shut up and help rig the vote. But he decided to speak out, knowing, I’m sure, that he was ending his political career and possibly putting his life in danger.

The fuse is lit in Togo, and Boko’s announcement shows that the RPT leaders are fully aware that they are playing with fire. It would seem that they figure that unrest and violence are likely going to play out in their favor. And the opposition, for its part, does not seem inclined to accept another defeat in a rigged contest lying down.

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