Flag ofr TogoAblodé to our Togolese friends! Even though this is still more a rallying cry than a victory chant. Forty eight years ago Togo became an independent nation, relived from the yoke of French colonialism, only to become, after a few years, the playground of one of Africa’s original dictators, Etienne Gnassingé Eyadema.

Ablodé – freedom – was the rallying cry two years ago, when Eyadema died. A wave of hope washed over Togo and the diaspora. Many could not believe it at first -  that the “old man” really had died. Many hoped this was going to be a major turning point. Yet that hope turned out to be another mirage, when Eyadema’s son Faure was installed by the military. Even though the “international community” pushed the RPT regime to go through the motions of an election, freedom had nothing to do with it. The Gnassingbé clan remained firmly in control of the country when the military declared their “candidate” Faure Gnassingbé the winner exactly two years and a day ago.

Ablodé – freedom – remains elusive in Togo. When a people is stuck between an entrenched ruling clan of billionaires, a trigger-happy military, an exiled “opposition” of aging French lawyers and businessmen and an indifferent international community, how can the fragile buds of democracy and freedom take root? The only hope for freedom in Togo is for the Togolese people to find its own leaders. In the villages, the neighborhoods of Lomé, Kara and Dapaong, there are so many people with talent and understanding. The new leadership needs to come out of their own ranks, and it has to break down tribal and religious barriers. Togo needs credible uniters who will rally the people to the cause of the fight against corruption, mismanagement and nepotism, and for justice and Ablodé!

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