Togo votes – and hopes

Today is election day in Togo. The borders are closed, the military patrols the streets and 6000 polling stations are open across the west African nation. Fraud and violence marred the last election in 2005, so several hundred international observers have been deployed across the country. The hope is that this presence of observers can prevent egregious fraud. The opposition is certainly very optimistic they will carry the day (see comments to a previous posting). But with the election commission, the constitutional court and the military all deeply enmeshed with the ruling RPT and the Gnassingbe clan, I’d be surprised to see Gnassingbe concede defeat  anytime soon. Still, a strong showing of the opposition, and a peaceful, disciplined reaction to the results may loosen the RPT’s grip on the country.

Among the seven candidates are two former prime ministers of the current regime, the first female presidential candidate, the main opposition candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre and, of course the ruling party candidate, son of Togo’s late dictator Eyadema, Faure Gnassingbe. Short candidate bios from the RPT mouthpiece republicoftogo.com:

Seven candidates are vying for the top job in the small west African country of Togo in elections on Thursday. Among the candidates is the incumbent Faure Gnassingbe, 43, son of the late ruler Gnassingbe Eyadema, who held power for 38 years??.

One of the strongest contenders is Jean-Pierre Fabre, 58, candidate of the main opposition party, the Union of Forces for Change (UFC) led by Gilchrist Olympio, son of the country’s first post independent president.
An economist by training, Fabre is in the presidential race for the first time.

Former prime minister Yawovi Agboyibo, candidate of the Action Committee for Renewal (CAR), and another leading opponent to Gnassingbe, is trying for “third time lucky” after he lost twice already in 1998 and 2003.

A lawyer by training, Agboyibo, 67, is one of the most prominent figures of the Togolese opposition, who began his political career after political unrest that rocked the country in 1990.

Another former prime minister, Agbeyome Kodjo, of the Organisation for the Building of a United Togo (OBUTS), defected from Faure’s Togolese People’s Rally (RPT) to set up his own party in 2005.??Holder of a doctorate in management sciences, Kodjo, 56, was also speaker of the national assembly in 1999 to 2000 after holding several ministerial portfolios in Eyadema’s government.

This is the first time he is taking part in a presidential election.

Brigitte Kafui Adjamagbo-Johnson, a member of the Democratic Convention of African Peoples (CDPA opposition) is the only woman in the race and the first to seek the highest office in Togo.

Born in December 1958, Adjamagbo Johnson holds a doctorate in law.

The others are 57-year-old businessman Nicolas Lawson of the Party for Renewal and Redemption (PRR) and Bassabi Kagbara, 68, a former school teacher trying his presidential luck for the first time as candidate of the Panafrican Democratic Party.

Let’s hope for positive and peaceful change in Togo.

3 Responses to “Togo votes – and hopes”

  1. zovi Says:

    Faure Gnassingbe is a dictator like his father Gnassingbe eyadema.All the city of Lome is now full the military. Many of the opposition members: Jean-Pierre Fabre, Kofi Yamgnane, Dahuku Péré -were arrested and were in prison right now by the military people commanded by Colonel Yak. This person is the same Colonel who committed atrocities against the civilian in 2005 election. Dahuku Pere was severely injured by the military gaz L.

  2. yovo Says:

    @Zovi: I share your frustration about the election and I am very worried about the situation in Lome. Where did you get the information about the arrests of Fabre, Yamgnane and Péré? I have not been able to find any media reports about arrests yet.

  3. zovi Says:

    That information was on the UFC web page. It was an urgent information in read. go to google: ufc-togo and you will find it. it was also on http://www.togosite.com and http://www.mo5-togo.com. I don’t know if you read french but all these information are in french. I love your web page and your consideration about Togo. Can you inform the president Barack Obama and the American people about the suffering of the Togolese people?

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