AFRICA/TOGO - Sokodè under siege: "active non-violence" to contribute to peace

Tuesday, 26 September 2017


Sokodè (Agenzia Fides) - "We are going through difficult times, yesterday our town of Sokodé was besieged by the army; each of us has to contribute to bringing new air into the Country", says to Fides Father Silvano Galli, of the Society of African Missions (SMA).
"A process of non-violent social transformation, so that justice and peace reign for integral human and social development, is one of the goals of the ‘Shalom Network of Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation’ (Rest-Cor). All of us, Missionaries of Africa, members of Rest-Cor, ‘Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation’ Commission (JPIC), people of goodwill, cannot remain silent in the face of the situation here in Togo", says in a message sent to Fides Fr. Michel Savadogo, SMA, Executive Director of the "Rest-Cor" network. In the appeal sent to Fides, Fr. Michel Savadogo calls on all those who live in the Country to non-violence: "We need to embrace the strength of love and respect for non-violence", he writes in his message addressed to supporters and opponents of the current system, law enforcement , to press organs, to Togolese youth.

"It is necessary to overcome ones ego in order to save honor and move from destructive power (violence) to economic power (unjustly manipulative) to the power of love and respect for all the children of Togo. Do not transform the weapons you have been entrusted to defend the people by using them against the same people", reads the message. Press organs are invited to "deal professionally with information collected directly on the field and spread them with responsibility. To the opponents of the current system we call for active non-violence that is the voice of the people. It would be desirable to avoid useless controversy. It is appropriate to strengthen the roles of all Togolese, whether or not members of the current system, because in order for the country to grow it needs the contribution of all its children. Non-violence is the winning card, failure will be at the door if one gives into violence. "Addressing the Togolese youth, the document calls on "launching the challenge of non-violence in the face of the international community, demonstrating that we can achieve positive change in a peaceful manner. Let us not be manipulated towards violence because at the end of violence we will all be victims and losers and our dear country will remain abandoned". And continues: "Will active non-violence work? The answer is yes if the Togolese want it, everyone will adopt non-violence in the management of the crisis".

"The principle is: I understand, I love and I answer as Togolese companion even if I disagree with him. Violence and hatred are the weapons of the Weak. The weapon of the powerful is love, which can forgive and turn into a positive and non-violent way. All Togolese must be strong in this period of crisis in which it is evident that something is wrong and must change.

God has already blessed Togo, may He give all the sons and daughters of the Country the grace to open to his gift of active non-violence and peace", concludes the Rest-Cor network manager.

There is a strong confrontation in Togo these days between opposition and government. The opposition is protesting against President Faure Gnassingbè, descendant of former president (his father, who died in 2005 and in power since 1967). The opposition wants to interrupt this dynasty and calls for a constitutional reform that will restore the limits to the presidential mandate. The demonstrators who take to the streets for the first time want to return to the 1992 Constitution. (SG/MS/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 26/9/2017)