AFRICA/TOGO - Political crisis: the people insist on institutional reform and true democracy

Monday, 11 June 2018 politics   democracy   justice   civil society  


Sokodé (Agenzia Fides) - "Togo is the only Country in the Gulf of Guinea where leaders make people believe that everything functions at a political, social and economic level. But, the truth is another. How long will the Togolese political leaders be able to continue like this?", asks Father Jules Adjator, Regional Superior of the Society of African Missions of Togo. "The people have so far been deceived, but today they have learned to understand their rights and legitimate means to claim them. People have understood that the country needs institutional and constitutional reform to achieve true democracy, peace and development", adds the priest in the note sent to Fides.
"Everyone talks about the socio-political crisis in Togo, but, what is the background of this crisis?". Here is what he says: "It all started on 19 August 2017, when Tikpi Atchadam, leader of the Panafrican National Party (PNP), the new opposition political party, organized a peaceful protest to demand constitutional reforms (see Fides 15/9/2017). This march ended with violence as well as being severely repressed, wrongly or rightly, by the police. Since the dominant power wanted to stifle the population’s right to demonstrate, a coalition of 14 opposition political parties was formed around the PNP to carry on this struggle for the liberation of Togo, taken in hostage by the Gnassingbe family for half a century (see Fides 18/9/2017). Since then, demonstrations have been repeated throughout the territory.
The priest adds: "If people do not claim their rights on the street, there is no possibility of change. The Togolese want to change their leaders, to give the young people in the country a new impetus. The situation between government and opposition fuels continuous demonstrations".
Furthermore, as Father Jules explains, "the Episcopal Conference of Togo has constantly raised the alarm on the crisis in the Country. The Bishops are deeply concerned about the socio-political situation and have considered it appropriate to promote a prayer of supplication for peace in all the dioceses, especially in favor of institutional and constitutional reforms. The Bishops also condemned the violence and invited everyone to moderation, hoping for dialogue between the government and the opposition.
"People are asking for a truth-based political will to end this crisis. An important sign, for example, would be for the President of the Republic to announce that he will not run for the next presidential elections in 2020. Today the Togolese nourish the hope that peace and stability will finally be reborn in their land", concludes Fr. Jules. (JA/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 11/6/2018)