Lomé (Agenzia Fides) - "Without a serious reform of the electoral framework in view of free, transparent, credible and peaceful elections, democracy cannot really thrive in Togo", say the Bishops of Togo in a press release at the end of their second Ordinary assembly, which was held from 16 to 19 June.
The Bishops' Conference of Togo (CET) claims to have found several irregularities in the organization and conduct of the February 22 elections, which led to the emergence of a protest movement as soon as the results were announced.
In addition, the Bishops are outraged by the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of police violence and murders in the Country, the suppression of protests and the imposition of health confinement measures for COVID-19.
Following the disputed presidential elections which saw the re-election of outgoing President, Faure Gnassingbe, Togo lives in a situation of insecurity and suspicion.
In early May, the commander of the 1st Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), Colonel Bitala Madjoulba, was found dead in his office. A special commission of inquiry has not yet clarified who murdered him. The Bishops condemn "this cynical way of proceeding which plays with what is most sacred to man: life" and call for an immediate end to these crimes.
"Until socio-political life is dominated by the army, legislative and judicial powers are not truly independent, corruption and impunity continue to flourish, tensions will not really end", they say. "Until lies are used in particular in the media and on social networks as a strategy to destabilize people and institutions, until violence is not condemned and eradicated, further political upheavals in the Country will be inevitable".
Finally, the Bishops' Conference of Togo (CET) expresses gratitude to priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful "for the responsible management" of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which led to the temporary closure of places of worship.
The Bishops invite "everyone to continue praying for God to free us from this scourge" and encourage them to carry out "gestures of solidarity especially towards the hardest hit in society".
The Bishops encourage "the faithful and all citizens to strictly observe the recommended preventive measures, while recommending the gradual reopening of places of worship in strict compliance with the preventive provisions". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 23/6/2020)