After Concerns Over Voter Register
Togo’s presidential election, has been postponed by 10 days to April 25, the communications minister announced, after calls for a delay over claims the voter register was flawed.
“The presidential election will be held on April 25, 2015, and not April 15, the initial date,” said a presidential decree read on state television in the small West African country by Communications Minister, Germaine Koumealo Anate.
The chairman of regional bloc ECOWAS, Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama, had suggested the postponement during a visit to Togo last Tuesday, citing the need to update the electoral roll.
“As a result, ECOWAS proposes that the election is delayed by 10 days to allow the election list to be revised so everyone is satisfied,” President Mahama told reporters.
The opposition claims the electoral roll is plagued by “serious anomalies”, and says it must be checked before a transparent vote can be held.
President Faure Gnassingbe, is running for a third five-year term in office.
He came to power in 2005 after the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo with an iron fist for 38 years and abolished a limit on the number of mandates.
Attempts to introduce term limits, have been blocked in Parliament, where Gnassingbe’s party has a majority.
Late last year, opposition supporters took to the streets with civil society groups to demand reforms.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), recently recommended to the political stakeholders in Togo, a postponement of their presidential elections from April 15 to April 25, 2015.
The postponement, according to the Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Mahama, is to allow Togo’s Commission Electorale Nationale Independente (CENI), complete work on finalising the voters register and its validation processes.
He explained that “in view of the work that has to be done, in validating the voters register, it makes it very difficult for the election to come off on the 15th of April. ECOWAS proposes that the election be shifted by 10 days to the 25th of April so that enough space is given for issues relating to the voters register to be resolved to the every bodies satisfaction in advance of the election.”
Speaking to journalists after a day’s working visit to Lome in his capacity as Chair of ECOWAS, President Mahama, said the issue of the voters list was the most important issue for the various political parties.
He noted that officials from La Francophonie are helping the CENI in the clean-up of the voters register for the elections, and this should be completed in about one week.
The ECOWAS Chair, had earlier visited Nigeria which held its elections on Saturday, and held discussions with the leaders of the political parties, the INEC and Heads of various Observer Missions in Nigeria.
The pre-election visits, were to enable him discuss reports of the subregion’s monitoring groups with the various stakeholders.
In Lome, President Mahama held discussions with President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, 62-year old opposition leader, Jean-Pierre Fabre of the National Alliance for Change (ANC), officials of the opposition ADDI, MCD and NET parties and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission of Togo (CENI).
President Mahama, was accompanied by Dr. Toga Gayewea Mcintosh, Vice-President of the ECOWAS Commission.