–Disappointed At ECOWAS
A group of Togolese, dotted across the world, have sworn they will resist the government of Faure Gnassingbe, until he kills them all or they defeat his administration.
The group, Togolese Civil League (TCL), led by daughter of one of the vice presidential candidates of the opposition parties, Farida Bemba Nabourema, says their biggest disappointed, is the regional body, the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) for it deafening silence on the crises in that country.
Farida, who is an international journalist and the Executive Director of TLC, said she was not the least surprised about ECOWAS’ decision not to intervene in their case, because that has been their stock in trade over the years.
She said, all that ECOWAS was interested in, was politics, instead of siding with citizens of member countries.
“I am not at all surprised by the silence of ECOWAS unfortunately, the leaders of ECOWAS, have proved and demonstrated to us in the past that they are there to do politics, not to serve the people of their countries. There have been many countries that have had issues within the ECOWAS and ECOWAS did not intervene in support of the people.” she said of the regional body which incidentally is chaired by Faure.
Faure Gnassingbe, has ruled for 15 years after the death of his father, President Etienne Eyadema Gnassingbe, who also ruled for 35 years, after staging a coup in 1967.
Although, Togolese have taken their destiny into their own hands and are gearing up to mass up on the street of Lome for the biggest demonstration to hit the Faure government, she wants ECOWAS to take up the challenge like it did in the case of The Gambia, when Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh lost the election in that country.
“But we do hope that there are still some good leaders there, because we saw what they did in The Gambia and that gave us a little bit of hope, so if ECOWAS was able to intervene in the Gambia and removed a president that was forcing himself to remain in power, then it can do the same thing as well. So we want the ECOWAS to continue that way and to prove to us that, the new generation of leaders ruling Africa right now, are different from the ones we have been dealing with for the past 15 years”, she said.
At a press conference in Accra last Saturday to improve the understanding of the current political crisis in Togo among citizens and decision makers of neighboring countries, the group made up of journalists, a current deputy Electoral Commission (EC) chairman, Francis Pedro Amuzum, and other activists, said the protest promises to be the biggest, involving all opposition political parties (22) and citizens.
“It is going to be, I believe the biggest protest organized under this regime by the people”, Farida said.
The group, which pleaded with the Ghanaian media to switch attention to Togo and help them demand of the government, the reinstatement of the country’s 1992 Constitution said, September 6-7, protest is unique because aside the governing party, all political parties, youth, women, civil society groups, have all confirmed their participation.
This action according to them, will be replicated across the world to create awareness of the Togo situation, to gain a clear awareness of the under-reporting of Togo’s political turmoil and social crisis.
It is to gain awareness of Human Rights abuses and restriction of freedoms in Togo; debunk myths about Togo’s elections management setups, as well as the country’s media universe, understand the political and socio-economic impacts of Togo’s crisis on Ghana.
Farida said, they are ready to pay the price that is, if people die as a result of the protest, they wouldn’t mind, because what they are planning to do is permitted in Article 150 of their Constitution, which has been thrown to the dogs by the government and replaced.
“We are ready to bear the consequences but what is important is leaving something for the generation yet unborn”, she said.
Farida, who said she has received several threatening messages and confirmed her father has gone to jail and back many times, because of this same struggle said, “I am threatened every day since I have been involved in this struggle openly since 2009.
I have received so many threats, my families are threatened, even government officials threaten me on national television, so I know is part of the job, I know it is expected because when you want to take down a regime, it is expected that they take you down as well, so at the end of the day, it is the force that will win.
Asked if she was troubled, she responded “not at all, but they react by threats, intimidation and by personal attacks, because I have been attacked on several occasions”
The fearless woman, said she was not a politician and does not want to, because of the struggles she is engaged in, but will continue to battle the government until they succeed or die out of it.
“Till the end, till we win, for me, we have to fight and win all or I die trying to win. I want them to give in the demands of the people, bring back the Constitution they have voted, because as government, they don’t decide for us, we decide for them, so if we vote for a Constitution, they have no right whatsoever to remove it.
From the moment, they remove the Constitution, they violated the Constitution and so the Constitution they have put in place right now, is not our Constitution.
It is their Constitution for us, we just want our thing back [if it is brought] it automatically disqualifies them to even run this government in the first place, because they have already ruled the country longer than the Constitution allows them to. She refuted accusation that the opposition parties, have sat down for far too long, reason the Gnassingbe government which they term a dynasty, has ruled for the past 50 years.
According to them, there have been many agitations and protestation against the government, except that the media is surprised and so it does not get to the rest of the world and sometimes, the government portrays the opposition as terrorist, militant groups and divide their front on religious and tribal lines and so they are unable to unite and fight a common course.
She said in the past, women have gone on sex strike, demonstrated naked and organized countless protest all in their attempt to get the government to reinstate the Constitution they voted for in 1992.
The group, were nearly stopped from organizing the press conference last Saturday because of directive for the government of Togo to Ghana said, the death toll reported on August 19, 2017, was the least they have recorded and so they saw it as nothing at. They describe the so called democracy being practiced in Togo as a “sham”.
Mr Amuzum, who says he has not resigned from his post as the deputy EC boss, because the Constitution allows him to narrated the horrifying experiences the Commission members have gone through over the years and exposed the means through which elections are rigged in Togo.
He said, though he has been prevented by the police and the military from going into his office, he has the keys and when it is time for elections to be conducted, he will storm there to play his role as mandated by the 1992 Constitution. They threatened they are gathering all the available information on the brutalities that happened during last month’s protest and present it to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
In Togo, the group alleged, Separation of Power, exists only on paper, because it is the government that controls everything and the leadership of both the judiciary and legislator are in bed with the executive and they do it in the full glare of the public.
They said, the idea that Togo is the property of the Gnassingbes, will have to be muted from the current struggle.
TCL, said the family has held onto political power so much that, when the president’s brother, who is the Togeolese Football Association president, was voted against, he cried at a press conference, saying that the FA was his personal property their father left him.