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Opposition in Togo protest as parliamentary elections go ahead

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The political crisis in Togo has been ongoing for over year in which anger with President Faure Gnassingbé’s government has grown. (FILE PHOTO)

TOGO– The opposition in Togo have continued to protest as the parliamentary elections go ahead. Protesters want President Faure Gnassingbe to resign as he has been in power since 2005 after succeeding his father General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled the country for 38 years.

Gnassingbe 52, has ruled Togo, a nation of about 8 million people since 2005 and now citizens are calling for a delay of the ballot until reforms agreed with regional mediators, including a shakeup of the electoral commission, are implemented.

A coalition of 14 opposition members called for 10 days of protests to halt the ballot while urging supporters to follow them in a boycott saying that the government does what it wants in the country.

“We will not accept this masquerade and we will use every means to stop it,” opposition spokeswoman Brigitte Kafui Adjamagbo-Johnson said

The opposition is also demanding that the government release demonstrators and activists jailed since the current political crisis started in August 2017. These were jailed when tens of thousands of people began protests against Gnassingbe’s hold on power that have continued this year with rallies and general strikes.

The coalition says a win by Gnassingbe’s party will usher in a constitutional change to set a two-term limit on the presidency starting in 2020 that won’t take into account his previous years in power.

Earlier this month, at least four people were killed when opposition supporters clashed with the security forces in the capital Lome and several other cities across the country. They put the figure at six dead.

Amid violent protests, political crisis and military action, Togo is going ahead with its elections with President Faure Gnassingbe’s ruling party set to coast to victory due to an opposition coalition boycott.

 

 

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