Togo’s Gnassingbe under pressure to stepdown amid protests
The President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe is coming under immense pressure to give in to agitations from Togolese protesting against his family’s ruling dynasty.
Opposition supporters have held series of protests for weeks now with the demand for an end to the president’s family dynasty of 50 years and the need for a new constitution. Recent protests have been seen as the biggest challenge to the Gnassingbe dynasty in many years.
The Togolese security forces have made several attempts to curl the wave of protests with the firing of tear gas into protesters on Thursday and Friday, but it appears that is not silencing them.
On Friday the leader of Togo’s main opposition National alliance for Change , Jean-Pierre Fabretold Reuters that President Faure Gnassingbe must exit power or face more protests against his regime.
“He has to leave now. We will not accept him staying on any longer,” Jean-Pierre Fabre is quoted as saying. “The Togolese are tired … We will continue to protest,” he added.
In an interview with the BBC on Friday, former Nigerian President, Olusegunn Obasanjo said “I believe whatever he (Faure Gnassingbe) has to do in terms of development, whatever ideas he has, he must have exhausted them by now, unless he has something new that we do not know”.
The former Nigerian leader advised that the Togolese leader addresses the demands of protesters. “I believe that President Faure Gnassingbe will have to do something about it,” Obasanjo said.
He said Togo needs a new constitution that limits the tenure of the president which should be respected by all.
The U.N. Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel Mohamed Ibn Chambas on Thursday met the Togolese President and called for calm “to preserve peace and security”.
Chambas, in a statement said “I remain convinced that all parties want to move forward on the reforms … in order to reach a consensus to respond to the legitimate expectations of the Togolese people,”
Faure Gnassingbe took over from his father Eyadema 12 years ago after he died while in power for 38 years. He has since won elections in 2005, 2010 and 2015 but got the two-term limit for presidents scrapped a year ago to allow him to further prolong his rule.