Togo president abolishes presidential election

The hopes of a new leader emerging in Togo has been quashed due to the elimination of presidential elections in the West African nation.

The enactment of a controversial and widely criticized new constitution by President Faure Gnassingbe has led to this outcome.

This newly established constitution prohibits the election of the country’s top official, a setup that will enable the Gnassingbes to solidify their authority and prolong their longstanding rule.

A declaration issued by Gnassingbe’s office on Monday disclosed that, as per the recent legislation, the selection of the president will be the sole prerogative of the parliament, thereby abolishing direct elections.

As reported by Africa News, the electoral commission announced on Saturday that Gnassingbe’s ruling party had secured a majority of seats in the national parliament.

There was a suppression of civil and media liberties in the lead-up to the election, with the government prohibiting demonstrations against the proposed constitution and detaining opposition figures.

Moreover, the electoral body barred the Catholic Church from sending election monitors.

In mid-April, a French journalist who arrived to report on the elections was arrested, subjected to violence, and deported. The media regulatory body of Togo subsequently halted the accreditation process for foreign journalists.

The preliminary results indicated that the ruling Union for the Republic (UNIR) party had triumphed with 108 out of 113 seats in parliament, and 137 out of 179 positions in the senate.

The new constitution additionally extends presidential terms from five to six years and introduces a one-term limit.

Nonetheless, the nearly two decades that Gnassingbe has already spent in office will not be considered in this count.

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Togo has been under the governance of the same family for 57 years, initially under Eyadema Gnassingbe and then his successor, Faure Gnassingbe, who assumed office following elections characterized by the opposition as a “farce.”

The political opposition, religious leaders, and civil society express concerns that the proposed constitution increases the likelihood of Gnassingbe staying in power beyond his mandate expiry in 2025.

They are apprehensive that the establishment of a position akin to a prime minister, to be chosen from the ruling party, could provide another avenue for Gnassingbe to prolong his control even after that new term.

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