Political opposition leaders in Togo plan to re-energize a campaign to end the long tenure of President Faure Gnassingbé, with six organizational rallies planned in Lomé neighborhoods this weekend and new street protests to begin next week.
Leaders of the Coalition of 14, which formed last year in response to political crisis in the small West African nation, told Nana FM radio that they plan to start the marches anew in what Eric Dupuy of the National Alliance for Change (ANC) party said was a strategy to keep the pressure on Gnassingbé.
They would be the first street demonstrations since April, after the government shut down planned routes for marches in early May. The plans come as negotiations between opposition leaders and Gnassingbé and his Union for the Republic (UNIR) party, mediated through leaders of the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), have reached a prolonged impasse.
The coalition has rejected attempts to form a national unity government that includes Gnassingbé, who has led Togo since 2005 following the death of his father. Earlier this week, lawyers with a dormant civil society group, APED, issued a statement insisting that international oversight replace the country’s election commission during the 2020 elections, and that Gnassingbé will not seek another term.
The statement came after APED was prevented from holding a press conference by Togolese security forces. APED leaders also appealed for the release of all political prisoners, and immediate relief from what they described as a “state of siege” in cities including Sokodé, Bafilo, Kara and Mango.
Image: PNP file