8 February 2005

Togo: Oh No! Togo Breaks Ranks...


Just as we were beginning to bask in the glow of how the democratisation bug has bitten us in the ECOWAS sub-region, Ghana's eastern neighbour, Togo, has decided to spoil the fun for all of us.

In what can only be described as a coup d'etat, the country's military last week anointed Mr. Faure Gnassingbe (Eyadema) to succeed his father President Eyadema who had died suddenly. This was in flagrant contempt of the country's constitution, which has a procedure for succession.

Justifiably, both the African Union and ECOWAS have rejected this imposition and called for proper democratic and constitutional niceties to be followed. But it must not end there. This must be followed by strict sanctions that would totally remove this blight from the union's and commission's territories.

It must in no way be countenanced. What Togo has done is to break ranks with the rest of her sub-region and continent. It smacks of nothing but betrayal of a cause.

We have nothing against young Gnassingbe, but by God, we have everything against the way he has been sneaked into power. He should realise that by agreeing to go with the military in this sneaky fashion, he has all but destroyed what could have been a respectable political career if he had followed the democratic process to achieve power.

But it is not too late: Mr. Gnassingbe can yet redeem his and his country's image by doing the right thing. All indications are that he may even be the best among all those power seekers jostling for power in Togo, why then does he spoil his chances with this political chancre?

There is a Ghanaian proverb that says that if you do not know death, you should take a look at someone sleeping. Mr. Gnassingbe should look at the kind of problems raging in places like DRC and Cote d'Ivoire and see for himself what messy political succession can lead to

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