Togo Opposition Calls for Protests Against Election Results

Togo's opposition continues to refuse to recognise the results of the 2020 presidential election as announced by the country's electoral commission and is calling on people to take to the streets to express their dissatisfaction with the re-election of incumbent President Faure Gnassingbé for a fourth term.

The victory of the people cannot be stolen, according to Philippe Kpodzro, a former archbishop of the capital Lomé and one of the main supporters of opposition leader Agbéyomé Kodjo. The clergyman says the provisional results announced on Sunday night by the electoral commission are a "farce" and "comical". He calls on the Togolese people to hold a "big demonstration".

"Don't be afraid of the guns, wake up and show our determination for change," Kpodzro told RFI, encouraging people to take to the streets on Friday.

Togo's Civil Service Minister Gilbert Bawara said the elections of 22 February are finished, the provisional results have been announced and things are back to normal. "All demonstrations in public places must scrupulously adhere to the system for peaceful, public protests," he said.

Gnassingbé secured more than 72 per cent of the vote in the first round, according to the electoral commission, although the opposition complained of fraud.

Election observers rubberstamp polls

Observers from the West African regional bloc Ecowas described Togo's election as having taken place "without major incident". The election process was "peaceful and conformed to electoral law", according to Francis Béhanzin, Ecowas commissioner of political affairs and member of the election monitoring team led by Sierra Leone's former president Ernest Bai Koroma.

Ecowas deployed 79 observers across the five regions of the country for voting that took place at more than 9,300 polling stations.

The African Union election observation mission congratulated "the people, the government the political actors and all the stakeholders for holding good polls". The mission did not note any serious incidents although it did make some recommendations to the electoral commission notably on the question of financing for candidate's election campaigns.

Both the AU and Ecowas observation missions called on candidates to use the relevant legal avenues if contesting the results announced by the election commission.

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