Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Black Spring in West Africa: Call for Action in Togo

'We believe Togo is next in this trend of civil unrest, therefore we request that you utilize your influence to bring inquiries about the region and Togo in specific,' writes Seeds of Togo

In 2012, tens of thousands of people took part in violent protests in Lome against electoral reforms they say favour the ruling party. (Photo: BBC)
Dear members of Congress,

We are writing to you in regards of the political instability occurring in the Republic of Togo. A former French colony in West Africa that gained its independence in 1960, and has since then faced political upheaval due to the current regime that has ruled its territory for decades. 

The government in Togo is an illegitimate institution filled with corrupt individuals that have oppressed the rights of Togolese citizens. Currently another major drama is in preparation in Togo, the country is on the verge of a hectic and disorderly presidential race that could cause a humanitarian crisis. 

As concerned Togolese citizens, we believe that we are obligated to raise awareness regarding this eminent deluge to the US Congress, the State Department, the international community, and the general public. The current political circumstances are mainly caused by the failure of the Government of Togo (GOT), and the ruling party, Union for the Republic UNIR and their inability to abide by three important agreements that they co-signed with the main political parties of the opposition. 

The following agreements are what had taken places as recorded by the National Alliance for change (ANC USA)

  • In 1999, after a national dialogue, a Framework Agreement for the resolution of the longstanding political crisis in Togo was signed in Lomé between the GOT controlled by the RPT Rally for the Togolese People, now converted into UNIR, and five political parties (CAR, CDPA, CPP, PDR, and UFC), with the European Union and the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) present.

  • On April 14, 2004, at the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels, Koffi Sama former Prime Minister, under the authority of late President General Gnassingbé Eyadema called for the implementation of 22 commitments to resolve another political crisis caused by the current regime. This new agreement was intended to improve diplomatic and economic relations between Togo and the EU, were it implemented.

  • On August 20, 2006, a Global Political Agreement was signed in Lomé between the RPT and the five political parties involved in the 1999 Framework Agreement. This was to resolve the political crisis, and the climate of insecurity caused by the unconstitutional seizure of power by Faure Gnassingbé. This unconstitutional rise to power was followed by a controversial Presidential election, which led to a bloody civil unrest that extinguished the lives of 1500 Togolese.

Each of these agreements was initiated to create local elections to establish democracy from a grass-roots level. However, this has yet to happen because Faure Gnassingbé and his party have failed to lead by action and respect the rights of the Togolese people.

In order for democracy to follow suit in the Republic of Togo, Togolese citizens are demanding the resignation of Faure Gnassingbe as president and the reimplementation of the 1992 Togolese constitution.

We believe the current political crisis in Togo is an urgent matter the United States (U.S.) government should take seriously. We begin by asserting that the U.S. has substantial economic interest in Togo in the form of companies such as Contour Global among others.

A stable political climate means that U.S. interest in Togo continues its profitable trend. The West African region as a whole is undergoing turbulence parallel to the recent Arab spring considering recent events in Burkina-Faso. We believe Togo is next in this trend of civil unrest, therefore we request that you utilize your influence to bring inquiries about the region and Togo in specific.

Seeds of Togo is an organized group of young Togolese activists whose goal is to bring justice, equality and prosperity for all.

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