Tuesday 24 April 2018

Togo opposition suspends protests at Ghana request

Togo opposition suspends protests at Ghana request
(AFP (eng) 03/09/18)
President Akufo-Addo has reiterated his commitment to ensure the successful resolution of the standoff between the government of Togo and the opposition parties.

Opposition groups in Togo said Friday they were suspending upcoming protests against President Faure Gnassingbe at the request of Ghana, which is mediating in the crisis.

"The facilitator, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, received a delegation from the (opposition) coalition on Wednesday in Accra and asked us to give him a week in order to conduct talks with the government. We accepted," coalition spokesman Eric Dupuy said.

"The current regime has never honoured its commitments. If nothing emerges from these talks, we will return to the street, because we will not accept the government driving the electoral process unilaterally."

A new round of protests had been due to take place next week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Since August, hundreds of thousands of Togolese have taken part in demonstrations to demand that Gnassingbe step down.

He has been in office since 2005 after taking over from his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who himself ruled Togo for 38 years after seizing power in a coup in 1967.

The opposition wants a return to Togo's 1992 constitution that set a two-term limit for presidents, which would be applied retroactively to prevent Gnassingbe standing in 2020 and 2025.

The government has proposed a two-term limit but without the retroactive element.

Gnassingbe is serving his third term, after returning as president in 2010 and 2015 in elections that the opposition say were marred by fraud and repression.

Since February 19, there have been two rounds of Ghanaian-brokered talks on the crisis, but they have since been adjourned.

The 14-party opposition alliance is angered by what it says is the government's failure to honour a commitment about preparations for parliamentary elections, which are due to be held at some point this year.

Their criticism is directed at the choice of officials appointed to local commissions to oversee the vote.

Akufo-Addo promised to consult separately with both the opposition and Gnassingbe's Union for the Republic (UNIR) party in the Ghanaian capital Accra before talks resume in Lome.

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