Politics of Togo

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politics and government of
Togo

Politics of Togo takes place in a framework of a presidential republic, whereby the President of Togo is both head of state and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. Since independence the party system is dominated by the authoritarian Rally for the Togolese People.

Transition to democracy[edit]

Fight for democracy[edit]

In the early 1990s, the international community began putting pressure on Eyadéma to democratize, a notion he strongly resisted. Pro-democracy activists - mainly southern Mina and Ewé - were met with armed troops, killing scores of protesters in several clashes. The people of France and Togo were furious, and under their backlash Eyadéma gave in. He was summarily stripped of all powers and made president in name only. An interim prime minister was elected to take over command, but not four months later his residence was shelled with heavy artillery by Eyadéma's army. Heavy fighting continued into 1993.

Terror strikes against the independent press and political assassination attempts became commonplace, while the promised 'transition' to democracy came to a standstill. The opposition continued to call geneal strikes, leading to further violence by the army and the exodus of hundreds of thousands of southerners to Ghana and Benin. Using intimidation tactics and clever political machinations that disqualified one opposition party and caused another to refuse to participate, Eyadéma won the 1993 presidential elections with more than 96% of the vote. In the years following, opposition parties have lost most of their steam and Eyadéma's control has become almost as firm as before the crisis began.

In August 1996, Prime Minister Edem Kodjo resigned, and the planning minister, Kwassi Klutse, was appointed prime minister. Eyadéma won another five-year term in June 1998 with 52% of the vote, nearly being defeated by Gilchrist Olympio, son of Sylvanus Olympio. Later investigations revealed widespread human rights abuses.

In 2002, in what critics called a 'constitutional coup', the national assembly voted unanimously to change the constitution and allow Eyadéma to 'sacrifice himself again' and run for a third term during the 2003 presidential elections. The constitutional change eliminated presidential term limits. Meanwhile, Gilchrist Olympio's attempts to beat the man who overthrew his father were scuppered yet again when he was banned from running on a tax-law technicality.

Despite allegations of electoral fraud, Eyadéma won 57% of the votes in the 2003 elections, which international observers from the African Union described as generally free and transparent. For many Togolese, there was little optimism for the future and a prevailing sense of déjà vu as Eyadéma extended his record as Africa's longest-serving ruler.

Current political situation[edit]

On February 5, 2005, Eyadéma died of a heart attack. Shortly afterwards, his son Faure Gnassingbé was named by Togo's military as the country's leader, raising numerous eyebrows. Army Chief of Staff General Zakari Nandja announced the succession, saying the speaker of parliament (who should have taken over under the constitution) was out of the country. African Union leaders described the naming of Faure Gnassingbé as a military coup.[1] The constitution of Togo declared that in the case of the president's death, the speaker of Parliament takes his place, and has 60 days to call new elections. However, on February 6, Parliament retroactively changed the Constitution, declaring that Faure would hold office for the rest of his father's term, with elections deferred until 2008.

The African Union described the takeover as a military coup d'état.[2] International pressure came also from the United Nations. Within Togo, opposition to the takeover culminated in riots in which four people died. In response, Gnassingbé agreed to hold elections in April 2005. On February 25, Gnassingbé resigned as president, soon after accepting nomination to run for the office in April. Parliament designated Deputy Speaker Bonfoh Abbass as interim president until the inauguration of the election winner.[3] On May 3, 2005, Gnassingbé was sworn in as the new president garnering 60% of the vote according to official results. Disquiet has continued however with the opposition declaring the voting rigged, claiming the military stole ballot boxes from various polling stations in the South, as well as other election irregularities, such as telecommunication shutdown.[4] The European Union has suspended aid in support of the opposition claims, while the African Union and the United States have declared the vote "reasonably fair" and accepted the outcome. The Nigerian president and Chair of the AU, Olusẹgun Ọbasanjọ, has sought to negotiate between the incumbent government and the opposition to establish a coalition government, but surprisingly rejected an AU Commission appointment of former Zambian president, Kenneth Kaunda, as special AU envoy to Togo.[5][6] Later in June, President Gnassingbe named opposition leader Edem Kodjo as the prime Minister.

As of April 2006 reconciliation talks between the government and the opposition are in progress, said talks were suspended after Eyadema's death in 2005. In August the government and the opposition signed an accord providing for the participation of opposition parties in a transitional government.

Executive branch[edit]

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Faure Gnassingbé Rally for the Togolese People 4 May 2005
Prime Minister Kwesi Ahoomey-Zunu Patriotic Pan-African Convergence 23 July 2012

The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The prime minister is appointed by the president. The Council of Ministers is appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister.

Legislative branch[edit]

The National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) has 81 members, elected for a five-year term in single-seat constituencies. Togo is a one party dominant state with the Rally of the Togolese People in power. Opposition parties are allowed, but are widely considered to have no real chance of gaining power.

Political parties and elections[edit]

For other political parties see List of political parties in Togo. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Togo.
e • d Summary of the 4 March 2010 Togo presidential election results
Candidates – nominating parties Votes %
Faure GnassingbéRally for the Togolese People 1,234,044 60.9
Jean-Pierre FabreUnion of Forces for Change 692,584 33.9
Yawovi AgboyiboAction Committee for Renewal 60,388 3.0
Agbéyomé KodjoOrganization for the Construction of a United Togo 17,397 0.9
Brigitte Adjamagbo-JohnsonDemocratic Convention of African Peoples 13,451 0.7
Bassabi KagbaraPan-African Democratic Party 8,357 0.4
Nicolas LawsonParty for Renewal and Redemption 6,029 0.3
Total (turnout 65.7%) 2,040,506  
Registered voters 3,599,306
Total votes 2,119,829
Invalid or blank votes (1.6%) 79,283
e • d Summary of the 14 October 2007 National Assembly of Togo election results
Parties Votes % Seats
Rally for the Togolese People (Rassemblement du Peuple Togolais) 922,636 39.36 50
Union of Forces for Change (Union des Forces du Changement) 867,507 37.01 27
Action Committee for Renewal (Comité d'Action pour la Renouveau) 192,618 8.22 4
Independents 59,614 2.54
Patriotic Pan-African Convergence (Convergence Patriotique Panafricaine) 43,898 1.87
Democratic Convention of African Peoples (Convention Démocratique des Peuples Africains) 38,347 1.64
Party of Democrats for Renewal (Parti des Démocrates pour le Renouveau) 24,260 1.03
Socialist Pact for Renewal (Pacte Socialiste pour le Renouveau) 23,254 0.99
Alliance of Democrats for Integral Development (Alliance des Démocrates pour le Développement Intégral) 21,441 0.91
Democratic Alliance for the Fatherland (Alliance Démocratique pour la Patrie) 15,444 0.66
Democratic Pan-African Party (Parti Démocratique Panafricain) 14,141 0.60
Citizens' Movement for Democracy and Development (Mouvement Citoyen pour la Démocratie et le Développement) 12,741 0.54
Union for Democracy and Social Progress (Union pour la Démocratie et le Progrès Social) 8,362 0.36
The Nest (Le Nid) 8,269 0.35
Popular Union for the Republic (Union Populaire pour la République) 7,814 0.33
Togolese Alliance of Democrats (Alliance Togolaise des Démocrates) 7,542 0.32
Party for Renewal and Redemption (Parti pour le Renouveau et la Rédemption) 5,211 0.22
Union of Socialist Democrats of Togo (Union des Démocrates Socialistes du Togo) 4,229 0.18
Juvento 3,873 0.17
New Popular Dynamic (Nouvelle Dynamique Populaire) 3,536 0.15
Movement of Centrist Republicans (Mouvement des Républicains Centristes) 3,157 0.13
Coordination of New Forces (Coordination des Forces Nouvelles) 2,170 0.09
Believers' Movement for Equality and Peace (Mouvement des Croyants pour l'Égalité et la Paix) 1,718 0.07
Regrouping of the Live Forces of Youth for Change (Regroupement des Forces Vives de la Jeunesse pour le Changement) 1,550 0.07
Party of Action for Change in Togo (Parti d’Action pour le Changement au Togo) 1,056 0.05
JD 710 0.03
Party of the Union for Renovation and Development (Parti d'Union pour la Rénovation et le Développement) 221 0.01
PNTS 140 0.00
FADD 114 0.00
Others 48,535 2.07
Total (turnout 85%) 2,344,108   81
Source: CENI

Judicial branch[edit]

The Togolese judiciary is modeled on the French system: Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; Supreme Court or Cour Supreme.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Togo is divided in five regions; De La Kara, Des Plateaux, Des Savanes, Du Centre, Maritime. For administrative purposes, Togo is divided into 30 prefectures, each having an appointed prefect.

International organization participation[edit]

ACCT, ACP, AfDB, ECA, ECOWAS), Entente, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, ITUC, MINURSO, MIPONUH, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, UEMOA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WADB, WAEMU, WCO, EFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]