Togo. The opposition, from August, repeated protests against proposals to amend the constitution that would allow President Faure Gnassingbé to remain until 2030. He succeeded his father in his death in 2005 and has ruled since then. At least 16 people were killed in clashes with security forces.
According to Countryaah.com, the government said in September that a referendum should be held after the opposition refused to support the change in parliament. 14 opposition parties want the president to only be able to sit for two periods and the decision to apply retroactively. That would prevent Gnassingbé from running for 2020. Regional leaders and organizations such as the African Union (AU) and West African ECOWAS have mediated unsuccessfully.
Leading opposition politicians arrested
One of Togo’s leading opposition politicians, Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson, was arrested and charged with “attacks on state security”. Another party ally of Adjamagbo-Johnson is detained. The party condemns the arrests and calls it “harassment”. The opposition had called for a protest in the capital Lomé to protest the official election results from February. Police banned the demonstration, referring to the corona pandemic. A few days later, the public prosecutor announces that he has launched a preliminary investigation against Adjamagbo-Johnson and her party comrade Gerard Djossou, who is accused of “endangering the country’s security and associating with criminals”. Amnesty International criticizes the authorities for trying to silence the opposition through increased repression and arbitrary arrests.
One is killed when police disband a crowd
One man dies and 17 people are injured when police in the northern parts dissolve a crowd celebrating a traditional initiation rite for young men. Larger crowds are violating the country’s coronary restrictions and the police are firing tear gas at the party to disperse the participants. Several police officers are also injured in the riot that ensues.
The Prime Minister is replaced
Prime Minister Komi Sélom Klassou submits his resignation and resigns with his government, something that has been expected since the presidential election (see 22 February 2020). The corona pandemic has meant that the change of power has had to wait until now. A few days later, Victoire Tomegah Dogbé is appointed to lead the government. It is the first time in the country’s history that a woman holds the post of prime minister. Dogbe is a close ally of President Faure Gnassingbé. The country is facing major economic challenges. The tourism industry, transport and the agricultural sector have suffered particularly hard during the corona pandemic. Recently, the World Bank approved the financing of a crisis package equivalent to 70 million US dollars that will help the country through the corona crisis.
Emergency extended during the pandemic
Prime Minister Komi Sélom Klassou says in a speech to the nation that the health emergency in the country is extended by six months. Parliament has unanimously approved the extension. To date, nearly 1,600 people in the country have been registered infected with covid-19 and 40 of them have died.