Sitting Togolese president sworn in for third time but opposition still kicks
Togo’s constitutional court swore in incumbent President Faure Gnassingbe for a third term in office yesterday (Monday), prolonging for another five years his family’s nearly half-century rule over the West African nation. However, the opposition is kicking, reviving fears of the kind of violence that broke out after an earlier election.
Togo’s election commission announced a comfortable victory for Gnassingbe in the largely peaceful April 25 vote, saying he took 58.75% of the more than 1.2 million votes cast.
Despite tensions that followed the announcement of his victory last month and saw regional leaders travel to Lome to mediate, Togo avoided the kind of post-election violence that saw hundreds killed in the aftermath of previous polls.
Nevertheless, the main opposition coalition has rejected the results of the election after Gnassingbe was declared winner.
West African regional leaders led by Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama flew to Lome Tuesday week to meet with Gnassingbe and members of the CAP 2015 opposition coalition, but failed to overcome its reservations about the poll.
“CAP 2015 and its candidate Jean- Pierre Fabre categorically reject these fraudulent results that have nothing to do with those compiled from records collected by our representatives in the polling stations,” Patrick Lawson-Banku, Fabre’s campaign manager, told a news conference. Togo’s election commission had announced late on Tuesday that provisional results showed Gnassingbe won the vote with more than 1.2 million votes, 58.75 percent of the total.
“This is an electoral coup planned long ago,” Lawson-Banku said, adding that the opposition will be announcing its own results soon. It also called on its supporters to the streets to protest against what it called a “coup.”
Gnassingbe has been president since 2005, when his father died after 38 years in charge of the former French colony. He won re-election in another disputed poll in 2010.