#TogoDebout: Protests resume in Togo as opposition parties defy government ban

Opposition parties in Togo have called for two days of anti-government protests in the country, starting Wednesday, October 18 to Thursday the 19th. Today’s protest means that the opposition coalition is defying a government order banning protests during the weekdays. The government last week said protests will be allowed only on weekends.

Opposition parties are calling for an immediate end to the Gnassingbe ruling dynasty that has ruled the country for five decades. Eyadema rules for 38 years till his death in 2005. His son and successor has been in charge for the last twelve years.

His current mandate secured in 2015 runs till 2020 when he is eligible for another term. Reforms by the government by way of term limits have been flatly rejected by the opposition who want the term limits to apply to incumbent Faure Gnassingbe in retrospect.

The Togolese opposition are calling for a two five-year term limit for presidents as well as a two-round voting system. A bill was tabled before parliament by the cabinet during the early September round of demonstrations to reinstate the term limits which were struck out by the father of Faure Gnassingbe before his death.

The opposition rejected the draft bill to modify Article 59 of the constitution which has maintained the exclusion of the clause that says “no one can serve more than two terms”.

They believe it is a ploy to allow Faure, who is serving his third term, to attempt a fourth in 2020. Their boycott of parliament on Tuesday blocked the passage of the bill forcing it to be decided in a referendum due to the lack of the needed four-fifths majority.