Togo: Opposition Coalition Calls for Mobilization, Today

Togo: Opposition Coalition Calls for Mobilization, Today

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A coalition of fourteen parties of the Togolese opposition has called for a mobilization, today, September 12, before the National Assembly.

Togolese MPs have been called to a special session of Parliament. Consideration of the draft constitutional reforms proposed by the Government last week is not on the agenda of this session.This constitutes for the opponents, one more sign of the bad faith of the regime.

The opposition therefore calls for maintaining pressure on the authorities in the streets. For its part, the government warns against an “illegal demonstration”.

Today’s special session will be closed, according to the secretary general of the National Assembly speaking on national television. He also pointed out that, under the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly, any item not on the agenda was not debated. This means that the draft law on the revision of articles 52, 59 and 60 of the Constitution, which takes into account the limitation of mandates and the two rounds of ballots, will not be discussed.

This extraordinary session convened on the evening of Wednesday, 6 September, between two large-scale demonstrations and the day after the adoption by the Council of Ministers of a draft bill on constitutional reforms. From this it was deduced that the session had to deal with the text in question.

The fourteen parties of the opposition coalition are calling on their supporters to turn out massively to the National Assembly on Tuesday to “keep the pressure” on the authorities.

For the government, this demonstration is “illegal”. The law imposes the filing of an application for prior authorization, five days before any event. “In any case, as long as demonstrations are outside the law, the state has the responsibility to take the necessary measures in this kind of circumstances,” warns the Minister of Public Service, Gilbert Bawara

Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson, President and General Coordinator of the Arc-En-Ciel coalition (Cap 2015) replied: “Every citizen has the right to go to the Assembly to follow the debates. There is no need for authorization. “

Ibn Chambas, the UN special envoy for West Africa, called for an extension of the session to consider the text.

Former Ghanaian President John Jerry Rawlings urged the authorities to « respect the peaceful protests ».

In a press statement issued September 11, President Rawlings said the “situation in Togo raises great concern, the number of people injured keeps increasing and the death toll too.”

 “The protestors could have adopted a violent behaviour by now yet they have kept it civil all this while and as such the government troops must equally adopt strides to ensure there is no regression into civil explosion,” he warned

“There must be a concise effort to point to how peacefully the people of Togo have declared and agitated for their political right. We must respect their process of getting their cause heard especially as it is characterized by non-violence,” President Rawlings added.

Photo 1: Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson, President and General Coordinator of the Arc-En-Ciel coalition

Photo 2: Former Ghanaian President John Jerry Rawlings