Togo 2005

Africa

Yearbook 2005

Togo. According to countryaah, Lome is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Togo. President Gnassingbé Eyadéma died in a heart attack on February 5. He turned 69 and was the African leader who reigned for the longest time. He took power in a coup in 1967. The military leadership hastily appointed his son Faure Gnassingbé as successor on the grounds that he wanted to guard law and order and avoid a power vacuum. The President of Parliament, who, according to the constitution, would have been appointed acting head of state, was prevented from returning from a foreign trip.

The coup was condemned unison by the outside world, but a swiftly convened parliament changed the constitution so that the change of power could be approved retroactively and new elections should not be held. The West African Economic Cooperation Organization ECOWAS suspended Togo, called its ambassadors and introduced arms embargo on the country and a travel ban on a number of its leaders. The African Union also suspended Togo.

The regime closed a series of radio and TV stations linked to the opposition, and the ruling party Collection for Togolese People (RPT) appointed Faure Gnassingbé as its new leader. However, the foreign pressure became so strong that after three weeks he resigned and the new President provisionally assumed the post of head of state. New elections were announced and Gnassingbé won with 60% of the vote over the opposition’s joint candidate Emmanuel Bob-Akitani. However, the election was surrounded by severe unrest that, according to UN estimates, required at least 400 lives. About 45,000 people fled to the neighboring countries from the arduous advances of the army and RPT supporters. However, ECOWAS considered the election fairly fair, whereas EU diplomats reported such gross cheating in Gnassingbee’s favor that the European Parliament refused to acknowledge his victory.