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Togo parliament approves controversial constitutional reforms

Togo parliament approves controversial constitutional reforms www.whoownsafrica.com Togo parliament approves controversial constitutional reforms www.whoownsafrica.com
Togo parliament approves controversial constitutional reforms www.whoownsafrica.com

In a move that has stirred controversy and sparked widespread criticism, the Togo parliament has recently approved contentious constitutional reforms that have drawn sharp criticism and accusations of a constitutional coup.

The changes to the constitution, which were initially passed in a vote in March, have faced backlash and opposition from various quarters within the country.

Togo parliament approves controversial constitutional reforms www.whoownsafrica.com
Togo parliament approves controversial constitutional reforms www.whoownsafrica.com

The amendments to the constitution are centered around presidential term limits and the manner in which presidents are elected, both of which have direct implications for the current ruling regime led by President Faure Gnassingbé.

President Gnassingbe, who has been in power for 19 years, inherited the presidency from his father, who seized power in a coup in 1967.

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The amendments include an extension of presidential terms from five to six years, with a limit of one term. Additionally, the president will no longer be elected through universal suffrage but by members of parliament.

Critics of the constitutional changes have expressed concerns that these amendments could pave the way for President Gnassingbe and his family to further entrench their grip on power.

With the introduction of a parliamentary system of government and the exclusion of time already spent in office, President Gnassingbe could potentially remain in power until 2031 if he is re-elected in 2025, a scenario that seems increasingly likely given the ruling party’s control of parliament.

Opposition politicians and civil society groups have strongly condemned the amendments, labeling them as a blatant attempt by the ruling regime to manipulate the democratic process and consolidate power.

In a joint statement, a coalition of 17 civil society organizations accused the government of pushing through reforms that serve to “confiscate power” and undermine any prospects of genuine democratic change in the country.

Togo parliament approves controversial constitutional reforms www.whoownsafrica.com
Togo parliament approves controversial constitutional reforms www.whoownsafrica.com

Calls for action against controversial amendments to constitutions allowing presidents to extend their terms in office have been made by various countries in West Africa, including the Central African Republic, Rwanda, Congo Republic, Ivory Coast, and Guinea.

In recent years, there have been numerous instances of leaders manipulating laws to cling to power beyond their constitutional limits.

The West and Central African region has also been plagued by military coups, with eight coups occurring in the past three years alone. Under Faure Gnassingbe’s leadership, violent crackdowns on political demonstrations have become common, reminiscent of his father’s authoritarian rule.

Gnassingbe’s reelection in 2020 was marred by disputes from the opposition, highlighting the growing discontent with his government. The new constitutional amendments have also introduced a powerful new position, president of the council of ministers, which grants extensive authority over government affairs.

The international community, including the main political and economic bloc ECOWAS, has been urged to take action against these undemocratic practices in the region, as leaders continue to consolidate power at the expense of democracy and the will of the people.


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