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Without enthusiasm, Togo is preparing to elect its new president

2020-02-20T18:23:35.237Z

Togo is voting in two days to elect a new president. A ballot now in two rounds where seven candidates are in the running. Outgoing President Faure Gnassingbé hopes to accomplish a fourth man…



Without enthusiasm, Togo is preparing to elect its new president

View of a Lomé market, with election posters by canidat-president Faure Gnassingbé on February 14, 2020. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

Text by: Pierre Firtion Follow

Togo is voting in two days to elect a new president. A ballot now in two rounds where seven candidates are in the running. Outgoing President Faure Gnassingbé hopes to complete a fourth term. Faced with him, six opponents including the regular Jean-Pierre Fabre, second of the last two presidential and Agbéyomé Kodjo, the former cacique of the Eyadema regime. But the campaign which ends this Thursday evening did not really fascinate the crowds.

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On the streets of the city center, the giant portraits of Faure Gnassingbé, accompanied by their slogans, remind everyone of the upcoming election. But according to Loméens, the campaign did not really take. On the big city market, this saleswoman says out loud what many people think in a low voice: “ In fact, I am not passionate about it. There is almost no change. The same people: the former president, the former prime minister… In fact, I am tired of all this ”.

A lack of enthusiasm which does not seem to worry the militants of UNIR. With its unequaled strike force, the ruling party multiplies door-to-door and meetings. This Tuesday, February 18, in the northern suburbs of Lomé, the activists, like Marie-Claire, work with a smile, convinced of a quiet victory for their champion: " With President Faure, our champion, there have peace and always peace ”.

The opposition wants to prevent the election in the first round of Gnassingbé

The opposition wants to prevent the victory of the outgoing president in the first round, but by presenting itself divided, it did not make it easy. A strategy assumed by Jean-Pierre Fabre because the leader of the ANC relies on the notoriety of historical opponents to put the outgoing president on the ballot.

The regime since Eyadéma and her son does not allow us to move forward. Faure, he makes promises and he does nothing. Especially on the eve of the elections, he wanders around, he first takes the means of the State. He will inaugurate projects on the right and on the left, but his projects remain at the state of inauguration ”, tackle Godwin tété, a member of the ANC for which the alternation is today a necessity.

► Also read : Presidential election in Togo: words of candidates

Agbéyomé Kodjo also intends to embody change. To do this, he relies on his knowledge of the regime of which he was a pillar in the time of Gnassingbé Eyadéma. His profile has already won over Monsignor Philippe Kpodzro, the influential Archbishop Emeritus of Lomé. For Gérard Adja, who heads the organization of his campaign, no doubt, the former Prime Minister is the man for the job. " He has been minister several times, he has been Prime Minister, he has been President of the National Assembly ... He has already worked with this regime that we are all fighting today and therefore he is a man of experience ", he says.

But Agbéyomé Kodjo and the five other opposition candidates fear fraud, Togo Debout too. Concern for this citizen front, which brings together some twenty civil society organizations, the concern comes in particular from the observation of the ballot.

Fear of electoral fraud

After refusing to accredit the Episcopal Justice and Peace Council, the CENI - the Independent Electoral Commission - on Wednesday withdrew its accreditation to the CNSC - the National Concertation of Civil Society - a decision denounced by David Dosseh, the first spokesperson from Togo Debout. " We have the feeling that the government wants to organize its election, in its own way, without the keen eye of the international community, and above all, without a real quality observation, carried out by civil society ", deplores he.

Tchambakou Ayassor, the president of the CENI, however assured Tuesday that all the elements were gathered so that the poll takes place serenely. " The CENI has taken all the measures to ensure that the poll is conducted in the best conditions and that the results that we are going to obtain are truly authentic results ," he said.

But will the result of the election be accepted by all? And will participation be there when the PNP of Tikpi Atchadam called for a boycott? So many unknowns for a poll opened for the first time in the diaspora, even if there are only 348 out of more than a million expatriates to have obtained authorization to vote.

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