The people behind Togo's push for democratic reform

Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa delved into what was fueling protesters in Togo

The Gnassingbe administration can say they have seen this before but it would be inaccurate. There is something very different about the marches that have dominated the streets of Lome ,Sokode and increasingly ,cities around the world every weekend.

"It's true that the Togolese people have been protesting against the dictatorship regime for awhile but the current uprising is totally different from the previous movements. Today we have technology as ally to help us raise awareness easily in the whole world about the injustice in Togo. We are pleased also that for the first time, all the political parties of the opposition came together in one front against the government. Moreover the Togolese diaspora is very active in the struggles and we are devising ways to uproot Faure's regime. We should mention also that Togolese diaspora is ingesting a lot of money in the fight for various activities like communication, lobbying.... Just to see our dear motherland free from a 5 decades regime -Claudine Mathey, a Togolese activist with the Coordination Togo Debout USA tells Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa.

One of the world's smallest countries has had its share of a push for change since the Gnassingbe family came into power. Current president, Faure took over after the death of his father backed by the military and has held onto power in his own unique way. making political concessions and applying force when he sees the need, All in a bid to build his power base and popularity.


His opponents however think differently.

"We believe that a government that has its people on the streets protesting has lost its legitimacy and we are a strong believer that legitimacy precedes legality. Therefore, as we hit whether the streets of Lome, Paris, Washington DC, Ottawa..... We want to remind the government that they are illegitimate and they should surrender to the people's desire which is their departure from the presidential office. We also know that the protests are disrupting the normal way of business  which is hurting the economy of the country. Therefore we are certain that in order to prevent a total chaos, the government will have to negotiate and concede    a big deal of political agreements."

The agenda seems clear enough and these citizens of Togo, spread around the world are determined to see it through as part of their contribution to their family based in Togo according to Mathey.

"Indeed, the mobilization of the Togolese diaspora since August 19th is very remarkable. Everywhere in the world, wherever Togolese are, protests have been organized. The mobilization is very large everywhere within the diaspora: USA, Canada, Brazil, Germany, France, England, Ghana, Cote-d'Ivoire, Gabon ....

The long duration of the Gnassinge in power, the plunder of the country's wealth, corruption, impunity, increased poverty and the lack of adequate socio-educational and health structures are all frustrations that have pushed the Togolese of the diaspora to protest as well."


In the end ,the months of protests have just one aim. To have the ability to participate in a meaningful democracy without the fear of political  repercussion.

"We all want our 1992 constitution back, we want to be able to vote abroad and we all agree Faure must step down after his two terms that end back in 2015. Even people from his own political party but by fear of retaliation, they don't express it publicly.

The Togolese people struggle for 50 + years of their life with this father and son regime and it's time for real Freedom, real human rights, real democracy and it won't happen with this current regime."


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