Feature Article of Monday, 11 September 2017
Columnist: Nana Yaw Osei
Perhaps the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) started with Gnassingbe Eyadema in 1975 and was destined to reach its anticlimax with his own son, Faure Gnassingbe.
In Togo, political temperatures are simmering over the wanton disregard of 1992 constitution.
Faure Gnassingbe and his predecessor government which coincidentally was led by his own biological father, Gnassinbge Eyadema have denied the citizens of Togo, the benefits of a deep-rooted democratic governance from 1967 till the present time. Massive demonstrations against Gnassingbe dynasty have been saddled with bloody repressions.
The doleful issue here is that ECOWAS, which had been instrumental in curbing political instability in the West African Sub-Region, is now a toothless bulldog headed by the same Faure Gnassingbe.
Now that the growing discontent against dynastic despotism has been encumbered with political intimidations and Faure Gnassimgbe is the political head of ECOWAS, who will champion the cause of plummeting the Togolese tension into its lowest ebb?
Unquestionably, I was neither behaving as a natural pessimist nor a prophet of doom, when one of my previous articles raised concerns about the locus standi of Faure Gnassingbe, the president of Togo to lead ECOWAS.
The West African regional organization did not only cast doubts on its integrity but equally turbocharged the oppressive dynastic regime of Togo by giving a nod to the current President of Togo as its leader without recourse to political happenings which brought Faure Gnassingbe to power. How dare you ECOWAS!
After the death of Eyadema in 2005, General Zachari Nandja together with some unscrupulous officers in the high military echelon rebuked the Togolese constitution by pledging allegiance to Faure at the expense of the country’s 1992 supreme law.
In the view of Professor Banjo Adewale of the political science department of the University of Zululand in faraway Republic of South Africa, Togolese military in 2005, resolved to offset international pressure and to give their intimidation-rooted political maneuvering a semblance of a balanced political game.
The 2005 political happenings in the Ghana’s eastern neighboring Togo angered ECOWAS and as a corollary the West African Economic Community leaders threatened to freeze Faure’s assets and placed a travel embargo on him.
Faure and his partners in constitutional crime remained unflustered about the aforesaid sanctions and went ahead to decline an ECOWAS delegation headed by the then President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo an airplane landing permit (Source: Nana Yaw Osei, Is ECOWAS Validating Gnassingbe dynasty? Modernghana.com, June 7, 2017).
The political events in 2005, after the demise of Eyadema should have goad ECOWAS leaders to question the trustworthiness of Faure to lead the organization. ECOWAS goofed big time! Who will bell the cat in Togo now?
The Presidents, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Patrice Talon and Roch March Christian Kabore representing Togolese western neighbor of Ghana, eastern neighbor of Benin and northern neighbor of Burkina Faso respectively must begin a peace talk in Togo.
Is it not absurd, if not anachronistic, to expect Faure as a political head of ECOWAS to initiate meetings against his own notoriety? Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso will be affected by political instability in Togo. Currently in the elsewhere Asia, Rohingya Muslims refugees are escaping persecutions to the neighboring Bangladesh.
The Rohingya Muslims exodus hit a major setback with landmines explosions. Myanmar (Burma) military had been accused of frustrating the movement of Rohingya Moslems (Source: Aljazeera.com, September 10, 2017). In 2013, the UN commission on human rights claimed that the most persecuted group in the world were the Rohingya Moslems.
Thus, political turmoil in Togo will practically affect the neighboring countries just as Rohingya genocide is affecting the neighboring Bangladesh. Therefore, the imperative need of resolving the Togolese crisis cannot be gainsaid.
United Nation Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International and the neighboring countries must force Faure to halt bloody repressions. Togolese lives matter. They must be provided with opportunity to express their political views without bloody intimidations.
As Benjamin Franklin opined, without freedom of thought there can be no such things as wisdom-and no such things as public liberty without freedom of speech. Togolese must demonstrate their free speech through demonstration.
The bloody clamp down of demonstrators at Sokode which culminated in the death of some Togolese must be condemned by all and sundry. Faure must be forced to introduce presidential term limit.
ECOWAS must suspend Faure Gnassingbe as its leader now! The quest for a deep-rooted democratic governance in Togo with a presidential term limit must not go awry this time! May God almighty save Togo from political instability!