1884-Scramble for Africa; Germany occupies Togo and the Volta Region of Ghana together as its German Togoland Colony. German reigns for 3 Decades until 1914 when France and Britain Forces invade and overrun German Forces Capturing the Colony in the Run-up to the first World War. The Togoland Territory gets split into 2; British Togoland and French Togoland via the League of Nations 1922 Mandate.
Residents of British Togoland whose Territory was jointly Administered by British Gold Coast Authorities vote to join Gold Coast (Ghana) on May 1956 Referendum in the Run-up to Ghana’s Independence in 1957. French Togoland became an Autonomous Republic within the French Union by a Statute formalized by the October 1956 Referendum that was disputed by UN-General Assembly and some other local Political formations who accused France of manipulating the Process. Nicolas Grunitzky who was Pro-French Regime was Appointed as Prime Minister of this Colony still under France’s Authority.
A UN-supervised Universal Suffrage Parliamentary Election was held on April 1958 and Sylvanus Olympio a Key Togo Independence Activist won majority of Seats via his Committee of Togolese Unity-CUT Party making him a UN-recognized Prime Minister of the Territory still under French. His brother In-law Nicolas Grunitzky with his “Togolese Party of Progress-PTP” Allies lost in this Election.April 27,1960 Togoland Regained Independence and Prime Minister Sylvanus Olympio became the first Leader of the Republic of Togo getting fully confirmed by Togolese People as Togo’s first President in Unopposed April 1961 Elections. A bitter Nicolas Grunitzky and his Anti-Olympio Allies started plotting against Olympio’s young Government; Olympio realized their Plans to unseat him and in a bid to Arrest them, Nicolas fled to France where he continued plotting Olympio’s Downfall.
Post-Independence History-Olympio’s Grand Vision For Togo Exterminated At Get-go
President Sylvanus Olympio who was an Economist by Profession steered the young Nation on an upward trajectory striving to end France’s Neocolonial controls over Togo a move that didn’t augur well with the Paris Regime under President De Gaulle who had managed to put all former France Colonies under an Economic, Cultural and Military Yoke via the fateful 1945 Pact for the continuation of Colonization that he made all France Colonies to sign into as a Pre-condition for Independence.
In 1962 President Olympio approved the formation of Togo’s Central Bank to create an Independent Togo Currency in a move that would see Togo stop using the France controlled CFA-Franc. This continued to worsen his Relations with the Paris Regime that responded with Intimidation by demanding the young Togo Government to pay France 800 Million Francs as Cost incurred by France’s Colonial Regime in developing Togoland (Colonial Debt) in order to let Togo make its own Currency. President Olympio mobilized the Resources of the young Nation and managed to raise this colossal amount for France but De Gaulle wouldn’t let Togo slip off Franafrique control.
In a larger Scheme to unseat Olympio; France brought back Togolese who were in French Colonial Army led by Sergeant Generals Bodjolle and Eyadema Gnassingbe and directed them to ask President Olympio to Reintegrate them in the Togo Army. Suspicious of their Motive President Olympio rejected their Request. With the help of Paris Regime, the Two Organized Mutiny to topple Olympio. On the Night of January 12,1963 when President Olympio was planning to leave to Paris to officially sign Togo out of the Neocolonial CFA-Franc Monetary Zone the Two led Armed Mutineers to attack and kill Olympio in his Official Residence but luckily President Olympio managed to flee to America/USA’s Ambassador to Togo Residence which was adjacent to his Residence.
The then France’s Ambassador to Togo Henri Mazoyer called America’s Ambassador the following day to enquire whether Olympio was hiding there. America’s Ambassador to Togo Leon Poullada had left the Residence but promised to confirm this once he arrives at the Residence. On his way back to the Residence Poullada met the Mutineers who were baying for Olympio’s Blood in the Streets. Upon arrival at the Residence Poullada saw the stranded Olympio at the Yard. He got into the House and after a series of Phone Calls between him and Mazoyer he came out and left the Residence leaving the terrified Olympio alone in the Residence.
Within a short while the Mutineers stormed the Residence and out came with Olympio. They shot him 3 Times outside Poullada’s Residence killing him in cold blood. General Eyadema Gnassingbe publicly bragged about having pulled the killer trigger on Togo’s Independence Activist and Founding Father on January 13,1963. Sylvanus Olympio became the first President of Independent Africa to be Assassinated.
President Nicolas Grunitzky Short-lived Military Puppet Reign
The Mutineers Coup Committee immediately announced Olympio’s Arch-rival Nicolas Grunitzky who was in Exile at Paris as Togo’s New President. Grunitzky ruled Togo for 4 Years until January 1967 when General Eyadema Gnassingbe who was part of the Committee that made him President toppled him out of Office. Grunitzky again fled back to Paris where he would later die in Hospital after a grisly Car Accident in 1969.
General Eyadema Gnassingbe-Togo’s Life President
Former Colonia French Army Sergeant General Eyadema Gnassingbe installed himself as President of Togo on April 1967. For a whopping 38-Years;Strongman General Eyadema who survived a couple of Coup Attempts reigned with an Autocratic hand wielding Absolute Power with a Cult of Personality. Although he is credited with starting Togo’s Phosphate Mining Industry that stabilized Togo’s Economy in 1970s,his Reign is mostly characterized by Corruption, Tribalism, Human Rights Abuse, Crashing, Arbitrary Arrest, Detention and Torture of Dissenters and Opposition, Extrajudicial Killings and the 1998 Massacre that saw Amnesty International Publish a damning Report titled Togo Rule of Terror on May 1999. In 1997 Eyadema reportedly spent over $2 Million from Togo’s troubled Economy to celebrate his 30-Years in Power. In 2002 Eyadema used Parliament to arbitrarily scrap out Presidential Term Limit in order to extend his Reign in 2003 Elections oblivious of his sudden Death thereafter. This would however work in favor of his Son who would be backed by the Military to illegally take over from him immediately.
Gnassingbe Junior-The Unending Family Dynasty
His Reign came to a sudden End after his sudden Death from Heart Attack on February 5,2005 at the Age of 70-Years. After his Death the Military immediately announced his then 39-Years old Son Faure Gnassingbe as his Successor against a Constitutional Dictate that would have seen the then Leader of Parliament Natchaba Outtara take over as an Acting President. The Parliament quickly convened the following day to make an Amendment to Rubber-stamp Faure’s Takeover. This saw widespread Protests in what Togolese said was a Military Coup.
A Presidential Election was conducted on April 2005 in a bid to calm the Protests and Faure Gnassingbe was announced Winner against 6 other Candidates in a disputed Election which Diplomats and Observers cited Intimidation and widespread Illegalities and Irregularities. The subsequent Post-Election Clashes claimed the Lives of close to 500 People, over 40,000 fled the Country amid Violent Confrontation between Protesters and Security Forces. A Government of National Unity negotiated at Burkina Faso on August 2006 calmed the Protests.
Another Presidential Election was held on March 2010; Faure under his Father’s ‘Rally of Togolese People’-RPT Party was again declared the Winner. The Opposition Protested Electoral Fraud but the Constitutional Court confirmed the Results and Faure was in for his Second Term. The next Presidential Elections were scheduled for April 2015 and Faure was all set to contest for a Third Term.
Prior to the 2015 Elections, Opposition Parties MPs presented a Bill in Parliament to Re-introduce Presidential Two-terms Limit that had been abolished by Faure’s Father President Eyadema in 2002 but the Bill was defeated by Faure’s Party that had Parliament Majority. They again tried to introduce Constitutional Reform Bill on November 2014 but they were defeated again. Consequently, they mobilized Togolese and took to the Streets in Protest against Faure’s imminent Third Term but their Protest was violently quelled by Security Forces.
The April 2015 Presidential Election went on and Faure was again declared Winner with 58% this time under his new Party Union for the Republic-UNIR Party. His key Rival since 2010 Jean Pierre Fabre came second with 38%. Fabre disputed the Results but didn’t file a Legal Complaint. The Constitutional Court validated the Results and Faure was sworn in for a Third Term on May 2015.
On May 2019, Faure’s Party cunningly introduced a Bill in Parliament capping Presidential Term Limit to Two-5 Year Terms without Retroactive Application meaning Faure can now comfortably vie for two fresh 5-Year Terms in 2020 and 2025 which now clears the way for him to extend his Family’s Regime in Togo up to 2030 where he and his Father shall by then have ruled Togo for a Record 63 Years consecutively!.This Machination was passed alongside yet another obnoxious Amendment that now guarantees all former Presidents Immunity and Impunity from Arrest, Detention and Prosecution for Acts committed during their Reign. There were a series of unsuccessful Street Protests to stop President Faure from running for a Fourth Term in this February Election.
TOGO February 22,2020 Presidential Election
- There are slightly over 3.5 Million Registered Voters who on this particular Saturday shall cast their Votes in over 9000 Polling Stations across Togo’s 5 Administrative Regions
- There are 7 Presidential Candidates led by 54-Yrs old incumbent President Faure Gnassingbe who shall be facing a disunited Opposition led by his main Challenger since 2010 68-Yrs old Jean-Pierre Fabre, Former Prime Minister 66-Yrs old Agbeyome Kodjo, 73-Yrs old Tchaboure Gogue, 53-Yrs old Georges Kuessan, 60-Yrs old Mohamed Traore and 56-Yrs old Komi Wolou
- CENI the Electoral Commission shall announce the official Results with provisional Results expected Six days from the Election Day according to its Boss Chambakou Ayassor; The Results shall then be forwarded to the Constitutional Court for Validation
- There are fears of a fraudulent Scheme after Reports that Mobile and Internet Services shall be disrupted on the Election Day; A key Independent Observer Group and Catholic Church Monitors have been barred from monitoring this Election
- On February 24,2020;Incumbent President Faure Gnassingbe was to No-one’s surprise Announced the Winner of this Election with 72% clearing way for him to extend his Family’s 53-years Rule by 5 more Years.Former Prime Minister who had on February 23,2020 claimed to have Won this Election with 57% was Announced Number 2 with 18%.
Quick Togo Fact-File
- With a GDP Per Capita of $672 ranking at number 156/196 Countries in the World; Togo is still classified as one among the Least developed Countries and Low Income Economy/Countries . Over Half 55% of Togo’s 8.2 Million People live below the International Poverty Line of under $1.25 a day
- Togo’s main Export include Phosphates, Cement, Sulphur, Rocks, Salt, Gold, Precious Metals and Crude Oil all in relatively small Production
- Koutammakou; a Landscape in North Eastern Togo that is Home to Batammariba People and their striking Mud Tower-Houses known as Takienta is largely seen as Togo’s Symbol. This Region is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Togo is Home to over 37 Ethnic Groups; the EWE, KABYE/KABRE and MINA are respectively the 3 Main Ethnic Groups in both Numbers and Influence
- Togo’s official Language is French; EWE and KABRE are used as National Languages due to their large number of Speakers
- 29% of Togolese are Christians, 20% are Muslims while 51% observe Indigenous African Beliefs
- Lome is Togo’s Capital/Largest City
- Togo alongside 8 other West Africa and Central African Countries still use the 75-Years old Neocolonial France-controlled CFA-Franc Currency that was imposed on all former France Colonies in the fateful 1945 Pact for Continuation of Colonization. There are plans to this Year replace it with a New Currency ‘Eco’ that shall still be Pegged to Euro and Guaranteed by Paris Banque de France just like the CFA-Franc. This Agreement was announced by current France President Emmanuel Macron on December 2019 in what he said is a Plan to Rebuild France’s Relations with its former Colonies.