Togo Domestic Issues

By | June 5, 2021

Political Parties

In total there are over 100 registered parties in Togo. The ruling party is the Union pour la République (Unir), the successor to the Rassemblement du Peuple Togolais (RPT), which was dissolved by President Faure Gnassingbé on April 14, 2012. The formerly strongest opposition party, the Union des Forces de Changement (UFC), was led for decades by Gilchrist Olympio, the son of the first Togolese President Sylvanus Olympio. Since May 2010, the UFC was involved in the government with five ministers for the first time, and in the Ahoomey-Zunu government of September 17, 2013, it provided three ministers. The compromise-ready step Olympios to government negotiations with President Faure Gnassingbé led in October 2010 to a split of the radical opposition forces around the presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre and to the re-establishment of the Alliance Nationale pour le Changement (ANC) party. In November 2017, the now 81-year-old Gilchrist Olympio announced his retirement from politics.

At the end of November 2014, Tikpi Achadam presented the Parti National Panafricain (PNP). In August 2017, the hitherto relatively unknown party managed to mobilize large parts of the population to demonstrate again for a return to the 1992 constitution. The government used the military and security forces to quell the protests and accused Achadam, among other things, of Islamist backgrounds. The lawyer talks about his political goals and the role of his faith in an interview. In the course of the ongoing mass demonstrations, 13 other opposition parties and the PNP joined forces to form the Coalition of 14. Including the ANC with Jean-Pierre Fabre and the Parti des Togolais by Alberto Olympio, a nephew of Gilchrist Olympio. The Comité d’Action pour le Renouveau (CAR), for a long time the second largest opposition party, has also joined the opposition alliance after internal power struggles. The opposition, which was otherwise rather divided, was united as never before in the country’s greatest political crisis since the change of power in 2005. Instead of running together in the parliamentary elections at the end of 2018, however, the opposition parties called for an election boycott and thus lost their influence in the parliament in which they consequently have not moved in. Since then, internal disputes have returned to resolution led by the alliance. On June 30, 2019, local elections were held in Togo for the first time since 1997, and the opposition re-emerged. Three parties, two of which previously belonged to the coalition of 14, have founded a new opposition alliance for the local elections. The largest opposition parties, the ANC and the UFC, each competed individually, the youngest resistance party, the PNP, whose leader Tikpi Achadam is still in exile, has also boycotted this election.

Civil society

It was only in the course of the wave of democratization at the beginning of the 1990’s that it became possible to set up civil society organizations on a larger scale. Previously there were only national representations of international associations (such as scouts, YMCA, INADESetc.) and church structures. A large number of clubs and associations were then set up. In the years of the officially suspended cooperation with the Togolese state, it was almost exclusively civil society organizations with which the German Development Service (DED), which had remained there, cooperated. After the government negotiations in June 2012, the Federal Republic’s new engagement in Togo also provides for the strengthening of civil society. All major international institutions and organizations have civil society support on their agenda, such as the World Bank. Today there is an almost unmanageable number of civil society organizations everywhere in Togo. Some of them have come together in umbrella organizations, such as the Concertation Nationale de la Société Civile au Togo.

In October 2014, the Prime Minister Ahoomey-Zunu called one month of citizenship in order to appeal to the common sense of the citizens and on 19 and 20 January 2016 was the first time that ‘the Civil Society Day’ instead.

Since a large number of Togoers have no identity cards or other forms of identification, the ‘Martin Luther King Movement’ is calling on the government to reduce the cost of these papers and to simplify the procedures.

LGBTQI * homosexuality and rights

According to topb2bwebsites, gender diversity and identity are issues in Togo that are not yet part of the social discourse. Homosexual acts are forbidden by law and are punishable by fines and imprisonment. In addition, there are no laws that protect LGBTQI * from discrimination. Most recently, in April 2017, following the general review by the UN Human Rights Committee on Togo, the Togolese government was asked to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and, among other things, to protect LGBTI people from violence by revising the criminal code guarantee. The government has rejected all recommendations and justified them with the support of the population in the country on this topic.

Homosexuality is subject to a strict taboo that has so far prevented a factual discussion. The social ostracism of LGBTQI * in Togo is correspondingly high. According to a study by Afrobarometer, 9 out of 10 Togoers want nothing to do with homosexuals.

In the capital, however, there is a relatively well organized gay community that organizes parties and events underground. Certain code words and social media are used for exchange and networking. For several years now there has been an annual Miss Gay Togo election in Lomé, which is celebrated as the largest event and also attracts LGBTQI * from neighboring countries. The organizer is the first LGBTI organization in Togo, the Club of Seven Days. Nevertheless, lesbian women in Togo still have significantly fewer opportunities and are met with open rejection and even death threats. There seem to be niches in the spiritual realm, as the film ‘L’Esprit de Madjid’ shows.

The prison in Lomé Togo