Togo Declares ‘State Of Emergency’ Over COVID-19

File photo/ AFP.

 

President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo has declared a three-month “state of emergency” and curfew aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus.

The tiny West African nation of eight million has so far recorded 36 confirmed infections and two deaths from the disease.

Gnassingbe said in a televised address late Wednesday that the unprecedented move was “proof of the gravity of the situation that we face”.

He said a curfew would be in place for an indefinite period from Thursday between 7pm and 6am.

A 5,000-strong unit of security agents was being set up to tackle the pandemic and a fund worth $650 million (600 million euros) was aimed at cushioning the economy from the impact of the crisis, the president said.

READ ALSO: Europe Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 30,000

Gnassingbe’s family has ruled Togo for over five decades.

The current leader took over after the death of his strongman father in 2005.

Gnassingbe, 53, claimed a fourth-term at an election in February that the opposition claimed saw widespread vote-rigging.

AFP

Coronavirus: Togo Star Adebayor Stuck In Quarantine

Emmanuel Adebayor is Togo's most famous player.
Emmanuel Adebayor is Togo’s most famous player.

 

Former Manchester City, Real Madrid and Togo international forward Emmanuel Adebayor is stuck in quarantine in Benin over the coronavirus pandemic, his Paraguayan club Olimpia said on social media.

The 36-year-old “took the decision to return to his country for the duration of the quarantine period declared by the government” of Paraguay, said Olimpia late on Monday.

However, in trying to return home he was put in quarantine in a hotel in the port of Cotonou, the largest city in Benin, alongside another 84 travelers, Olimpia said.

“His decision was to spend this time with his family,” Olimpia said of Adebayor’s attempts to make the long journey from Paraguay to Togo.

Like much Latin America, Paraguay is in partial shut down and has imposed a nighttime curfew.

The former Togo forward, who also played for Arsenal, Tottenham and Crystal Palace during a decade-long stay in the English Premier League, made a surprise move to the Paraguayan champions in February having left Turks Kayserispor in December.

“It’s like being at home. It doesn’t bother me at all,” Adebayor told reporters on his arrival in Benin, which borders Togo.

Adebayor is Togo’s most famous player and scored 32 goals in winning 87 caps, and helped his country qualify for the 2006 World Cup.

 

AFP

Togo Court Confirms President’s Election Victory

A police Armoured Personnel Carrier is parked in front of a campaign billboard for President Faure Gnassingbe, candidate of the ruling Union for the Republic (UNIR) party, and winner of the just concluded presidential election in Lome, on February 24, 2020. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP
A police Armoured Personnel Carrier is parked in front of a campaign billboard for President Faure Gnassingbe, candidate of the ruling Union for the Republic (UNIR) party, and winner of the just concluded presidential election in Lome, on February 24, 2020. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

Togo’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday rejected opposition claims of electoral fraud and declared Faure Gnassingbe the winner with more than 70 percent of the February vote and president for a fourth term.

In the final tally, the incumbent garnered 70.78 percent of the ballots while opposition leader and former prime minister Agbeyome Kodjodes took 19.46 percent, the court said

“Having obtained the absolute majority of votes in the first round of the ballot, Mr Faure Gnassingbe has to be declared elected president of the Republic,” announced Aboudou Assouma, president of the court.

A petition filed by Kodjo, who heads the Movement of Patriots for Democracy and Development, was annulled by the court which found it “lacked evidence likely to support the allegations.”

“I dispute with all my strength these results,” Kodjo, who had declared himself the winner before provisional results were released, told AFP.

“I consider that I am the legitimate victor in this election. I will continue to claim my victory,” he added.

The former prime minister, alleged “serious irregularities” in voting, including ballot stuffing and the use of fake polling stations.

Togo’s bishops, who back Kodjo’s movement, on Monday put out a statement critical of the election noting it took place “in a relatively calm climate” but “as far as transparency and fairness go the same cannot be said”.

Neither colonial power France nor the European Union has commented on the outcome of the ballot which keeps the Gnassingbe dynasty in power for more than half a century.

The United States voiced concern over the limited checks on voting and urged the Electoral Commission to publish results polling station by polling station for greater transparency.

Some 300 international observers were deployed, mainly from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union, with many African states supporting the incumbent.

Gnassingbe, 53, has led the country of eight million people since taking over in 2005 following the death of his father Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled with an iron fist for 38 years.

The electoral commission said turnout was over 76 percent. Gnassingbe’s tally was by far the biggest of all the successive elections he has won.

The president has insisted his continuing rule for five more years was central to ensuring security in Togo and preventing jihadist violence spilling over from Burkina Faso to the north.

 

AFP

Togo Election: Opposition Leader Challenges Result In Court

Agbeyomé Kodjo, Former Togolese Prime Minister and Presidential candidate of Movements of Patriots for Democracy and Development (MPDD), address supporters during a campaign rally in Kpalime in Togo, on February 19, 2020.  PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

Togolese opposition leader Agbeyome Kodjo said Wednesday he has filed a suit to overturn the result of presidential elections in which he placed a distant second to incumbent Faure Gnassingbe.

“I filed a petition to the Constitutional Court on Tuesday evening,” he told AFP.

“We expect the court to annul the false results published by CENI,” the Independent National Electoral Commission, he said.

Kodjo, a former prime minister, won 18.37 per cent of the vote on Saturday and Gnassingbe 72.36 per cent, according to preliminary official results. Turnout was put at 76 per cent.

The win, which had been widely expected, extended more than a half-century of dynastic rule over the former French colony by the Gnassingbe family.

The opposition alleged widespread fraud including ballot stuffing and the use of fake polling stations to skew the outcome in Gnassingbe’s favour.

Some 300 international observers were deployed, mainly from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU), many of whose members supported Gnassingbe.

The ECOWAS observers on Monday urged the candidates to “respect the results that have emerged from the ballot boxes and have been declared by the institutions” and resort to the courts to resolve any grievances.

The AU called on the Togolese public to “continue to work to preserve peace and stability, in order to consolidate democracy and the state of law.”

Gnassingbe, 53, took the helm in 2005 after the death of his strongman father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who seized power in a coup in 1967.

The small West African state has a poverty rate of around 50 per cent and is ranked 167th of 189 countries on the UN’s human development index.

AFP

Two Sides Claim Victory In Togo Presidential Election

President of the Togolese Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) Tchambakou Ayassor (2nd R), flanked by other members of the commission, announces the results of the presidential election at the CENI headquarters in Lome, February 24, 2020.  PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP
President of the Togolese Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) Tchambakou Ayassor (2nd R), flanked by other members of the commission, announces the results of the presidential election at the CENI headquarters in Lome, February 24, 2020. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

Two sides have claimed victory in Togo’s presidential election as the main challenger to incumbent Faure Gnassingbe cried foul, citing “revelations of fraud”.

The national electoral commission Ceni has yet to announce results from Saturday’s election, which passed off peacefully in the West African nation.

But Gilbert Bawara, minister of public functions and a strong supporter of the president, told AFP Sunday: “The lead of President Faure Gnassingbe is well above 50 percent, and even more than 60 percent.

“Victory is assured but it is up to the Ceni to independently proclaim the results,” he added. “We are optimistic and anticipate a clear victory in the first round” of voting.

A source in the president’s office added that “UNIR (the ruling party) has held on to all its traditional strongholds and has even done better everywhere, including in difficult areas in the south and in Lome.”

A widely expected win by the incumbent would extend more than a half century of dynastic rule over the former French colony by Gnassingbe’s family despite broad disillusionment over its failure to drag many out of poverty.

Agbeyome Kodjo, who was prime minister under Gnassingbe’s father, had emerged as a dark horse challenger looking to stop Gnassingbe’s bid for a fourth term in office, after winning the backing of an influential former Catholic archbishop.

He invited journalists to his home late Saturday to claim a thumping victory for himself while alleging fraud.

“Considering the revelations of fraud which marked this ballot, it is impossible for the outgoing candidate to be elected in the first round,” Kodjo said, adding that he based his assertion on 60 percent of the results.

“I have the conviction that in the coming week, I will lead this country,” he said, describing the vote as a “veritable tsunami” in his favour.

After voting ended on Saturday, troops briefly surrounded Kodjo’s home and that of the former Lome archbishop, Monsignor Philippe Kpodzro, a move the authorities said was for their “own safety”.

Bawara played down Internet cuts and disruption to social media networks since vote counting began on Saturday, laying blame on mobile telephone operators Togocel and Moov and remarking: “These things happen.”

Kodjo claimed the authorities had used ballot stuffing to skew the results in the incumbent’s favour.

He said figures from various polling stations showed he was in the lead in the capital Lome and the coastal region and had “good scores” in other areas.

The election commission has promised to release the official results on Monday.

Situation calm

Gnassingbe has led the country of eight million people since taking over in 2005 following the death of his father Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled with an iron fist for 38 years.

The situation around Lome was calm Sunday morning, an AFP journalist reported. Internet connections appeared to be sporadically interrupted however.

The authorities banned hundreds of local observers from monitoring the election and cancelled the system of electronic security at the last moment.

Some 300 international observers were deployed, mainly from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union, with many African states supporting the incumbent.

Six opposition challengers have suggested they will unite against Gnassingbe if he fails to win an outright majority and the election goes to a second round.

In 2017 and 2018, Togolese authorities faced major protests demanding an end to the family’s five-decade rule.

Despite economic growth of around five percent, around half of Togo lives on less than $1.90 per day.

But the demonstrations faded in the face of government repression and squabbles among the opposition.

In May, Gnassingbe oversaw an overhaul of the constitution that allowed him to run this year — and potentially remain in office until 2030.

Stability and security are central to the president’s message as jihadist violence rocks northern neighbour Burkina Faso.

Togo has so far managed to prevent the bloodshed spilling over and its army and intelligence service are considered to be among the most effective in the region.

 

AFP

Togo Begins To Count Votes As Key Contestant Alleges Fraud

An electoral officer sorts ballot papers at a polling station in Lome on February 22, 2020, following a day of voting in presidential elections. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP
An electoral officer sorts ballot papers at a polling station in Lome on February 22, 2020, following a day of voting in presidential elections. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

Togo tallied ballots Sunday after a key challenger insisted he could cause a shock upset despite what he claimed was “fraud” in an election President Faure Gnassingbe was widely expected to win.  

Troops briefly surrounded the homes of opposition candidate Agbeyome Kodjo and one of his main allies shortly after voting ended on Saturday in a move the authorities said was for their “own safety”.

Kodjo has emerged as a dark house challenger looking to stop Gnassingbe’s bid for a fourth term in office that would extend his family’s half-century domination over the West African nation.

The president and his supporters had been confident of a resounding victory in the first round, despite widespread disillusionment after 53 years of dynastic rule that has failed to drag many out of poverty.

“I have the conviction that in the coming week, I will lead this country,” Kodjo told journalists at a press conference in his house after the security forces left.

“Considering the revelations of fraud which marked this ballot, it is impossible for the outgoing candidate to be elected in the first round.”

Kodjo claimed the authorities had used ballot stuffing, fake polling stations and people casting multiple votes to skew the results in the incumbent’s favour.

The challenger said figures gathered from various polling stations showed he was in the lead in the capital Lome and the coastal region and had “good scores” in other areas.

The election commission is expected to release the official provisional results early next week.

Situation calm

The situation around Lome was calm Sunday morning, an AFP journalist reported.

Internet connections appeared to be sporadically interrupted.

Gnassingbe has led the West African country of eight million people since taking over in 2005 following the death of his father Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled with an iron fist for 38 years.

Kodjo, a former prime minister under Gnassingbe’s father, gained ground during the campaign after winning the backing of an influential former Catholic archbishop.

The authorities banned hundreds of local observers from monitoring the election and cancelled the system of electronic security at the last moment.

Some 300 international observers were deployed, mainly from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union, with many African states supporting the incumbent.

The six opposition challengers have suggested they will unite against the president if he fails to win an outright majority and the election goes to a second round.

That vote would be held 15 days after the announcement of the final results.

The authorities faced major protests in 2017 and 2018 demanding an end to the Gnassingbe family’s five-decade stranglehold.

But the demonstrations petered out in the face of government repression and squabbles among the opposition.

Last May, Gnassingbe oversaw an overhaul of the constitution that allowed him to run this year — and potentially remain in office until 2030.

Despite economic growth of around five percent, around half of Togo lives on less than $1.90 per day.

Stability and security are central to Gnassingbe’s message as jihadist violence rocks its northern neighbour Burkina Faso.

Togo has so far managed to prevent the bloodshed spilling over and its army and intelligence service are among the most effective in the region.

 

AFP

Togo Goes To Polls As President Seeks Likely Fourth Term

An usher holds an example of a ballot paper with a fingerprint marked next to the picture of Togolese President and presidential candidate of the ruling Union for the Republic (UNIR) party Faure Gnassingbe during a campaign rally in Dapaong, 
PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

Togo went to the polls Saturday in an election widely expected to see President Faure Gnassingbe claim a fourth term in power and extend his family’s half-century domination of the West African nation. 

The incumbent, 53, has led the country of eight million since 2005 following the death of his father Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled with an iron fist for 38 years.

In Lome, some voters were out early to cast their vote in the hope the election may bring much-needed change.

“We suffer too much in Togo, this time it has to change,” said Eric, a driver in his 30s, near a voting centre.

“I am not going to tell you who I will vote for, but this time we don’t want to be cheated of victory,” he said, adding that he would return in the evening to watch over the counting after polls close at 1600 GMT.

READ ALSO: Libyan Commander Ready To Fight Turkish Forces If Peace Talks Fail

Elsewhere, ruling party supporter Balakebawi Agbang urged people “to turn out in force to make the right choice” so the government can continue its work.

The authorities faced major protests in 2017 and 2018 demanding an end to five decades of a dynastic rule that have failed to lift many out of poverty.

But the demonstrations petered out in the face of government repression and squabbles among the opposition.

Last year, Gnassingbe pushed through constitutional changes allowing him to run again — and potentially remain in office until 2030.

The current president has sought to distance himself from his father but his regime still maintains a stranglehold over the country and its financial resources.

“I don’t feel like a dictator,” Gnassingbe told AFP in an interview.

Critics insist the vote will not be free and fair and the authorities have banned a civil society coalition and the Catholic Church from fielding observers.

The president is hoping to win a resounding victory in the first round but turnout could be low if opposition supporters stay away, as many have said they will.

Results are expected in the coming days.

Stability and security are central to Gnassingbe’s message as Togo eyes the jihadist violence rocking its neighbour Burkina Faso to the north.

The country has so far managed to prevent the bloodshed spilling over and its army and intelligence service are among the most effective in the region.

The president has also made a major play of a programme that aims to provide the entire population with power by 2030 and is pledging to create 500,000 jobs for young people.

But after 53 years of his family’s rule, the country still remains deeply impoverished.

The World Bank says that around half of the population live on under $1.90 (1.76 euros) per day.

Even so, the six challengers lining up against Gnassingbe face a mammoth task to persuade the 3.6 million registered voters to oust him.

Veteran candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre came second at the last two elections but the 67-year old has failed to keep the opposition united.

Agbeyome Kodjo, who served as prime minister under Gnassingbe’s father, is seen as a potential dark horse after winning the backing of an influential Catholic archbishop.

One name not on the ballot is Tikpi Atchadam, a politician from second city Sokode who shot to prominence in 2017 at the head of anti-government protests.

But he fled Togo for Ghana in the face of a crackdown by the authorities on his supporters and has seen his influence dwindle.

AFP

FG To Disconnect Benin, Togo Over $16m Power Supply Debts

 

The Federal Government has promised to disconnect Niger Republic and Togo’s power supply if they fail to pay their outstanding $16 million debts.

This was disclosed by the Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, Usman Mohammed, who revealed that the initial debts were as high as $100 million.

“When I took over as MD TCN, both Benin and Togo owed Nigerian more than $100 million.

“They paid part of what they consumed and out of the debts, it is remaining only $14 million for Benin. Niger owes less than $2 million and we are not leaving them.”

READ ALSO: Akeredolu Presents Staff Of Office To Olowo Of Owo

He threatened to disconnect the neighbouring countries if they fail to adhere to the payment agreement.

“In fact, we will disconnect them as we disconnect people around here.

“Electricity is not charity; we cannot allow people to consume electricity and leave us like that, No.”

Mr. Mohammed stated that they have restricted their supply and are insisting that they pay all the outstanding before they connect and increase the power off-take.

 

Four Sailors Kidnapped By Suspected Pirates Off Coast Of Togo

 

Four sailors were kidnapped and a guard was shot and wounded when suspected pirates stormed an oil tanker off the coast of Togo on Monday, the country’s navy said.

In a statement the navy said “armed individuals” launched the overnight attack when the boat was some 10 nautical miles off the coast of the capital Lome.

Armed guards on board the ship tried to repel the raid, it said.

“A member of the armed guard was shot and wounded and the criminals managed to escape, taking four hostages among the crew members: two Filipinos, a Greek and a Georgian,” they said.

The navy did not reveal the extent of the armed security on board the ship.

An investigation has been opened into the kidnappings, with the Togolese government vowing to “make every effort to find these criminals”.

The latest attack in the Gulf of Guinea — stretching between Liberia and Angola —  comes just days after nine Filipino sailors in a ship waiting in the harbour off the Beninese port of Cotonou, were abducted by suspected pirates on Saturday.

The West African waters have become one of the most dangerous maritime regions in the world.

Attacks on ships and the abductions of crew for ransom have become more frequent, especially along the Nigerian coast.

The pirates sometimes divert ships for several days, long enough to plunder the cargo and demand huge ransoms before freeing the crew.

Piracy has disrupted the operations of Nigeria and Angola, the two main oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa, and severely disrupted international maritime transport essential to the continent, costing billions of dollars.

AFP

Home-Based Eagles Fail To Qualify For 2020 CHAN

A file photo of home-based Eagles on training. Photo: [email protected]

 

 

Nigeria’s home-based Eagles have failed to qualify for the 2020 African Nations Championship.

Although Nigeria beat Togo 2-0 on Saturday at the Agege Stadium in the second leg of the final qualifying round, the win was unable to overturn the first-leg deficit.

The result means Togo’s Sparrow Hawks have qualified for the tournament to be hosted by Cameroon 4-3 on aggregate.

Nigeria participated in the last three editions of the biennial tournament but will now miss next year’s edition.

CHAN 2020: Nigeria Intensify Plans For Togo

 

The Home-based senior men national team, the Super Eagles B, have intensified preparations for Saturday’s second leg of the 2020 African Nations Championship qualifying battle with the Sparrow Hawks of Togo in Lagos.

Coach Imama Amapakabo and his team have been training at the FIFA Goal Project, National Stadium, Abuja since returning from the WAFU/FOX Cup of Nations in Senegal last week.

The former Enugu Rangers coach understands that they have a mountain to climb, having lost the first leg in Lome 4-1 and then overwhelmed by the same team at the WAFU/FOX Cup of Nations.

“We have a big job at hand, and I have been drumming it into the ears of the players that we cannot afford to fail. The Togolese won 4-1 on their home ground; nothing says we cannot do better on our own home ground.

“We have to be focused and determined. We must create chances and put them away because we cannot afford not to be at the African Nations Championship,” said Amapakabo.

The winner over two legs between Nigeria and Togo will book a slot at the 6th African Nations Championship finals scheduled for Cameroon in June 2020.

Nigeria finished as runner-up at the last edition of the African Nations Championship staged by Morocco last year.

The Nigeria Football Federation have confirmed that the delegation of the Sparrow Hawks for Saturday’s big match, which will hold at the Agege Stadium, Lagos from 4pm, will get into Lagos on Thursday, 16th October.

The Confederation of African Football has appointed officials from Niger Republic to officiate the match, with Abdoulaye Rhissa Al-Mustapha as the referee.

His compatriots Sadissou Idi, Abdoul Aziz Yacouba and Zakari Adamou Oumarou will serve as assistants and fourth official while Mr. Alim Konate Aboubacar, from Cameroon, will serve as match commissioner.

Togo Ruling Party Triumphs At First Local Polls In 30 Years

 

Togo’s ruling party has cruised to victory at the first local elections in 32 years in the West African nation that has been dominated by one family for decades, results said. 

Voters in the country of 8 million people cast their ballots on Sunday at poll Western power described as an “important step in strengthening local democracy”.

Some opposition parties took part after boycotting parliamentary elections last year in protest at President Faure Gnassingbe’s grip on power.

Gnassingbe has ruled the country for 15 years since he succeeded his father Eyadema Gnassingbe, who led the country with an iron fist for 38 years after taking over in a coup.

READ ALSO: Mexican Authorities Rescue 24 Kidnapped Migrants

Parliament in May approved a constitutional change allowing Gnassingbe to run two more times and potentially remain in office until 2030.

Preliminary results released late Friday by the electoral commission gave the ruling Union for the Republic 895 of the 1490 local council seats on offer.

The National Alliance for Change was second on 134 seats, ahead of two other opposition groupings.

Overall turnout was put at just over 52 per cent but participation was low in the capital Lome. The vote was not held in three areas of the country due to “technical reasons”.

The election came almost two years after hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Lome and other cities in anti-government protests, leading to deadly clashes.

Protests again erupted earlier this year in Togo, sandwiched between Ghana and Benin, but have since waned.

Political activists have been detained by security forces and the police.

The previous councillors elected in local elections in Togo governed for 14 years from 1987 — despite being elected on five-year terms.

Councillors were later replaced with “special delegations”, tasked with organising new elections, whose positions were often filled with figures hand-picked by the government.

AFP