Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbé has won a fourth term in power, the national electoral commission declared on Monday. According to preliminary results, he received 72% of the vote, defeating six other candidates. Gnassingbé’s closest rival and main opposition leader, Agbéyomé Kodjo, clinched only 18% of the popular vote cast in the election. The final results are expected to be announced by the Supreme Court this week.
However, Kodjo has accused the government of having rigged the election with claims that there were ghost polling booths and multiple voting by the ruling party supporters.
“It is an insult to the intelligence of the Togolese to say that they loved the dictatorship from father to son for over 50 years so much that they voted for his new term,” said Clément Klutse, Germany-based Togolese and Hamburg communal politician, commenting on the election. “Togo is on the way back to troubled times. We should also take note of this in Germany.”
Hopes that the election could bring an end to the more than 50 years of the Gnassingbé family rule of the West African country of 8 million people were dashed. The party has obviously become too entrenched to be dislodged despite the popular disaffection in the country as the electoral process is anything but transparent.
Togo, which attained independence in 1960 from the French, has been ruled since 1967 by the Gnassingbé family – father Gnassingbé Eyadema ruled from 1967 until his death in 2005, when his son, Faure assumed power.
With his latest victory, President Gnassingbé could potentially stay in office until 2030. Constitutional changes, which sparked huge protests in 2017-18, were approved last year allowing him to seek re-election.