Mediation talks aimed at ending the political crisis in Togo begun over the weekend with leaders from Ghana and Guinea, guiding the process.
The mediation sessions, which would take place in Togo, Ghana and Guinea, is expected to result in an agreement on the controversial constitutional reforms being demanded by the opposition to end the rule of President Faure Gnassingbe.
A series of demonstrations against President Faure Gnassingbe has been unfolding for several months, and the country has been rocked by striking teachers and health workers, in a bid to exert pressure on the government to yield to the demands of the opposition.
President Nana Akufo-Addo and Guinea’s President, Alpha Conde, are currently in Lome for the ongoing talks.
The opposition coalition is demanding an end to the dynasty of the Gnassingbe family that has ruled Togo for 50 years, as “measures for de-escalation”, including the release of detained prisoners and the withdrawal of security forces.
According to a statement, jointly signed by Albert Kan-Dapaah, Ghana’s Security Minister, and Guinea’s State Minister, Tibou Kamara, the date for the start of the mediation (February 15) was set after “exchanges and consultations” during meetings on January 31 and February 1.
“The concerns of the 14 party coalition regarding people in custody in connection with the Kara and Lome market fires will be given priority, in a spirit of appeasement
“The case of other people still in detention for acts committed during public demonstrations going on since August 19, 2017, will be examined in the same spirit,” said the statement.
All the actors “agree on the suspension of the public demonstrations” during the talks.
The 14-party opposition, in a statement sent to AFP, said it took note of the announcement and thanked Ghana and Guinea for their commitment.
However, it said some issues needed “clarification”, and it would go ahead with Saturday’s demonstration to maintain the pressure.
The opposition parties want to restrict presidents to a maximum of two, five-year terms of office, and introduce a two-round voting system.
President Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005. He took over from his father, who ruled the country for 38 years.
By Nii Adotey/adrdaily.com