Brutal repression by Togolese dictator Faure Gnassingbe’s regime has forced more than 500 people to flee the West African country for Ghana.
He and his father Gnassingbe Eyadema have ruled the country for over 50 years.
A wave of protests erupted against the ruling family in August. It was sparked by demands to implement the 1992 constitution, which gives some democratic rights and imposes term limits on the president.
Farida Nabourema, a Togolese democracy activist, said, “In the past two months we’ve managed to get two international summits in Togo cancelled, to send investors packing and to run the economy down.”
There is also growing pressure from Gnassingbe’s international backers and business within Togo. After two months of silence the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) called for negotiations that “must lead to constitutional modifications”.
And France, the old colonial power in Togo, called for “immediate dialogue”. These interventions are a sign of Togo’s political crisis – and are totally hypocritical.
Togo has formed a linchpin in the French state’s policy of “Franceafrique”, dominating its former African colonies. And the Eyadema regime willingly sold the country to international capital and suppressed the left and workers’ movement.
France and Ecowas fear the situation could spiral out of the ruling classes’ control.
To tear down the regime—and not replace Gnassingbe with another French imperialist lackey—will take mobilisation from working class people.
Election results from the Czech Republic last week are another warning to the left.
Anger at the European Union was a key factor. In eastern Europe this has been channelled in a right wing direction with governments posturing about Muslims and refugees.
The right wing liberal ANO party became the largest party with 30 percent of the vote. It’s run by multimillionaire Andrej Babis.
Babis, the outgoing finance minister, pitched himself as an outsider to the political establishment. He is likely to go into coalition with the Tory ODS.
The far right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party made it into parliament for the first time with 10.6 percent. It has links to the French fascist Front National.
The Communist Party got its lowest result since 1990 at 7.8 percent—but still outdid the Labour-type Social Democrats. They were discredited by jumping into bed with ANO and the Christian Democrats in the last government.
Both left parties made concessions to racist scapegoating.
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