Togo unrest: Opposition’s best chance is to be part of reform process - Dr Antwi-Danso

Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso, International Relations Analyst

International Relations expert, Dr Vladmir Antwi-Danso, says repeated protests by opposition parties in Togo against the decades-old Gnassingbe dynasty may not achieve optimal results.

The Director of Academic Affairs at the Ghana Armed Forces and Staff College wants the opposition coalition pushing for President Faure Gnassinghe to step down to take part in a government-initiated constitutional reform process.

Citing Ghana’s own experiences post 1992, Dr Antwi-Danso said although there were some protests to demand a change of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) regime, the protests were complemented by active civil society involvement in reform the processes.

“In [Togo’s case], there is a certain semblance of getting at the man (Faure) rather than [taking part in constitutional reform process]. 

"I am saying that if they (opposition coalition) got hold of the reform process, they will achieve what they want,” he said on current affairs programme, PM Express, on the Joy News channel on MultiTV, Tuesday.

Thousands of protestors in Ghana’s neighbouring country have been demonstrating for term limits on President Gnassingbe, who has been in power since his father died in 2005.

The protests began last month. In that protest, security forces killed at least two people and injured several others.

Pressure from the protesters forced the government to introduce a draft bill last week on constitutional reform in Parliament.

However, the 14 opposition parties pushing for a return to constitutional rule and Faure Gnassingbe’s resignation see the government-initiated process as a farce.

An anti-Gnassingbe protester who was on PM Express, Ridouane Seidu, said Togolese are not convinced the reform process will stand the test of time.

But Mr Antwi-Danso insists that for a greater impact, the opposition must take part in the reform process every step of the way.

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