The Togolese government is claiming that it has uncovered an armed insurrection attempt. The perpetrators are allegedly members of the Pan-African National Party(PNP)and are reported to have injured and killed several gendarmes. The pictures above depict some of those who have been arrested in connection with this apparent effort to organize a nationwide plot to destabilize Togo. Thus far 18 people have been arrested in connection with this “Tiger Revolution.”
This insurrection attempt does expose a certain level of paranoia, which has always been a feature within the Togolese dictatorship. Indeed, this is a feature of many dictatorships. Dictators often justify their methods by claiming that repressive tactics are needed to maintain stability and to protect the nation against threats; whether the threats are real or imaginary. In this case, the government of Togo is imagining a revolutionary armed struggle where one does not truly exist. As the images above show, the rebels who are trying to overthrow the government have talcum powder among their collection of deadly weapons. These clearly are not highly trained or well-organized rebels. They certainly would not pose much of a serious threat to Togo’s security forces given the type of equipment that Togo’s forces are armed with.
But it would not be surprising if the regime in Togo presents this as a serious armed insurrection against the state because doing so justifies the measures that Faure has taken to keep himself in power. Faure has been touted in certain segments of the Western media as a leader who promotes security and stability in West Africa in the fight against terrorism. In fact, earlier this year Faure was invited to England by Chatham House to discuss this very issue.
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Not too long ago Faure was denouncing piracy in West Africa, but Faure is himself among one of the worst pirates in West Africa. Faure’s brand of piracy is not to raid ships, however. Instead, Faure and other officials in his political party raid and plunder an entire nation. Faure is a man who stole the lives of hundreds of Togolese citizens while stealing the presidency for himself after his father died. Faure has no moral authority to condemn piracy in West Africa. If anything, it is the selfish and incompetent leaders like Faure who help to breed piracy and terrorism in Africa by sustaining an environment of violence, poverty, and hopelessness.
This “insurrection” indicates also a point that I have made before, which is that the authoritarian practices of Faur lead to the very terrorism that Faure claims to be opposing. Obviously, people armed with knives, machete, slingshots, and talcum powder are no serious threat to the Togolese government, but the fact that these people resorted to violence to express their discontent with the government is the fault of the government, which continues to use violence in response to non-violent attempts to create change.
Dwayne is the author of several books on the history and experiences of African people, both on the continent and in the diaspora. His books are available through Amazon. You can also follow Dwayne on Facebook and Twitter.