Next month Togo will be holding elections in which Faure Gnassingbé is expected to be elected to his fourth term. Faure has been the president of Togo since 2005 when his father, Gnassingbé Eyadéma died. Eyadéma seized power in a military coup in 1967 and since that time, Togo has been under the control of a single family.
The father-son dictatorship that has ruled Togo for the last 53 years is currently the oldest military dictatorship in Africa. The regime in Togo has often drawn comparisons to the Duvalier father-son dictatorship in Haiti which lasted from 1957 until 1986. The parallels are very clear. Both Eyadéma and François Duvalier came to power with the assistance of Western intervention and helped power until their deaths. The two also engaged in murdering, torturing, and terrorizing the population into submission to ensure that they held power until death. Both men eventually died in power and were replaced by sons who are equally as brutal and equally as inept at managing a country.
The Duvalier regime in Haiti finally came to an end due to massive protests and uprisings in Haiti. In recent years Faure has been facing similar pressures. There were massive protests in Togo in 2017, in which protesters were demanding for Faure to resign from power. There are clear scenes that this pressure is impacting the regime in Togo. After years of demanding the reinstatement of presidential term limits, last year Togo finally restored term limits, although the limits are not retroactive, so Faure is able to run for two more terms. Moreover, Togo has yet to implement election reforms, so Faure is likely to successfully win a fourth term in an election that essentially amounts to Faure electing himself.
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.