Today marks 61 years of independence for Togo. The problem is that Togo is not truly yet free. Togo’s freedom was shattered in 1963 when Sylvanus Olympio was assassinated. Olympio was Togo’s only democratically elected leader. Another coup followed in 1967, which brought Gnassingbé Eyadéma to power. Since 1967, Togo has been under the domination of the Gnassingbé family. The current president of Togo is Faure Gnassingbé, the son of Eyadéma.
Since 1967, the people of Togo have endured every form of suffering imaginable under the rule of the oldest military dictatorship in Africa. Those who dare to speak out about Togo’s miserable condition are silenced with ruthless force. Despite these abuses, the dictatorial regime in Togo continues to enjoy the support of France. The relationship between France and the dictatorship of Togo serves as a continuous reminder that the colonial system did not truly end for Togo 61 years ago.
This day is not truly independence day for Togo. Rather, it is a reminder that the struggle which Olympio and others engaged in continues 61 years later. Patrice Lumumba once wrote: “The day will come when history will speak. But it will not be the history which will be taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington or the United Nations. It will be the history which will be taught in the countries which have won freedom from colonialism and its puppets. Africa will write its own history and in both north and south it will be a history of glory and dignity.” The day will come when Togo and the rest of Africa will win its independence from colonialism and its puppets. When that day comes, Togo can truly celebrate its indepednence.
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.