AFRICA/TOGO - University academics are asking to stop the process of adopting the new Constitution

Thursday, 11 April 2024

Lomè (Agenzia Fides) - In Togo, where the Gnassingbé family has been in power for over 50 years, there will be no future presidential elections after Togolese deputies approved a new constitution between March 25 and 26 provides for the election of the President of the Republic by Parliament and no longer by voters. In an open letter to the President of the Togolese Republic, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, the African country's academics called for the process of adopting a new constitution to be stopped so that the debate on the amendment could be held by the newly elected representatives under fair and transparent conditions can be led primarily by the citizens who are supposed to decide in a referendum. "According to Article 59 of the Togolese Constitution, a referendum must be held for any amendment that calls into question the method of electing the President of the Republic or his term of office," we read in the note sent to Fides.
For this reason, we Togolese academics, who are aware of our mission as unbiased educators, strongly reject this process. The drafting of a new Constitution, a fundamental text for the government of our country, cannot take place in a climate of tension and strong protests. It requires a minimum level of consensus. " The letter denounces the fact that the National Assembly cannot under any circumstances adopt a new constitution, either during its regular term of office or during its extension. "The constitution represents social control over the entire society. In modern democratic systems, the adoption of a new constitution is, in principle, a power vested in the people, who exercise it by referendum." According to the new constitution, the President of the Republic will be elected "without public debate" by Parliament and no longer by voters. In addition, he can only remain in office for a term of six years: previously, the office of president lasted five years and it was possible to run for a second term. The parliamentary and regional elections, originally scheduled for April 20, will take place on April 29, 2024. This will be preceded by an election campaign that will begin at the end of the last day of the current protests, at midnight on April 13th. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 11/4/2024)