Togo. Despite Parliament being totally dominated by the
RPT presidential party, Prime Minister Eugene Koffi Adoboli
was cast in a distrustful vote in August. According to
COUNTRYAAH, Adoboli was
criticized for failing to do anything about the country's
poor economy or improving relations with the western world.
As new Prime Minister, President Gnassingbé Eyadéma
appointed one of his closest confidants, Parliament Speaker
Gabriel Messan Agbéyomè Kodjo.
In the fall, the UN and the OAU formed a commission to
investigate the allegations that several hundred people were
murdered in connection with the 1998 presidential election.
In April, the countries of the West African Union signed
a trade agreement with the United States. Until now, they
had been commercially oriented towards the EU.
The ruling party won the parliamentary elections in
October 2002, prompting the main opposition parties to
protest the way the votes were counted. In December,
Parliament removed the clause in the constitution that
prevented Eyadema from running for a third presidential
In February 2003, the EU declared its willingness to take
part in organizing the elections in June, on condition that
the government gave clear signals of desire for a democratic
opening, would respect the election result and allow all
political sectors to participate.
Surrounded by allegations of electoral fraud, Eyadema was
elected in June 2003 for a third presidential term with 57%
of the vote. The EU had decided not to send election
observers, as the conditions were not in place for the
conduct of a free and fair election. EU aid was suspended
It was speculated that Eyadema - Africa's longest-serving
dictator with 35 years in power - was ill. He had not been
seen since the celebration of Independence Day in January.
In September, about 150 soldiers were sent from Togo to
Liberia to reinforce the West African peacekeeping force.
Eyadema died in February 2005. Following a proposed
constitutional change, the military appointed his son Fauré
Gnassingbé to the post of transitional president. A step
that was condemned both within and outside the country and
characterized as a coup d'état. Under the slogan "Togo, a
dead country," the leader of the Renewal Action Committee,
Yawovi Agboyibo, called for demonstrations, and two days of
demonstrations followed the military coup. The African Union
threatened to impose sanctions on Togo.
The April presidential election was won by Fauré
Gnassingbé with 60.22% of the vote. After the result became
known, it came to riots in Lomé, where the opposition
declared the election fraud and marked by a lack of
transparency. Gnassingbe now formally assumed the
presidential post, while at least 16,500 Togolese refugees
fled to Benin and Ghana from the violence and chaos that
ensued after the election. Many of the refugees criticized
the security forces for assault.
In June, United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights Louise Arbor stated that she would send a mission to
Togo to investigate the reports of fundamental rights abuses
in the country before, during and after the April
presidential election. That same month, Gnassingbe appointed
Kodjo to the post of prime minister. The opposition leader
thus returned to the same post he had held in the 1990s. The
president's brother, Kpatcha Gnassingbe, was appointed
Minister of Defense.
Opposition leader Harry Olimpio was accused by the
government in February 2006 of planning an attack on a
police headquarters a month earlier. Olimpo denied knowledge
of the attack, and stated that he himself had received
anonymous calls warning him of a plan the security forces
had put in to murder him.