Togo revises constitution, extends presidential term and imposes single term limit

Togo revises constitution, extends presidential term and imposes single term limit

Since 1967, the presidency of the West African country has remained within the family. Gnassingbe Eyadema took power through a coup, and upon his passing in 2005, his son assumed office, continuing the familial lineage in governance, according to Reuters.

Faure Gnassingbe was last re-elected in a 2020 landslide the opposition disputed. Under the new constitution, which disregards his prior time in office, Faure Gnassingbe could potentially remain in power until 2031 should he secure reelection in 2025.

This is a highly likely scenario because his party controls parliament. The new constitution, approved by 89 out of 91 lawmakers, says the president is elected by parliament for a single six-year term.

In contrast, the previous constitution, enacted in 2019 amid public demonstrations, permitted a president to be elected through universal suffrage for up to two five-year terms. This framework would have allowed Gnassingbe to govern until 2030.

However, the recent constitutional amendment extends his potential tenure by an additional year, reflecting a continuation of the longstanding political dominance of his family in Togo.

“This is the umpteenth preparation of a constitutional coup by a monarchical regime that has held the country’s destiny hostage for almost 60 years,” one of Togo’s opposition parties, the Democratic Forces of the Republic, said while the new constitution was still being debated.

While several African countries have shown a desire to break free from the long rule of many post-colonial leaders, change has been slow to come.

In recent years, several African countries, such as the Central African Republic, Rwanda, the Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, and Guinea, have implemented constitutional amendments and other legal modifications to enable their presidents to prolong their stay in power.

The West and Central African region has also witnessed eight military coups in the past three years.

Under President Faure Gnassingbe’s leadership, violent police crackdowns on political demonstrations have become commonplace, mirroring the repressive tactics employed during his father’s lengthy tenure

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