Togolese lawmaker Agbéyomé Kodjo calls for “reforms in peace”
BY JIBRIL TURE
Yesterday, September 19, the Togolese parliament adopted major political reforms limiting to a maximum of two terms the mandate of the president of the republic, and providing for two rounds of voting to elect the president. The landmark reforms came in response to the massive demonstrations organized over the past few weeks by the collective of Togo’s opposition parties.
But the session was boycotted by the opposition because the reforms failed to meet one of their key demands summarized in the following missing clause: “No one shall serve more than two terms.” The insertion of this clause in the constitution would imply that the sitting president, Faure Gnassingbé, who is more than two years away from the end of his third term, would have to step down once the reforms become law. (Because the ruling party does not have the 4/5 majority required for the just-adopted reforms to become law, the case is expected to be settled by way of a referendum to be organized in the next few months.)
So, the opposition has threatened to organize new demonstrations. In this context of possible violence once demonstrators took to the streets again, one of Togo’s leading lawmakers, Agbéyomé Messan Kodjo, is calling for “reforms in peace.”
“Nothing is etched in stone, and the same applies to peoples’ history,” Kodjo tells The African.
“27 years after the popular uprising of October 1990, the Togolese people is once again mobilized to secure the constitutional and institutional reforms,” he also says. Kodjo, who was once the speaker of the Togolese parliament, is also the founding president of one the nation’s political parties, OBUTS. He adds:
“OBUTS shares the people’s legitimate aspirations for a political succession in peace and without violence, for human life is precious and sacred.”
The former Togolese prime minister also remarks:
“For the sake of a happy and peaceful end to the crisis, OBUTS calls on the members of the ruling party and the opposition to avoid all forms of violence in order not to shed the precious blood of any child of Togo.”
In final analysis, Kodjo states:
“For the sake of a happy and peaceful end to the crisis, OBUTS calls on all the daughters and sons of Togo to abide by tolerance, Pardon and Love, so that in Truthfulness, Peace and Solidarity, we can join hands to build a united and prosperous Togo.”