His Excellency President J.A. Kufuor
President of the Republic of Ghana
CONCERNS ABOUT THE INSTABILITY IN TOGO
The Council of Ewe Associations of North America (CEANA) is gravely concerned about the state of affairs in Togo and strongly condemns the abuse of the people of Togo and the actions of the authorities in that country, following the death of the ex-dictator Gnassingbe Eyadema. Their actions ignored one of the most pressing needs of the people of Togo and its neighbors: regional stability and peace. The situation in that country has created needless confusion and fear among its neighbors and the Togolese citizenry. As concerned compatriots and neighbors of Togo, we urge you to take a more proactive and bold step in ensuring that Togo does not degenerate into a civil war by upholding the rule of law and ensuring that a transparent democratic process is upheld.
During the reign of Gnassingbe Eyadema, Togolese were subjected to a repressive and an authoritarian rule characterized by disappearances and torture of dissidents and opposition voices were silenced, as evidenced in numerous human rights reports. In a practice characteristic of the Eyadema dynasty, following his death, his son sought to continue this repression as was manifest in the infamous seizure of power by Faure Gnassingbe and the terror that met sympathizers and indeed candidates of the opposition party throughout the campaign period leading to and after the elections of April 24, 2005.
While we commend ECOWAS and indeed the entire international community for their steadfastness in ensuring that constitutional succession was respected by demanding the end of the coup dâ€™etat that enthroned the ex-dictatorâ€™s son, we feel strongly that the regional body, failed to ensure that the speaker of parliament, the rightful person to succeed the late president, was sworn in. When Faure was pressurized to step down, the regional body did not finish the job of making sure the speaker of parliament as dictated by the constitution be sworn in. Instead ECOWAS accepted a puppet President to oversee elections. When elections were held, the regional body that was the main observer of the elections failed miserably in its monitoring of the elections. This failure is all the more amplified by reports of massive irregularities throughout the country that was flashed on TV screens across the globe. Pictures of armed pro-government forces looting, beating and stuffing ballot boxes were shown every where yet ECOWAS, which was funded by the European Union to observe the election saw a rather fair process.
This contradiction in ensuring the rule of constitutional law and in the monitoring of the elections reveals a deep flaw and strong test for the peer review mechanism. ECOWAS and the African Union present as a hallmark of their ability to move the region and the continent into the future. We fear that the job ECOWAS did was at best an appeasement of their peers and at worst, business as usual. Once again, due process is the loser.
The crisis of the moment must be managed, but as an organization representing all Ewes from Ghana, Togo and Benin, the ethnic group that is the base of opposition to the Eyadema kleptocracy, hence the most repressed, we fear that the trend of events may easily degenerate into tribal war if serious sanctions are not imposed on the RPT regime. For all the talk about government of national unity at a time when even such stable foreign establishments as the Institut Goethe are being burnt down with impunity, because Germany is perceived as sympathetic to the opposition, we fear that there is no end in sight. The ethnic strife in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast are very fresh in our collective memories and we fear that if no strong regional condemnation or diplomatic efforts are immediately dispatched to arrange a power sharing strategy, we may find ourselves yet with another Rwanda on our hands.
It is in light of these concerns that CEANA would like your Excellency to regroup ECOWAS, the African Union and other stakeholders, particularly France to begin a process of discussions to restore peace and tranquility in the Republic of Togo.
As an organization that represents all Ewes, both in the Diaspora and at home, CEANA is genuinely concerned about the lives of all the people in the sub-region. We are struggling to preserve our endowments precisely because our vision of a better tomorrow encompasses not only a peaceful Togo where justice and fairness prevail but also a region where the lives of all will be preserved and protected. The level of discontent with the continuation of the Eyadema regime is evidently high and that the sooner power sharing arrangements are agreed upon, the better for the sub-region. We will measure success over generations.
We count on your cooperation
Long Live ECOWAS
Long Live Togo,
Long Live CEANA
USA, May 22, 2005
Gordon Sabblah. Executive Director, CEANA
Dr. Mark Kutame. President, CEANA