06 March 2010

"Change Or Death!" Togolese Demand Freedom

Cant' say I've ever posted on Togo before, but I am always in sympathy with those who seek freedom, especially from a hereditary President and a corrupt ruling family. Good luck to them, they are going to need it.

Unfortunately, too often in Africa, when you chant "Change or Death" you are met with death rather than change.

Togo Reports Close Race For Presidency
With a third of precincts counted by Saturday afternoon, election officials said President Faure Gnassingbé, the son of the former dictator, had 51 percent of the vote. The main opposition candidate, Jean-Pierre Fabre, had nearly 49 percent of votes.

Mr. Fabre claimed victory on Friday, the day after the vote, and accused the governing party of trying to rig the election, setting the stage for a violent showdown as vote counting began Saturday.

Togo has been ruled by the same family for the past 43 years and has never had a vote that was considered free or fair. Opposition supporters are vowing to take to the streets in huge protests if the ruling family tries to steal this election.

On Friday, an angry mob crowded outside the campaign headquarters where Mr. Fabre was speaking, chanting “Change or death.”

“Togo will burn,” said Charlotte Lelatou, 57, an opposition supporter. “We’re tired. We want a change.”

Mr. Gnassingbé, 43, was installed as president by the military, which seized control of the country immediately after the death of Mr. Gnassingbé’s father on Feb. 5, 2005. Mr. Gnassingbé won an election later that year that was widely viewed as fraudulent and in which the military systematically stole ballot boxes from polling stations.

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