Togo. Several years of political contradictions escalated
when a new electoral law, adopted at the beginning of the
year, stated that electoral candidates must have lived in
Togo continuously for the past twelve months. The law was
considered tailor-made to exclude opposition leader
Gilchrist Olympio, who lives in neighboring Ghana for
security reasons. The opposition then rejected an offer to
participate in the electoral commission. With reference to
this boycott, the government postponed the election, which
would have been held on March 10, after previously being
both in 2000 and 2001.
In June, President Gnassingbé Eyadéma dismissed Prime
Minister Gabriel Messan Agbéyomè Kodjo, formerly one of his
closest confidants. Kodjo accused the president of abusing
power, but soon became himself the subject of a gross
campaign of dirt and was forced to leave the country.
Countryaah website, a new press law established up to five years in prison
and up to the equivalent of SEK 70,000. in fines for
articles that offend the president. The law soon came into
effect when an opposition politician and magazine publisher
was jailed for four months for false information about the
president's private fortune.
Finally, the parliamentary elections were held in October
but boycotted by the major opposition parties, giving the
ruling Assembly for the Togolese People (RPT) 72 of the 81
seats. The EU refrained from contributing to the financing
of the elections, which through the boycott did not become
the intended end point for many years of conflict.
By virtue of his vast majority, in December, the RPT
revoked the constitutional clause that would have forced
President Eyadéma to resign in 2003. He is now basically
able to be re-elected as head of state life.