BY: Lambert Atsivor | Voltaonlinegh.com|
Togolese are said to be waiting with bated breath as results trickle in from the Presidential elections held on Saturday, February 22, 2020.
Six opposition candidates are in the race to unseat incumbent President, Faure Gnassingbe, leader of Union for the Republic (UNIR), who is seeking his fourth term in office after succeeding his late father Gnassingbe Eyadema in 2005.
They include, Dr. Gabriel Mensah Agbeyome Kodjo, 66, Head of the Patriotic Movement for Democracy and Development (MPDD), Professor Tchaboure Gogue, 73, Alliance of Democrats for Integral Development (ADDI), Dr Georges William Kuessan, 53, People’s Health Party, Mr Mohamed Tchassona Traore, 60, Citizen Movement for Democracy and Development (MCDF) and, Professor Komi Wolou, 56, Socialist Pact for Renewal (PSR).
A Ghanaian journalist in the Togolese capital Lome, Charles Epiphany Ativor reports that, provisional results from polling centres in the south of the country including the capital has put Dr. Gabriel Mensah Agbeyome Kodjo, a former prime minister and leader for the Patriotic Movement for Democracy and Development (PMDD) in an early lead ahead of the incumbent.
Dr. Kodjo, a former ally of President Faure Gnassingbe’s father was said to have been nominated by an influential Togolese Catholic Bishop, Philippe Fanoko Kpodzro.
Though, the Saturday polls have generally been peaceful, there is uneasy calm among citizens as counting and collation of results continued into Sunday, Ativor told Volta Online, adding that some opposition parties were however complaining of intimidation during vote counting in the north of the country, the incumbent’s stronghood.
|Total number of Voters||3,614,056|
|Men||1 742 311|
|Number of Polling stations||9,389|
The Togolese security forces were also reported to have on Saturday night besieged the residence of the leading candidate, Agbeyome Kodjo, a claim, Volta Online gathered, was debunked by the forces, who said their action was purely for the safety of the candidate.
Volta Online further gathered that, social media was shut down by the authorities during Saturday polls, while media houses were warned not to announce or ‘discuss anything about provisional results or whatsoever until the final result is declared by country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI)’.
The elections management body has thus set Monday February 24, 2020 to announce provisional result, with final results from all 9,389 Polling stations expected in a week’s time for validation by the country’s Supreme Court.
Ahead of the official declaration however, two of the candidates have conceded defeat in the polls and threw their support behind the leading candidate, Agbeyome Kodjo.
Professor Komi Wolou, of the Socialist Pact for Renewal (PSR) and Professor Tchaboure Gogue, of Alliance of Democrats for Integral Development (ADDI) have in separate statements congratulated the former Prime Minister and assured him of their support in case of a run off.
- This is the first presidential election after constitutional changes occasioned by anti-government protests in 2017.
- Per the Togolese law, a candidate will require a 50 per cent and more votes to be declared a winner.
- In the absence of that, the two top candidates would go for a run-off to be conducted within weeks.
- The Togolese Political history is dominated by the Gnassingbe family, which has ruled the country since 1967.
- Incumbent President Faure took over in 2005 following the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema who ruled Togo for nearly four decades after coming to power through a coup d’état in 1967. He has since won two re-election bids in 2010 and 2015
- Faure’s fourth term bid is facing stiff competition from his father’s former ally, Dr Agbeyome Kodjo whose candidature has the backing of an influential Catholic Bishop, Philippe Fanoko Kpodzro.