Togo opposition slams president over refusal to reform

Togo`s opposition on Wednesday slammed President Faure Gnassingbe`s rejection of political reform before next year`s general election, but vowed to keep up the pressure on him to act.

Gnassingbe said on Tuesday that he will not bow to demands to restrict the number of presidential mandates to two five-year terms.

Currently, there is no limit on how many terms a president can serve.

Police in the capital, Lome, last week fired teargas at protesters marching for political reform after they defied government orders not to approach the national assembly.

Eric Dupuy, spokesman for the main opposition party the National Alliance for Change (ANC), told AFP: "Faure Gnassingbe`s statement doesn`t surprise us.

"It`s in keeping with him staying in power like his father, even though we`re not a monarchy. It`s a political power struggle because we`re not going to give up."

Gnassingbe`s father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, governed Togo for 38 years. His son took over in 2005 and won elections in 2010.

"We`re going to keep the pressure on the regime through protests on the streets. We`ll call on the entire population of Togo to mobilise to have these reforms before the elections," Dupuy said.

No date has yet been set for the vote and Gnassingbe, who said that "the constitution in force will be completely respected", has yet to declare his candidacy.

He said on an official visit to Ghana on Tuesday that any announcement on hin running would be made to the Togo people first if his party puts its faith in him.

Another demonstration has been called for this Friday, when members of 16 human rights organisations will take to the streets calling for institutional and constitutional reform.

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