Tournons La Page Togo joins about twenty personalities and organizations and signs an open letter addressed to President Emmanuel Macron, who welcomes this Wednesday, May 10, 2023 at the Elysee Palace the Togolese president Faure Gnassingbé.
"Your Excellency Mr. Emmanuel MACRON
President of the French Republic,
Your speech of February 27, 2023 on the next African policy of France rightly invites to a "renewed partnership" and confirms your willingness to "build respectful, balanced and responsible relations" with Africa, "to fight together on common causes, defend your interests and help African countries to succeed. We welcome this.
In this perspective, you propose to build a new model of military partnership and you have chosen to discuss it with the Heads of State concerned. This is, we believe, the reason for your upcoming meeting with the President of Togo.
Given the particular character of the Togolese regime, we, the citizens of this country, have taken the liberty of addressing this open letter to you in order to recall the following:
- In terms of respect for human rights, Togo is not a model. Individual and collective freedoms are perpetually violated. Civic space is restricted and it is now almost impossible for civil society organizations to meet publicly in Lomé and especially in the interior of the country.
- Regarding freedom of the press, two journalists have had to go into exile since March 5, 2023 to avoid conviction and imprisonment by a judicial institution that has become a tool of repression in the hands of the regime. One of them has taken refuge in your country. This instrumentalized justice system is also used to silence dissenting voices and guarantee impunity for the perpetrators of blood and economic crimes. To this day, many citizens, women and men, are detained in jails because of their political opinions.
- Also in the area of human rights, children were killed during the turbulent period of 2017 and 2018 during popular demonstrations organized for a change in governance and for more democracy. To date, no serious investigation has been initiated to identify the perpetrators of these infanticides and punish them according to the law. As we write, the bodies of two children murdered in 2018 are still in the morgue in Lomé and the families are desperately waiting for justice.
- As far as economic crimes are concerned, corruption is systemic and obtains the development ambitions of our Nation: the case of Bolloré with the Togo regime which is pending before the French justice and more recently the audit report of the Court of Auditors demonstrating serious irregularities in the management of funds allocated to the COVID-19 pandemic response are striking illustrations.
Your Excellency, we are not going to dwell here on the dark side of the Togo regime because we would not have enough ink to relate all the crimes it has been guilty of against its own Nation for decades.
Nation for decades.
However, let us remind you that Togo is the only ECOWAS country that has never experienced a democratic changeover. This is all the more important to remember that in your speech, we heard you clearly say that France is "a country that considers that military putsches will never be a democratic alternation". We dare to believe that you are not unaware of how, in 2005, Togo's armed forces once again interfered in the country's political affairs by deciding, on the evening of February 5, 2005 and against all legal and constitutional provisions, to "entrust" power to one of the sons of the deceased president, in this case to the current president Faure GNASSINGBE. You have probably not forgotten the images of the military fleeing with ballot boxes stolen from polling stations favorable to the Togolese opposition during the 2005 presidential election which, despite the warnings of informed observers, was imposed by ECOWAS in a climate of extreme tension and proven planning of massacres which finally resulted in 500 deaths according to the fact-finding report prepared by a UN commission of inquiry. So many crimes with impunity!
Today, the elections are said to be peaceful, but are they reliable and transparent? Obviously not. The electoral registration that is taking place at this very moment in chaotic conditions proves that the Togolese regime is not finished with electoral holdups. Our country Togo
Togo is holding elections this year and in this regard, we are pleased to know that France wants to "close a cycle marked by the centrality of the security and military issue and the pre-eminence of security as a framework for everything" and that this opens the way, we hope, to more attention to the issue of human rights and the rule of law.
We hope that this will open the way to a greater focus on human rights and the rule of law. The challenges of our countries are not only "security, climate and demographic". They are also and above all democratic.
We hope that France will be careful not to continue to suffer from the rejection of these secular regimes that have benefited from its active support for too long: "the model of intimacy and interweaving with
France is "accountable for the past without having yet fully convinced itself of the contours of our common future." These are all realities to be taken into consideration in your relations with certain regimes whose legitimacy is highly questionable.
France has a "destiny linked with the African continent", that is undeniable. "The African land is a land of optimism and voluntarism" is also a reality. This is why, in a forward-looking vision, we invite you to make the issue of the rule of law a central value in France's next African policy. Thus you will avoid the trap of the amalgam of rejection that strikes these secular regimes that have benefited for too long from France's support.
- Ekoué David DOSSEH – Chirurgien
- Paul Dodji APEVON – Avocat au barreau du Togo
- Kohan Kidékiyime BINAFAME – Technicien supérieur de presse écrite
- Michel A. GOEH AKUE – Universitaire
- Koffi Rodrigue AMEDONOU – Journaliste
- Kokou AMEGAN – Avocat au barreau du Togo
- Jean KISSI – Conseiller municipal
- Kossivi Nicolas EDOH-SEMEGNON – Conseiller municipal
- Essi NUTSUDZI – Défenseure des Droits Humains
- Louis Rodolphe EFOE ATTIOGBE – Activiste des Droits Humains
- Brigitte AMEGANVI – Chef d’entreprise, défenseure des Droits Humains
- Michel M. KINVI – Sociologue consultant
- Kanyi AMOUZOUGAH – Fonctionnaire à la DGFIP
- Karl GABA – Consultant
- Ekoué FOLI BEBE – Ingénieur
- Joël K. AMOVIN – Universitaire
- Alphonse LAWSON-HELLU – Economiste et analyste politique
- Félix Ekué AYIKA – Consultant Sénior des Politiques Légales (LinkedIn)
- Gaetan Gbati ZOUMARO, Directeur financier
- Roger KEKEH, Sociologue
- Wisdom DOHNANI, Informaticien
- Tournons La Page – Togo
- Synergie Togo
- Collectif Togo Debout Europe
Read the original on : Lettre ouverte au Président Emmanuel MACRON