The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has asked Togolese to resort to constitutional means to address any grievances arising out of the country’s presidential election.
Making the call on the heels of threats by the opposition parties in Togo to use all means possible to remove the incumbent Faure Gnassingbé from office, ECOWAS said Togo’s constitutional court was the constitutionally mandated body clothed with the law to handle election disputes.
This was contained in a communique issued in Lome, Togo, on April 28, 2015 after a post-election visit to that country by the Chairman of ECOWAS, President John Dramani Mahama, accompanied by the President of Cote d’Ivoire, Alhassane Ouattara.
It said Togo could only build on its democratic credentials when the laws of the land were allowed to work.
The opposition parties in Togo have vowed to pursue all means possible to get Mr Gnassingbe out of office after he was declared winner of the presidential poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).
Mr Gnassingbé won with 58.75 per cent of the votes cast, while the main opposition leader, Jean Pierre Fabre, came a distant second with 34.95 per cent.
The opposition parties cried foul, claiming the elections were rigged.
But observer missions, including those of the United Nations, the African Union and ECOWAS, had all declared the polls free, fair, peaceful and transparent.
Purpose of the visit
The visit by the ECOWAS Chairman and President Ouattara was a solidarity one to congratulate the people of Togo on the peaceful conduct of the presidential election held on April 25, 2015.
It was also in line with ECOWAS protocols in extending support and solidarity to member states holding elections.
Mr Mahama had earlier visited Togo prior to the holding of the elections.
While in Lome, Presidents Mahama and Ouattara met with all key stakeholders, including the two leading presidential candidates, the Chairman of CENI, as well as heads of international observer missions who witnessed the elections.
According to the communique, the two Presidents, during the visit, urged all stakeholders to continue in the spirit of the peaceful conduct of the election to see the process to its successful conclusion with the declaration of the results within the constitutionally stipulated time.
Mr Mahama urged CENI to put in best efforts to conclude the tallying and announcement of the results.
He commended the people of Togo for their demonstrated commitment to democracy through peaceful elections.
He thanked President Gnassingbe and the leaders of the various political parties for their patriotism and also thanked CENI for its professional conduct of the poll.
He acknowledged and thanked the various observer groups and international organisations for their support.
Mr Mahama particularly noted the technical and mediation efforts extended by ECOWAS, the AU, the UN, CENSAD, the OIF, UEMOA and the Goree Institute.