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General News of Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Source: dailyguideafrica.com

Akufo-Addo wades into Togo crisis

President Akufo-Addo with Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe

President Akufo-Addo has waded into the political crisis, which has bedevilled neighbouring Togo for some time now.

It follows a standoff between the opposition elements and the government over disputed election results and the unending holding on to power by the Gnassingbe family in that country, according to the opposition parties.

On the first day of his meeting with both sides of the divide yesterday, the Ghanaian president, who led a high-powered delegation to the neighbouring country, urged the Government and the leaders of Togo’s opposition parties to be guided, always, by Togo’s interests, as well as the interests of the Togolese people, in a bid to find a lasting solution to the on-going political impasse in that country.

His reason was that the desire of the Togolese people “for a better life, their desire to live in security, their desire to live in freedom, and their desire to live in a state governed by the rule of law and principles of democratic accountability,” should be the desires that Togo’s political actors must fulfil.

“It is this dialogue that will determine the future of this country. It is the Togolese people themselves, and not any outside forces, that will determine the future of your country. It is extremely important to recognise that the destinies of our own nations are in our own hands. Therefore, whatever emerges out of this dialogue must represent the solutions that the Togolese people are looking for,” President Akufo-Addo admonished.

At the table of a political dialogue were members of Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé’s government and the Coalition of 14 Togolese opposition parties, in Lome.

President Akufo-Addo advised both factions to recognise that the spirit of accommodation and the spirit of compromise have to be the preoccupation of every one at the dialogue.

“And, that has to be the overriding concern of participants in this dialogue – the national interest of the people of Togo. It is important for the self-respect of the Togolese people that their leaders are seen to be capable of arriving at solutions that will advance the interests of the people of this country,” the Ghanaian leader underscored.

According to him, his job, and that of the facilitation team – which membership was made up of Ghana’s Minister for National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah; deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charles Owiredu; Ghana’s Ambassador to Togo, Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa; Ambassador-at-large, Dr. Edward Mahama; former Secretary to President Kufuor and experienced, retired diplomat, D.K. Osei – was to assist in the process of finding a solution to the problems in Togo.



“I don’t have a position in this matter. Despite all the links between us (Ghana and Togo), I am not a Togolese and, therefore, I cannot have a position in this matter. I can only assist in bringing about, hopefully, a durable solution to the problems of your country,” President Akufo-Addo added.

He expressed appreciation to the political actors in Togo for allowing him to be part of a programme that is essentially for the Togolese, saying, “It is a mark of confidence you have expressed in your brothers and sisters from Ghana, of which we are grateful.”

The president indicated that the links between Togo and Ghana are drawn from history, from geography, and from ethnic and familial ties.

“We have been always each other’s keeper. At the very beginning of the independence of Ghana, when there were problems, many of the political activists in Ghana found refuge in Togo, and we have seen the same as happening that, wherever there are problems here (in Togo), people find refuge in Ghana,” he noted.

President Akufo-Addo observed, “The interests of Ghanaians and of Ghana’s political leaders in the peace and stability and freedom of the Togolese people are something which is not negotiable. It has its roots in the history and links that I have already described.

“I have come here with no solution, prescription or magic wand to impose or prescribe any solution for the resolution of the crisis that has gripped your country these last months. My task is a simple one – to help in the dialogue that you, the various political actors of this country, have agreed to.”



The president noted that the outcome of the dialogue was critical to the future of Togo “so that peace, the stability, the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law, which are the demands of the Togolese people, which, in fact, are the demands of the African peoples today, are realised here in Togo.”

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