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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 February, 2005, 18:29 GMT
Were events in Togo a coup?
Faure Gnassingbe
Togo has sworn in Faure Gnassingbe as its new president to replace his late father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, despite global protests.

Mr Gnassingbe has vowed to be a "faithful and loyal servant of the people" in the place of his father, who died on Saturday.

But world figures have denounced Togo's army for its role in the transition of power and the African Union has described the move as a "military coup".

What do you think of the recent political events in Togo? Would you describe the events as a coup or should Mr Gnassingbe be allowed to inherit the presidency? If you live in Togo how do you feel about what is happening there? Send us your comments and experiences.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we received:

Another dark day for Africa
Dapo, Washington, DC

Another dark day for Africa. When will we see the light if our eyes are bloodied and darkened by actions such as these. I hope this young man (Faure) can sleep well at night. I have seen his type and been close to his type. The pursuit of power and influence prepped by sycophants is the bane of the African existence. Free your people and step down. Let the constitution as it was outlined be the terrain of governance. If you so want to rule, wait for the next elections and test your popularity with the people.
Dapo, Washington, DC, USA

The event in Togo was not just a coup but a disgrace to the African race. The so-called new leaders should stop bringing shame to Africans by allowing the rule of law to prevail.
Ik, Warri, Nigeria

I am sick and tired of oppressed people in Africa calling on the western nations to come and help them get rid of their oppressors. The people of Togo need to realize that they hold their future and the future of their children in their hands, and only they can get rid of their oppressors. They must reject the recent charade in Togo. They must must rise up and say enough is enough. Nobody or a nation can fight this for them. They hold the power in their hands and they must fight.
Dipo Akinsiku, Edison, NJ, USA

Why will we Africans continue to live in the primitive days and not learn what is right for good governance? In fact the parliament of the Togolese republic is a disgrace to Africa as a whole.
Emmanuel Harris, Accra, Ghana

This is a coup and everybody knows and says so... Africans should remember this: Togo is the country that invented what are calling today coup d'etat. Ironically it was invented by the same family. It was that coup that set Africa's development backward today. If we don't derail what the Gnassingbe are doing today, we will have nobody but ourselves to blame in years to come when the whole world is centuries ahead of us. We are way behind already; please let's not allow these people from the 14th century impose their view. Africa should stand up and chase them out.
Guy Bouaka, Togo

A coup d'etat! Yes without a doubt. Like father like son! A sad day for democracy. What is the point of having laws in place when they can be changed at will.
Murdoch Trengove, Cape Town, South Africa

The current happenings in Togo is a big test for the AU. The African Union need to act fast to checkmate this daylight robbery on democracy. However, if they could not go beyond condemnation with big grammars, then they should all prepare their sons and daughters to take over their positions whether completed terms or uncompleted terms like Gnassingbe Eyadema so that the whole world will see and cherish our type of African home grown democracy. Peace to the world.
Ajide, Abuja, Nigeria

I think it's high time the Togolese populace opine their views about this ugly development in the country
Abdul Salam Tarawalie, Freetown

The events in Togo are not only a coup but also political manoeuvring in Africa again. Is it that the Gnassingbes are the owners of the political platform in Togo? The ultimate answer is no. I think it's high time the Togolese populace opine their views about this ugly development in the country. Actually I don't blame Faure for replacing his father but the national assembly who quickly twisted the constitution to suit their own convenience. Please BBC, AU, UN and EU - tell Faure Gnassingbe and his team to give democracy a chance.
Abdul Salam Tarawalie, Freetown, Sierra Leone

It is another African tragic tale but France has no right to act like the UN. France is patronizing Africa and does whatever her interest dictates, supporting the dictator for 38 years and now meddling in Africa affairs as a bully judge rather than a real honest peace maker. As an African, I don't call European intervention neo-colonialism if it comes with good intent.
David, Gaborone, Botswana

Of course it was a coup d'etat. In fact, it was two: first the military coup and then the constitutional one. I blame Chirac for this. He has been supporting his personal friend Eyadema through the years and is now, it seems, satisfied to see his friend's son take over. If Chirac wanted democracy in Togo, the army could not have done this. It is time for the international community to take a stand on Togo!
Malou, Oslo, Norway

The so-called president Faure Gnassingbe should show his popularity by holding a general election in Togo in the next six months
Gabriel Usiaphe, Ughelli, Nigeria

The situation in Togo is very sad and regards those that plotted the coup, they are cowards. The military leader in Togo should resign his post because he has failed the people of Togo. The so-called president Faure Gnassingbe should show his popularity by holding a general election in Togo in the next six months. The EU, AU and UN should disregard the event in Togo.
Gabriel Usiaphe, Ughelli, Nigeria

After 38 years of dictatorship poor Togo is being turned to a personal fiefdom and all African leaders should rise against this.
Latif Olajide, London, UK

Faure Gnassingbe is the poster child for why debt relief/cancellation will not solve the problems of Africa. Mandela indeed got it wrong last week in London.
Rob G, Kansas City, USA

Being a Togolese I feel ashamed, angry and frustrated by the awful developments in this peace loving country. Basically what is happening is the army wanting to protect its exceptional privileges awarded by the late president and keep the status quo organised by this coup d'etat. I call for the world to rise up against this brutal army and to bring this lovely country to democracy. The Togolese are powerless against this unruly army its brutal record against the civilian is there. I believe that if the world does not want to see another civil war and troubles in Africa this is the time to act.
Kodzo, London, UK

I don't think this is a coup. The move to swear in Faure Gnassingbe as the president of Togo is the best, because this will prevent chaos in Togo.
Richard Anyinsah, Accra, Ghana

I've read all the comments that have been written about the succession, the reality is that the speaker wouldn't have held the country together and the military had to take this action in order to keep things stable. Faure is a member of parliament and a minister, if his peers feel he is better suited to keep the country peaceful then who are all these armchair critics who want to shout and criticize. I didn't see them criticizing when they had farce elections in Nigeria and Ghana. The bottom line is that it was peaceful and will allow peace to rein in West Africa, there will be an election in 2008, or maybe sooner.
Alex, Lome, Togo

The international community would be deluding itself if it saw this coup as legitimate
Sarah, Kpalime, Togo

Yes, of course it was. The international community would be deluding itself if it saw this coup as legitimate. Closing the borders to keep out Ouattara, the legitimate interim head and changing the constitution retroactively is a coup. Everyone here in Togo knows it and everyone in the world should, too. The people here have no hope for the international community to come to Togo's aid based on past inaction. It's time to help out!
Sarah, Kpalime, Togo

A disaster and futility for the nation that has not known peace since the coup by Eyadema. The Togolese people should not accept this so-called dynasty in the 21st century
Lawrence Too-Okema, Gulu, Uganda

I am kindly asking the Togolese to please honour their constitution, because any action to undermine the constitution will be very unfair. Please please live in accordance to your constitution. I pray for peace to remain in Togo forever.
Varney L Sckey, Liberia

I think African states should adopt this method of succession
George Lukwago, Uganda

I think African states should adopt this method of succession. European democracy is not ours. Our democracy is father to son etc. By the way even in the USA it was father to son. Instead of manipulating democracy as has been the case in Togo, let us adopt the system. In any case it is simple, cheap and non-violent. I wish the young Eyadema good life and easy rule. By the way, hope he also has a son to succeed him upon his demise.
George Lukwago, Kampala, Uganda

To George, Uganda: Your statement about Bush is appalling. Bush Sr and Jr were freely elected. What you propose is nothing short of a monarchy. You will never be free with that sort of an arrangement, the people become the servants of the King and his henchmen.
Todd, Virginia, USA

I once read a quote by a young African from Uganda that stated: "Coup d'etat is our way of living." The sole purpose of saying this is it appears like Africa is not fading away from the old days. What is happening in Togo is unacceptable if the AU does not do anything about this then let's forget democracy in Africa.
Moses Njuki

It's very sad for us Africans. It shows that in Africa people they don't respect what they have agreed earlier. People of Africa must come together to stop these negative things. Otherwise, we going to remain the slaves of our own bothers.
Mokomboso, Pretoria, South Africa

I don't know the type of constitution the Togolese government is practicing, but if any thing at all, the vice-president is still alive to take the throne of the late president. If the Togolese military elect the late president's son as the successor then where is the democracy in this country?
Buggie, Accra, Ghana

My condolences to the people of Togo who, like people everywhere, yearn to be free
Gregg, Fort Worth, USA
What a sad state of affairs when a nation's military becomes its own worst enemy by denying freedom and democracy to the very people they are sworn to defend. My condolences to the people of Togo who, like people everywhere, yearn to be free.
Gregg, Fort Worth, USA

My anger is directed at the members of the National Assembly who altered the constitution in a vain attempt to make this unconstitutional act appear to be legal. The real coup occurs when you overthrew future prospects for a more open and democratic society by choosing instead to suit someone's greedy ambitions for power. You have failed the Togolese people and should be ashamed of yourselves.
Christopher, Texas, USA

When did Togo become the Eyadema family dynasty? Togo needs and really deserves the best. I hope all who matter will be guided by Togo's best interest and not the few who might really be Togo's very woes!
Nat Adade, London, UK

The international community should not allow this to happen
Ansumana Cham, The Gambia
This is really outrageous and can be condoned by any forward and democratic thinking African. The international community should not allow this to happen since it will set precedent.
Ansumana Cham, Banjul, The Gambia

How can the constitution be changed within days just after the death of the president? The international community must stand up and voice their concern strongly!
Thomas Anyars Watara, Tokyo Japan

As a businessman proposing to finance key business infrastructure development projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, scenarios such as this are still far too common and substantially undermine business endeavours which always depend on a particular governments willingness to observe their own laws and the protections for all enshrined therein.
Carleton, Toronto, Canada

This is surely a test for African Union
Osita Nwegbu, London, UK
African leaders seem to always manipulate their constitution whenever it suits their needs. This has somehow become the common practice by a select few. Why have a set of fundamental rules that governs the rule of democracy if it can be changed arbitrarily for selfish interests? This is surely a test for African Union.
Osita Nwegbu, London, UK

My fears after hearing of the death of President Eyadema was that there would have been a coup from the military. The fact that the military and the government have agreed to let the younger Eyadema do his father's term is very outstanding. The last thing we need at this time is another senseless bloodshed on the continent. Togo is a beautiful country which allows the rest of other Africans to do business in their country which we cherish. Please Togo, don't let your country turn into another Liberia, Ivory Coast, or Sierra Leone by some greed-seeking individuals.
Moses Fully, Liberia, USA

I think Eyadema's death should serve as a lesson to many African leaders who are too much power hungry. It would be much better for African leaders to step down with some vigour so that they can be advisors to their successors and not to wait for death to command them to step down thereby leaving their country in disorder. We have a lot of very old leaders who are just standing on the gate of death but they still cling to leadership as though they were born with it.
Ronald J. Mbao, Arusha, Tanzania

If the new Togolese so-called president wants to really leave a good legacy behind and follow the good example of African respectable leaders like Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Chief Awolowo of Nigeria and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, he should organise a democratic and fair election within the next one year so that he will have credibility and a good record to maintain among his people and world bodies.
Oluwayinka Martins Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria

The events in Togo are heartbreaking, as Africa struggles hard to achieve economic emancipation, power mongers disrupt African aspiration with these undemocratic moves to contain power in the military. The AU should be given all assistance required to restore the full constitutional respect of Togo by its military in disguise of the son of the former ruler. Our prayers are with all peace-loving Togolese people in this dark period.
Joe Ashipala, Windhoek, Namibia

I support any change to the constitution which would see the young Eyadema come into power. To make peace reign in the country, he should be allowed to govern in these three more years in his late father's position and then a fresh election can be held.
Kenneth, Nigeria

Sad to see the Togolese military continue in the repressive tradition of General Eyadema. Not surprisingly, they were well-prepared for the General's death. How ironic that the speaker of Parliament should have been out of the country at the time of his death! Having lived in Togo for five years, I know well that economic and cultural development in Togo have long been the victims of a repressive and corrupt political system. After enduring decades of political oppression and a climate of fear, it now appears that the Togolese can look forward to more of the same and that within just hours of the General's death.
Peter, Avon, United States

As a Ghanaian I am really concerned about the unpredictable political situation in Togo after Eyadema's death. I am however happy that all international opinions are against the positions of both the military and parliament and so maximum pressure should be exerted till a constitutional replacement is found to head Togo. My fear is that any chaos there will by all means disturb the relative peace and progress we Ghanaians currently enjoy.
Nii Appoe, Dakar, Senegal

Has the government of Togo become family property for the Gnassingbe family?
Godwin Kupomey, Ghana
Has the government of Togo become family property for the Gnassingbe family? It is an insult to the whole African continent. The AU must strive hard to maintain democracy in Togo. If anything, the young Eyadema must give a chance to democracy. The life of the citizens of Togo must not just be taken for any personal gains.
Godwin Kupomey, Ghana

I'm currently in Lome but I am from Nigeria. The town "seems" calm but one gets the feeling that it is only superficial. There's tension and fear in the air. I want to return to my country but I cannot as the borders are still closed.
Janada Vandu, Lome, Togo

It's unfortunate that Togo lost one of its illustrious sons and statesmen but not withstanding, Eyadema's demise should usher in a new leaf in the political system and terrain of Togo. It is absurd on the part of the Togolese military to begin, at this time, to manipulate the constitution against the supposed campaign for democratic good governance put forward by the AU. I make bold to say the that the current development in Togo would serve as a litmus test on the validity of the African body.
Shamah Shaga, Wamba, Nasarawa state, Nigeria

The events in Togo are unfortunate and work retrogressively against democracy which we as a continent are championing. These events do not in anyway show any regard for the rule of law, or indeed respect for constitutions across the continent.
Venansio, Livingstone, Zambia

I lived in Togo a few years ago and learnt much about the so-called 'democracy' there. The only reason president Eyadema stayed in power for as long as he did was due to fear. No-one could say a word against him for fear of repercussions from the military. Soldiers were everywhere and happily took bribes from anyone and everyone in the absence of decent pay from the government. Lome is a wonderful city, but clearly was a lot more beautiful and prosperous 20 years ago before Eyadema isolated his nation through his political aspirations... and who suffered? The ordinary citizens.
Olivia, UK

I spent this summer in Togo and initially I thought the death of the previous president could have been a positive thing for the people of Togo considering Eyadema's tainted human rights and poor democratic records. However I'm shocked by the audacity of the army that they can simply install the late presidents son without an electoral mandate. It's wrong, the country looks like a personal possession of the Eyadema family and the army, the international community isn't and should not stand for this.
Jonathan Chatterton, Leeds, UK

The current situation in Togo is just unacceptable not only because the son has succeeded the father but because it's a silent coup d'etat. The fact the parliament speaker was out of the country does not mean his post was vacant and that does not give to the army the right to interfere into the job of politicians. Why have they then decided to replace the parliament speaker and immediately changed the constitution? Unfortunately the international community will only condemn and later legalise the person who is now the president of Togo.
Kapinga Ntumba, Harare, Zimbabwe

I am of Senegalese origin and very sad to see how one of our fellow African countries is being manipulated by politicians. The quick vote of this new constitution is a complete farce. There is nothing democratic in it.
Philippe Nelson, Southampton, UK

I arrived in Lome on Friday for a weekend trip - the atmosphere here is a little tense and most shops have stopped trading. Following reported protests at the university the city seems on edge with an increased military presence on the ground and in the air. There is no British embassy so the British people here are concerned. Politically I am most dissatisfied with the unconstitutional change of power, state media seems to be rather indifferent however there are obvious pockets of dissent.
Philip Waters, Lome Togo

I think the fact that there has not been any bloodshed during this transition is a sign of things to come. Let the man rule in place of his father. He is the only one that can guarantee stability in the country.
Marc, Lome

Many people are depressed and afraid in a way I have never seen them before
Line Gottke, Lome, Togo
The situation has tightened, protestors were beaten up in some parts of the town, some roads, like the "marina" ware barricaded by the military. Most shops closed and people hurried home. Pupils were set free from school at 10 am. Many people are depressed and afraid in a way I have never seen them before.
Line Gottke, Lome, Togo

The current happenings in Togo is simply a military coup and the EU, UN and AU should see it and treat it as such.
Olusegun, Nigeria

France should stay out of this situation to prevent another Ivory Coast. African heads should take their responsibility - Togo is not a monarchy.
Togovi, Lome, Togo

I fully support the Togolese army for its swift move to avoid bloodshed by choosing younger Eyadema. All the best for him.
Abdul Jabbar, Nairobi, Kenya

Though I'm not in Togo at the moment I feel very sad for the turn of events in that country. When can true democracy be given the chance to thrive in Togo as well as some other African countries?
Tony, Ghana

This is blatantly abuse of power. This is a coup simple. Whatever the reason I think the leaders in Togo should learn to respect the rules that they themselves have made.
Dembo Kanteh, the Gambia

Obituary: Gnassingbe Eyadema
05 Feb 05 |  Africa
Profile: Faure Gnassingbe
07 Feb 05 |  Africa
Press wary over Togo 'coup'
07 Feb 05 |  Africa
Country profile: Togo
03 Dec 04 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Togo
05 Feb 05 |  Country profiles

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