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Faure Gnassingbe

Another monster in the making

They do not have any sense of shame and they do not feel any regrets. I am referring to that class of African leaders who deem it their divine right to remain at the helm of affairs of their countries till death, after which a son or possibly a daughter or a wife takes over.

We are just coming out of the latest political conflagration which threatened the peace and national stability of Burkina Faso over the intransigence of Blaise Compoare, who, after 27 years in office, which he ascended through violence, wanted to remain in office, possibly for life.

Compoare used all the intrigues of office which African leaders are experts in to remain in office beyond his time. These include monetary favours,  cronyism and subjecting the people to Gestapo-like state brutality to cower them into submission.

But it comes to a time when people are prepared to die than to remain slaves to the cruel and selfish interests of a system perpetuated by one person and his cronies.

So it came to pass that on the morning of October 30, 2014, Ouagadougou, the Burkina Faso capital, exploded into mass revolt when thousands of Burkinabe,  with their bare hands charged on the presidential palace, parliament house and the homes of some Members of Parliament. 

The action was in protest of an attempt by Compoare to adopt the usual tactics to get parliament to approve an amendment to the Constitution that would allow him another term in office beyond the provisions in the current Constitution.

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The mass action was so overwhelming that Compoare curtailed efforts to hang onto power. In the end he had to get assistance from the French government to seek refuge in Cote d'Ivoire. 

ECOWAS leaders, who underrated the magnitude of the people's anger,  issued some veiled threats which were contemptuously ignored because the question being asked was, where were they when one of them wanted to install himself a Life President?

Peace has somehow prevailed and Burkina Faso is picking the pieces and preparing for national elections next year. For the rest of us, we thought we had heard the last of these political megalomaniacs. 

We were,  therefore, surprised when news started filtering in from next-door Togo that President Faure Gnassingbe had embarked on a mission to get his country's legislature to amend their Constitution to enable him to contest another term next year, which the current Constitution debars him from doing.

Faure Gnassingbe succeeded his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, in 2005, who also ruled Togo with an iron hand for 35 years. He was evasive when the question was put to him during his recent trip to Ghana.  The people of Togo will decide his fate in 2015, he said.

The question is, is he not making attempts to influence a change in the Constitution?  If so, why is he making it look as if he is so special, just like his father thought, that the people of Togo would like him to remain in office forever?

ECOWAS leaders owe it a duty to the people of Togo to stop this latest adventure from Faure Gnassingbe before it gains root with cataclysmic consequences.   They should not close their eyes to reality as they did in the case of Burkina Faso for matters to erupt into violent protests before junketing on peace missions and mediation efforts. 

Faure Gnassingbe must be stopped now!

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