Togo’s elections, originally planned for April 15, were postponed to April 25 at the instance of the Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government following an earlier consultative visit to Lome in March.
The postponement was to enable Togo’s Independent National Electoral Commission with assistance from La Francophonie to complete a review of the electoral register in response to concerns raised by the political parties.
Speaking on Monday night in Lome after another consultative visit and discussions with the various stakeholders, the Chair of ECOWAS, President John Dramani Mahama said the political parties and other stakeholders are satisfied with the outcome of the electoral register.
President Mahama identified a communication gap between the Commission and the stakeholders as one of the major reasons for the new issues emerging, noting that the Commission provided some satisfactory responses to a number of the concerns put before them.
It has accordingly been decided that the Independent National Electoral Commission should engage the political parties, and also hold a major press conference to outline its processes and activities leading to the April 25 elections.
Monday’s follow-up meetings were with President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, the leadership and presidential candidates of the minority opposition parties and the Chairman of the Electoral Commission.
President Mahama urged Togo to work together, remain peaceful and commit to organise a peaceful, fair, free and transparent election.
He reminded the various candidates that there can be only one winner and cautioned the political parties and other bodies to desist from announcing results, emphasising that the declaration of the result is the sole constitutional responsibility of the Electoral Commission.
ECOWAS is a deploying a 100-member election monitoring group to be led by the former President of Liberia, Dr. Amos Sawyerr.
President Mahama has, meanwhile, arrived in Abuja, Nigeria for discussions with President Goodluck Jonathan and President-elect Muhammadu Buhari.