Togo opposition shutdown fails to rally strong support
December 04 2018 06:51 PM
Anti-government protest in Togo (file photo)
Anti-government protest in Togo (file photo)

AFP/Lome

A Togo opposition appeal for an economic shutdown to protest upcoming parliamentary elections failed to muster support on Tuesday with many businesses ignoring the call and staying open as usual.

The West African nation's main opposition has vowed to boycott elections this month over alleged fraud and had called on workers to stay at home on Tuesday at the start of campaigning.

But in the main markets in the capital Lome's Adawlato and Hedzranawoe districts, most shops were open with plenty of activity during the morning. Some stores were closed in the Be neighbourhood, an opposition stronghold.

Banks were also open, as well as public administration offices. In Deckon district, where cellphone sellers operate, businesses went about their selling as usual.

‘I can't even think about closing my store because we are right about the time of end of year celebrations and everything closes up then,’ said one mobile phone vendor.

‘This call (for a shutdown) doesn't interest me, nor do the elections.’

Togo has been hit by protests since September last year.

The opposition has called for President Faure Gnassingbe to step down after more than a decade in power and for constitutional reform to limit presidential mandates.

Gnassingbe has been president since the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, in 2005. Eyadema himself ruled Togo for 38 years.

A coalition of 14 opposition parties also objects to the composition of Togo's Independent National Election Commission (CENI) and wants it revamped.

A total of 850 candidates for 12 political parties and independents have presented their candidacy for the legislative elections scheduled on December 20.



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