Togo’s interest as well as the concern of the Togolese people, should guide the bid for a lasting solution to the on-going political impasse in that country, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.
Addressing President Faure Gnassingbé, and the Coalition of 14 Togolese opposition parties, on Monday in Lome, Togo, at a political dialogue he facilitated, President Akufo-Addo said the future of that country should be determined by its people and not outside forces.
“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 at 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,” he cautioned at the very first official
“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,” the President said at the opening of meeting, the first formal engagement between the Togolese government and opposition parties to find an amicable settlement to the political crisis there.
President Akufo-Addo has over the past seven months engaged the government and opposition in Togo to get them to resolve the political stalemate that had displaced thousands in that country.
The Lome dialogue, is a strong push by President Akufo-Addo to bring a positive determination to the issue.
President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that the national interest of Togo should override every interest of the parties in the political impasse.
He said the seriousness of the situation demanded that the spirit of accommodation, and the spirit of compromise, had to be at the very forefront of the preoccupation of every one gathered 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,” President Akufo-Addo said.
The President noted that his job, and that of the facilitation team, 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.
President Akufo-Addo acknowledged the confidence the Togolese political actors had reposed in him to mediate the dialogue, saying, It is a mark of confidence you have expressed in your brothers and sisters from Ghana, of which we are grateful.”
“We have always been each other’s keeper. At the very beginning of the independence of Ghana, when there are 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 said.
“Therefore, the interests of Ghanaians and of Ghana’s political leaders in the peace and stability and freedom of the Togolese people is 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 assist in the dialogue that you, the various political actors of this country, have agreed to.”
President Akufo-Addo added 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 is the demand of the Togolese people, which, in fact, are the demands of the African peoples today, are realised here in Togo.”
The mediation team that accompanied the President included; the National Security Minister, 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,