WADEMOS condemns timing of ‘constitutional reforms’ by Togolese Parliament

The West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network (WADEMOS) has condemned the timing of the recent ‘constitutional reforms’ by the Parliament of Togo, which adopted an amendment to Togo’s 1992 Constitution.

The amendment essentially provides for a Parliamentary Regime in place of the semi presidential regime, and hands over the power to elect the country’s president by universal, direct and secret suffrage from the citizens of Togo to the Parliament.

The Network, in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency on Saturday, expressed concern over the vehement threat that the amendment posed to the stability of Togo, with the very likely prospect that it would further exclude ordinary citizens’ right to express their political choices through a vote.

This is a fundamental right enshrined in Article 4 of the African Union Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance.

It said the situation was exacerbated by the process of adoption of such a critical amendment.

“The fact that a referendum was not the prioritized option to adopt the amendment and a decision taken by a Parliament controlled by one party and its affiliates, certainly affects the rights of the citizens to contribute to profound reforms, current affairs, and the governance of the country, also in violation of the African Union Charter,” the statement said.

“While welcoming the intervention of the President for the National Assembly to review the amendment, engage in larger consultations, and hold parliamentary and regional elections on April 29, the Network condemns the timing of the proposed changes ahead of the scheduled election.”

“This in clear violation of Article 2 of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy, Good Governance and Elections, as well as the use of force to suppress the rights of citizens to voice their disapproval of the amendment.”

The WADEMOS Network urges the Government of Togo to take into consideration the calls of the people disapproving of the ongoing process.

This includes the voice of prodemocratic actors in Togo, namely the Togolese Conference of Bishops, academics, the CSOs, and the Diaspora, calling on the President to postpone the promulgation of the new Constitution and to initiate an inclusive political dialogue after the results of the next legislative and regional elections.

“We take serious note of the decision of the ECOWAS Commission to deploy a mission ahead of the legislative and regional elections,” the statement said.

“We expect that the mission will host dialogue with the Government of Togo, civil society, political parties, and stakeholders and come out with good practice recommendations on the different issues at stake, their regional implications, and their impact on the ECOWAS of the people, the preservation of peace, and the consolidation of Democracy in West-Africa.”

 WADEMOS declared its commitment to working with national institutions as well as regional and international bodies towards resolving the current challenge.

“WADEMOS believes that constitutional reforms will continue to be an important feature of a democracy and as such remain a significant part of governance in Togo through an inclusive, deliberative and legitimate process”.

WADEMOS is an independent and non-partisan network of diverse national and transnational civil society organizations and civic groups working to promote and defend democracy, good governance, and inclusive development in the West Africa region.

It mobilizes, coordinates, and leverages the collective voice and power of civil society and other prodemocracy actors, resources, and opportunities within the West Africa region to advance its mission.

The current membership stands at 47.

Source: GNA

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