Press Releases Nathaniel Olympio urges EU to push for Togo democracy

Nathaniel Olympio urges EU to push for Togo democracy

Nathaniel Olympio urges EU to push for Togo democracy

Brussels Press Club

The Brussels Press Club hosted Nathaniel Olympio, the leader of Parti des Togolais (@partitogolais), an opposition party in Togo, on 14 June 2019. Mr Olympio met with journalists and answered questions about the current political situation in Togo, in particular the presidential elections due in April 2020. 

Mr Olympio spoke about his belief that the EU must put pressure on the long-standing regime that has ruled the country since the 1960s, saying: “We cannot do this on our own. We need the help of others.”  He explained that past elections have been a “foregone conclusion” partly due to the inability of many people in the country to vote.  The reason for this, he said, is that 85 per cent of Togo citizens do not have an ID card while 75 per cent do not possess a birth certificate. “Even the mobile phone ownership is higher,” he said. Neighbouring countries like Cote d’Ivoire had received help from the EU to successfully roll out an ID registration campaign, and something similar would greatly help raising the governance standards for voter registration in Togo.

Mr Olympio also emphasised the important of the country’s geographic location at the heart of the sub-region makes it a natural hub for access to the West African market of 350 million people. Togo is West Africa’s leading financial centre and a strategic west African services centre with a young, dynamic, highly skilled, and abundant pool of labour, he said.

The opposition leader went on to describe the country’s human rights record, endemic corruption and political governance and other examples of bad governance.  He raised concerns about recent disturbing, anti-democratic actions, including the security forces denying protest permits and shutting down civil gatherings while severe restrictions on public protests and freedom of expression remain in place in Lomé.

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