Thursday, April 28, 2005

Gnassingbe Anarchy

It's getting much worse in Togo. People are fleeing the tiny country as clashes between security forces and the Gnassingbe's opposition is starting to get intense. The amount of rioting and chaos in Kyrgyzstan made me worry about how far these flare-ups and demonstrations of democracy should permissibly go. This pushes it to the breaking point. Reports

As furious youths continued to fight government forces from behind barricades built of burning cars and hacked down trees, the opposition candidate in Sunday's election, Emmanuel Bob-Akitani, refused to concede defeat despite the announcement of the official results and instead declared himself president.

"Togolese, your president is speaking to you," he was quoted as saying by Reuters. "Yes, your president. We have not lost this presidential election."

"We must fight with our lives if necessary to force the one who believes he has a divine right over our people to listen to reason," he said, speaking from a safe house inside a neighbourhood of Lome.

Akitani is doing more than declaring fraud, he's declaring himself the victor. It appears the pent-up rage people had towards Gnassingbe was way more than he anticipated. Similar to Zimbabwe, what few international monitors were there said the election was basically fair. It looks like the people didn't buy it, and unlike in Zimbabwe (where Mugabe has decided, after the election to slaughter elephants and other big game in order to feed his people) they decided they would take the matter into their own hands. This may be a transition to a real democracy, but it could just be dictatorial musical chairs or the beginning of a civil war.