Togo opposition claims fraud in presidential vote

Togo’s top opposition party said Sunday they have proof that the ruling party committed fraud to win the country’s contentious presidential election and that they will show their evidence in court. Opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre said his party has proof the ruling party rigged the election in several ways, including intimidating opposition supporters and buying off other voters.

He also said opposition voters were too afraid to go to the polls after being told that the inked fingerprint they are required to leave on the ballot will be used to trace them.

“The ruling party told our supporters that when they put their fingerprint on the ballot, they’re going to be able to come and find them,” said Fabre. “They gave money to buy people’s consciences, there is fraud on a massive scale, we have the proof in our possession.”

He said the party will present its findings to the constitutional court, which will formalize the election results next week.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo monitored the Togo elections and afterward said a new orientation for politicians in Africa is imperative in order to achieve free and fair elections.

Obasanjo, who was speaking to reporters on arrival from Togo, noted that there are no bad elections only bad politicians.

Mr Obasanjo had led African Union officials to Lome, Togo, to monitor the country’s just-concluded presidential poll. “Bad elections do not always occur, what we have are bad politicians,” he said… Contd after the jump


Your Daily Corruption News team

— Monday 8 March 2010

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TogoTogo opposition claims fraud in presidential vote
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— News from the TI movement 

Mr Olusegun commended the conduct of Togo’s presidential election, saying the election was good and the preparation was reasonable.  “We are waiting for the declaration of the result,” he said.

Togo’s ruling party has repeatedly denied claims that they had tried to buy the vote. President Faure Gnassingbe’s spokesman Pascal Bodjona on Saturday called the opposition “bad losers” after the results were announced. A report released Saturday by the European Union observation mission said that their observers had been present when the ruling party handed out rice — nicknamed “Faure rice” — to potential voters.

Fabre led several hundred supporters on a protest march Sunday, which police dispersed with tear gas. Several canisters exploded next to Fabre, directly spraying his chest and face. His group took cover inside opposition party headquarters, where the boom of the exploding canisters could still be heard. At one point, tear gas streamed in through the windows of Fabre’s office.

“I am ready to die,” Fabre said.

Saturday’s provisional results indicate Gnassingbe won 1.2 million votes, representing 60.9 percent of the roughly 2 million votes cast in the tiny West African country, said Issifou Tabiou, the head of the election body.

Fabre, who had earlier accused the ruling party of rigging the election, received 692,584 votes, or 33.9 percent.

The contentious election is only the second since the death of Eyadema Gnassingbe, Faure’s father, who grabbed power in a 1967 coup and ruled for 43 years, only for his son to seize power upon the dictator’s death in 2005. The younger Gnassinge went on to win elections that same year that were widely viewed as rigged.