Friday, March 5, 2010

Togo's presidential elections - Africa's 50 years

+Togolese women waiting to vote yesterday at Lycee Be-Kpota: Photo by Ololade Adewuyi

Togolese went to the polls yesterday to vote for candidates into the presidential palace. Incumbent Faure Gnassingbe and opposition's Jean Pierre Fabre are favourites for the office that has become a dynasty for the Gnassingbe family.

Faure's father Eyadema was president for 38 years, Africa's longest serving head of state, and Faure himself has already served one term of five years since taking over after his father's passing in 2005.

I am at the lobby of the Palm Beach Hotel in Lome overlooking the beautiful Atlantic ocean thinking how important it is for Togo to get this poll process right in the year that it turns 50. A total of 17 countries in Africa will clock five decades this year and Togo's success at the polls will mean that it should bode a good year for all.

Already we have seen how a coup d'etat has dislodged the government in Niger last month. Niger is among one of the 50 year olds but the coup has set it backwards now.

African leaders need to know historical timing and that the world is watching them in this very important year. The success of Togo's polls will go a long way to telling the world that Africa can indeed take care of its affairs properly.

Bon chance Togo. Viva Afrique!