Tuesday, January 27, 2009

le 13 Janvier, Liberation?

The local "foo" came down from the mountain to parade around and show his defiance for this spectacle as the local choir warms up.

I sit and watch as the "foo" gives his reasoning for a faulty governement.

I sat up on the steps of the school with all the dignitaries and chiefs of my village

Mainly a "free day" from school, I am sure many of these children don't know why they all line up to march like militants.

I was there with my Womens Group UAPF (Union des Femmes Rural de Kpele-Akata),Many of these women were alive when the day of celebration was born and held contradicting feelings on the days events.

Women dressed in matching outfits celebrating the current administration.

My community marching back through village after the festivities.

A couple of weeks ago, I was back in Togo in time for the 13 Janvier. I had a meeting that morning with my group of women farmers in village and had no intentions of attending the celebration that was taking place at the middle school. My womens group are well aware of the history of the celebration and were not at all interested in participating but knew it would be good to get a little publicity. So I decided to see what all the buzz was about and attend the schinanigans....

So just to let you know the history of this day in Togo..here are some excerpts from the articles I found on it....
The recall of facts

In the beginning there was Togoland, administered by the Germans from 1884 following a protection treaty signed with a local king. After the First World War, the League of Nations and the United Nations put the territory under protection of France and England, which eventually split into two: Togo and Ghana. The United Nations requires guardianship to empower people in their care. Although this colony attached to them which predicts "positive aspects" withdrew, France is forced to lead, willy-nilly, Togo towards democracy and autonomy.

On 27 April 1958, the national parties CUT (Unit Togolaise Committee led by Sylvanus Olympio), JUVENTO (Togolese Youth Movement, an offshoot of the CUT) and MPT (Togolese People's Movement) won the elections. They lead Togo to its independence on 27 April 1960 and Sylvanus Olympio becomes the first president of the Togolese Republic. But this politician advised to turn to the former German and guardianship to England instead of allowing France to decide what is good or bad for its former colony. Many of his initiatives were deployed in Paris.

On 13 January 1963, Sylvanus Olympio was assassinated by former non-commissioned officers of the French colonial empire, including a former sergeant Etienne Gnassingbe Eyadema. The young republic did not deliver, the coup failed, and a popular uprising in 1966 was quickly suppressed by the army, which became more and more present. It is still January 13, but in 1967,a second coup is administered and puts the power in the hands of Etienne Gnassingbe Eyadema, who became general in the meantime.

Dynasty Gnassingbé
The Rally of Togolese People (RPT) is founded by Gnassingbe Eyadema, the year of the coup of 1967. It took power and a totalitarian regime has arisen. Militias have repeatedly clash with the AFL (Armed Forces Togolese) after a popular uprising quickly suppressed on 05 September 1990. Youth are grouped under the names of Ekpémog (stone), Etumog and Abrafos (coupeurs heads) to name a few. Their struggle makes it possible to obtain a "charter party" on 12 April 1991, paving the way for a multiparty embryonnaire.
But when Etienne Gnassingbe Eyadema died on 05 April 2005, it is "natural" that his son Faure Gnassingbé Eyadema inherit power. Despite the changes announced, he clings to the presidential seat left by his father.

Meditation or celebration ?
In addition to the birth of multiparty politics, the popular uprising of October 05, 1990 will permit the establishment of a Sovereign National Conference which one of the symbolic, but significant, was the proclamation of 13 January as "day of reflection." Unfortunately, the powers that be do not hear as well and son prefers "celebrate" the "festival of liberation." One need visit Republicoftogo.com, the site of the Government of Togo:

Gilchrist Olympio, son of Sylvanus Olympio, has lived in exile since he survived an assassination attempt in 1992. The power changes in the electoral code in the same year so that a presidential candidate must have resided in Togo without interruption during the 12 months preceding the election. Faure Gnassingbé Eyadema remains supportive of this "day of worship" without it and erasing it from public celebration could defuse tensions and is necessary for reconciliation or democracy in the country.
Source: http://cpasnet.sebsite.org/article.php3?id_article=24

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