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From Togoland to Togo

In 1894 Togoland, which included present-day Togo, became a German colony. After the First World War, the area was placed under the mandate of the League of Nations, with Great Britain governing the western half and France the eastern half. The western part was annexed to the neighbouring Gold Coast (together the later Ghana) in 1956, while the eastern part became an autonomous republic after a referendum in the same year. In 1960 Togo became fully independent from France. The first president of the new republic, Sylvanus Olympio, was overthrown in 1963 by a military coup led by Colonel Etienne Gnassingbe Eyadéma. In January 1967, he appointed himself president, which he remained until his (unexpected) death on 5 February 2005. General Eyadéma's regime was mainly characterised by repression of the people and served to protect the interests of the army.

21th century

On the day of General Eyadéma's death, his son Faure Gnassingbé was appointed (interim) President by the army. This coup d'etat cancelled out all the progress Togo had made in the democratisation process in the previous year. The European Union decided to suspend the temporary resumption of EU aid. The AU, ECOWAS and the rest of the international community strongly condemned this coup.

Under pressure from the AU and ECOWAS, Faure Gnassingbé resigned and presidential elections were organised on 24 April 2005. Gnassingbé won these elections with 60% of the votes. A coalition of opposition parties led by Bob Akitani won 40%. The opposition claimed that there was fraud, including tampering with the ballot cards. The outcome of the elections led to riots, irregularities, deaths and a flood of refugees of almost 40,000 to neighbouring Benin and Ghana. The German Goethe Institute was also set on fire.

The regional organisation ECOWAS, supported by the international community, tried to bring parties (Mr Gnassingbé's government and Mr Olympio's UFC opposition) together in a broad government coalition of national unity. The government would be charged with organising parliamentary elections. President Gnassingbé therefore decided to form a coalition with some moderate opposition parties, appointing Edem Kodjo (CPP) as Prime Minister. In September 2006, Yawovi Agboyibo of the opposition was appointed prime minister with the task of forming a government of national unity and calling elections. Elections were held in October 2007 and the ruling coalition won the elections.

In September 2008, Gilbert Houngbo was appointed prime minister. Togo abolished the death penalty in June 2009.

In January 2010, Togo decided not to participate in the Afica Cup (football). After two officials were killed in a shooting incident in Angola. In March 2010, Gnassingbe was elected president. In June 2012, there are protests by the opposition against a change in the electoral system that would favour the government. Elections are held in July 2013, with the ruling parties winning two-thirds of the seats. In May 2015, opposition candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre refused to recognise the results of the aforementioned elections. West African leaders try to mediate in this conflict. Demonstrators in several cities in August and September 2017 demand the restoration of the 1992 constitution, which limits the number of presidential terms to two again. Gnassingbe has won three more elections, in 2010, 2015 and 2020. All elections were criticised by the opposition.


Elmar Landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
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