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Togo kicks off presidential election campaign


togoTogo officially began its presidential election campaign on Friday with President Faure Gnassingbe’s challenger Jean-Pierre Fabre seeking to end nearly 50 years of rule by the Gnassingbe family.

The first day of campaigning was low-key, with posters put up in the capital Lome of Gnassingbe and Fabre, leader of the main opposition Combat for Political Change (CAP) coalition.

The president is seeking a third term in office on April 25. He took over in 2005 after the death of his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled the tiny west African nation for 38 years.

Fabre’s 123-page manifesto notably promises an end to impunity, corruption and “repeated violations of the constitution and laws”.

On his Facebook page, Gnassingbe, who won re-election in 2010, also promised to fight graft and to push ahead with major infrastructure projects.

The build-up to the election, which was initially scheduled for April 15, has been dominated by opposition attempts to limit the number of terms a president can serve.

Civil society groups also objected to what they said were “serious anomalies” in the electoral roll, forcing a 10-day postponement while the matter was investigated.

The Paris-based non-governmental organisation Synergie Togo claimed that 30 percent of voters on the list did not exist.

The International Organisation of La Francophonie this week announced the problems with the electoral roll had been “partly resolved” and the opposition said it was satisfied with the changes.

The election campaign runs until April 23. Togo’s armed forces will vote on April 22, allowing them to provide security on polling day, the government said on Thursday evening.

Photo credit: Daily Mail

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