Togo. After the opposition boycott of the 1999
parliamentary elections, new elections would have been held
in 2000. According to
Countryaah, it was postponed for "technical reasons" and moved
to October 2001. In August, however, the government
announced that the election was postponed again, now to
March 15, 2002, due to lack of preparation.
With the support of the World Bank, a US-Togolese
consortium in November decided to build a new container port
in Togo's capital Lomé for $ 100 million. The new port will
be ready for operation in December 2004.
In 1998, the Legislative Assembly passed a new press law
prohibiting arbitrary arrests of journalists and other
police offenses, such as the nightly "visits" by security
forces without legal basis. The June presidential election
was heavily criticized by the opposition, which
characterized it as a scam. It was won by Edayema with 52%
of the vote, while Gilchrist Olympio - the son of the
assassinated president - lost. The following months were
marked by frequent demonstrations by the opposition against
the alleged fraud election.
In November 1999, thousands of students and teachers
defied the ban on participating in a protest demonstration
due to the delays in teacher payouts and with demands for
improvement in teaching quality. However, despite some
further manifestations of dissatisfaction, the situation
seemed to be normalized throughout the year.
The implementation of a summit among the Francophone
countries in West Africa in March 2000 became a diplomatic
success for the Edayema government. The summit was
attended by Togo, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso and Côte
d'Ivoire. For Togo, it allowed for closer relations with
An international commission of inquiry concluded in
February 2001 that after the 1998 elections, systematic
human rights violations took place - including Sumar
executions, torture of prisoners, rapes and abductions.
In August 2001, the government announced that Eyadema
respected the constitution and abdicated its mandate in
2003. the constitution could not stand again as president.
Prime Minister Kodjo caused stir when he announced his
support for a constitutional amendment that would allow the
president to stand for another term.
A month later, 68 children aged 18 months to 17 years
were sent to Togo after being rescued from a sinking boat.
They are believed to be victims of child labor smugglers.
Many bodies were also discovered in the boat. The
trafficking of children takes place predominantly in the
border area against Benin and is one of the country's
biggest problems. In mid-2001, the government provided
funding for an NGO working for the protection of minors, and
it also increased the number of naval police and soldiers
working to prevent this trade.
Elections were to be held in October 2001, but this was
canceled. In March 2002, a joint commission resumed its
work. It consisted of both people from the government and
the opposition, and had been reduced following the political
crisis of the 1998 elections. The Commission met in Lomé
with the aim of "reviving the political dialogue", through
the organization of legislative work. The opposition had
refused to join the National Electoral Commission until the
opposition leader and lawyer Yawovi Agboyibo was released.
He had been arrested by the authorities on August 3, 2001.
Agboyibo was released on March 16, 2002, and the opposition
then declared himself willing to resume dialogue with the