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10.02.2005 Togo

TUC urges Togolese authorities to be guided by the Constitution

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Accra, Feb. 10, GNA - The Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Thursday appealed to the Togolese authorities to be guided by the Constitution to resolve the country's leadership crisis, following the death of President Gnassingbe Eyadema, last Saturday.

Reacting to the appointment of the late President's son- Faure Gnassingbe as Head of State, the TUC said it could be a recipe for disaster.

A statement issued in Accra by Mr Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, Secretary-General of the TUC said, while the Union expresses its condolence to the late president's family, the government, workers and people of Togo, it was also concern about the developments that had culminated in the swearing into office of Faure Gnassingbe. It mentioned in particular the endorsement of Faure Gnassingbe by the Togolese Military High Command led by the Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier-General Zakari Nandja.

"In our view the military have no business swearing in heads of state especially during the current democratic dispensation in Togo. "Unjustifiable as the action is, the Togolese Armed Forces have legalised the decision insisting that the Speaker, who should be acting in the place of the President Eyadema, was absent from the country.

"This action of the military clearly violates the constitution of the Republic of Togo and, therefore, cannot be validated on any grounds."

The statement commended the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) for their stand on the stalemate.

It urged all workers and civil society organisations in Togo to use all legitimate means to ensure that the rule of law reigned and that the rights of the people of Togo were upheld.

The statement called on the leaders of ECOWAS, the AU and the international community to bring pressure to bear on the Togolese government to uphold the tenets of democracy to ensure that the people of Togo progress in peace. 10 Feb. 05

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