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17.02.2005 Togo

NDC condemns repression of media in Togo

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Accra, Feb. 17, GNA - The National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Thursday said reported close down of some television and radio stations in Togo was a repressive method to curtail the freedom of expression of the people of that country.

It said, "This state of affairs has the potential of degenerating further."

A statement signed by Mr. Bede A. Ziedeng, Acting General Secretary of NDC in Accra on the political situations in Togo said the party was concerned about the military's attitude to intimidate, brutalise and even kill innocent civilian protestors over their rights.

It said the Togolese situation has been widely condemned as undemocratic and therefore, an unacceptable political development, not only for ECOWAS and the African Union but the United Nations as well was and growing from bad to worse.

Some deaths have been recorded, while many have been injured because of clashes between the protestors and the military following demonstrations staged in Lome against the unconstitutional installation of Faure Gnassingbe.

The statement said the attitude of President Kufuor's government "so far in respect of the Togolese political situation is completely unacceptable against the background of the claim by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) of its so-called democratic credentials.

"If indeed President Kufuor believes in good governance as he sought to praise himself about in recent state of the nation address, then he ought to be seen using his experience to assist our neighbours in Togo."

The statement said for the past four years, President Kufuor had good working relations with Togo and should therefore take advantage of the situation in Togo to counsel the Togolese.

It said if that was not done, all the claim of the NPP about the African Peer Review Mechanisms under the NEPAD initiative "will become meaningless and an exercise in futility."

The statement said beyond that, "President Kufuor ought to be able to impress upon the Togolese authorities to respect both the ECOWAS and AU protocols in which member countries committed to using only democratic means in achieving political power."

It said Ghana, being a founding member of ECOWAS should have initially sent strong signals of her unacceptability of developments in Togo, which could have changed the course of events positively in favour of democratic development.

"The developments in Togo are a complete dent on our image as Africans and must be condemned by all."

The NDC however, commended the ECOWAS Heads of State for the resolute manner in which they have handled the Togolese situation so far and urged them not to relent but to push forward until the ultimate result of returning Togo to genuine constitutional democracy was achieved.

It said the people of Togo, "are crying for democratic development and we must also support them to achieve it."

The NDC called for the recall of Ghana's Ambassador to Togo, Mr. Henry K. Mensa-Bonsu to answer why he attended the swearing-in ceremony of Faure Gnassingbe as President of Togo.

The statement wondered why President Kufuor has so far done nothing to disassociate his government from the stance of the ambassador beyond moving in the company of four other Heads of State charged with the "responsibility of talking to the Togolese authorities to revert to the status quo-ante."

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