Accra, April 28, GNA - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has condemned Togolese Opposition Leader, Emmanuel Bob Akitani's declaration of himself as President following controversial elections last Sunday.
A statement issued by ECOWAS said it had learnt with great surprise and concern that Mr Akitani had declared himself President of the Togolese Republic, following the official announcement of the election results that declared Faure Gnassingbe the winner.
"ECOWAS is of the opinion that the decision by Mr Akitani to declare himself President is not only against the Constitution and laws of the Togolese Republic but can also delay the dawn of peaceful democracy and the rule of law in Togo," it said.
ECOWAS recalled the communiqu=E9 issued at the end of the meeting held on April 20 between representatives of the political parties contesting the presidential election in Togo, which among other things, stressed the need for all the parties to accept the official result of the election and appealed to all the candidates, parties or groups of parties to refrain from declaring themselves winners of the election. The communiqu=E9 underscored the need to establish an ad hoc framework for political dialogue between the different parties, a framework, which, by restoring trust, could contribute to improve the basic texts that would govern future elections.
The communiqu=E9 also reiterated the ECOWAS Chairman's appeal to all the parties to refrain from any action or declaration capable of generating or sustaining a climate of violence, unrest or tension before, during and after the April 24 election.
ECOWAS condemned the violence that erupted after the announcement of the results in which a number of people had been killed or injured. It also condemned the violence and acts of aggression perpetrated by supporters of the Opposition parties against ECOWAS citizens and other foreigners residing in Togo.
ECOWAS warned those sponsoring the violence and turmoil that they might be held responsible for such acts and reminded the entire political class of the need to refrain from encouraging or backing any form of violence or act capable of disturbing public order.
"ECOWAS reaffirms its commitment to support the people of Togo in their efforts to ensure peaceful and consensual democratic transition, and calls on all the stakeholders to demonstrate greater restraint and political will, in the interest of peace and national reconciliation. "ECOWAS wishes to remind the political leaders in Togo of the solemn appeal by His Excellency, Olusegun Obasanjo, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairman of the African Union on 25th April 2005 that the political parties in Togo should form a government of national unity and work together to build a democratic and stable Togo."