18.05.2005 Togo

NDC cautions Government on Togo

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Accra, May 18, GNA - The National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Wednesday urged the government to be "circumspect" in dealing with Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe particularly as the political crisis in the country was not over.

In a statement signed by Mr Bede Ziedeng, Acting General Secretary, the NDC noted that President John Agyekum Kufuor and the late Togolese President Gnassingbe Eyadema had close ties and the government would want the same relationship with Faure, who is his son.

However, the NDC contended, this "portends grave danger to the development of democracy in the West Africa sub-region and the African continent as a whole".

"This is because what happened in Togo could not have happened in Ghana and be considered as acceptable democratic practice.

"Democracy needs to be promoted within the sub-region in its true sense and this entails good governance. This includes an electoral system, which must be above reproach by providing a level playing field in which elections held are truly free and fair."

The NDC said it was reacting to a meeting in Kumasi on Monday between President Kufuor and President Gnassingbe on how to find an amicable solution to the political situation in Togo.

The NDC said it did not believe that the April 24 election in Togo was free and fair, as it failed to meet the required democratic standards.

The party therefore associated itself with the views of the European Union Parliament that the vote was not free and fair, it said. The NDC said both the African Union and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) failed in their responsibility in ensuring that the electoral process was transparent enough to give all eligible voters the opportunity to cast their votes, hence the rejection of the results by the opposition.

The NDC expressed the hope that talks scheduled for Abuja on Thursday would lead to the creation of a fair and transparent electoral process, which ultimately would lead to the conduct of fresh elections. "Any discussion of a government of National Unity as is being advocated can only come to fruition if the concerns of the opposition parties are given the needed attention," it said.

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