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Olympio gets elected by the largest opposition party in Togo as 2010 presidential candidate

Posted by African Press International on August 29, 2008

Thanking the delegates he stated, I am to-day happy that , you, the militants from all over Togo have put your destiny into my hands by electing me as the partys candidate for the next presidential elections slated for 2010, Mr Gilchrist Olympio declared at the end of the statutory congress his opposition Union of Forces for Change , UFC, party in Lome on the 19th of july 2008.
The congress was attended by over 300 delegates from all over the country.
During the congress of held in the Togolese capital of Lome , all the delegates gave their suffrages to their 72 years leader Gilchrist Olympio in overwhelming vote of confidence.
But some independent observers who attended the congress were unanimous that his election exceptionally surpassed and outclassed other presidential election contests .
Not even in France or United States of America have so many succeeded to put their fate in the hands of an aspirant two years ahead of the actual elections.
But according to some Togolese newspapers this political rush was due to the fact that new political birds were gliding in the partys sky with very strong wings.
According to independent sources the die-hard radicals of the UFC party renewed confidence in their leader as he was the only leader who has courageously defied the late Gnassingbe Eyadema .
It will be recalled that Mr Gilchrist Olympio has made wonders for the first time in Togos political history when he was declared second to his rival Gnassingbe Eyadema in the elections which was marred by political violence in 1998.
Mr Olympio claimed the elections were rigged .
Since then Mr Olympio was found not eligible on several occasions to aspire to the presidential throne based on some prohibitive clauses of the Togolese constitution.
According to the Togolese constitution the presidential candidate must reside at his country for at least twelve months and must also hold only one citizenship.
It will be recalled that Gilchrist Olympio who was in exile in France has dual citizenship , French and Togolese.
For these two reasons , the Togolese largest opposition leader Mr Olympio was on several occasions disqualified from the presidential race in 2003 to compete against the late Gnassingbe Eyadema.
Mr Olympios UFC was compelled to field 75 years old Bob Akitani against the late Eyadema in 2003 and subsequently in 2005 after the latters sudden death.
But according to the sources , this time around Mr Olmypios strategy was to exert psychological pressure on the Togolese Head of State Faure Gnassingbe to amend the inimical constitutional laws in order to enable him to present himself for the 2010 presidential elections as the only way to pacify the country.
The Togolese multi-party constitution was amended in 2002 by Togos parliament to allow the late President Gnassingbe Eyadema to run for several terms in office.
The have put the chart in front of the horses because now the Togolese people are affected by the high prices of food and the dramatic floods events that shocked the country, said a militant of the ruling Peoples Rally Party , RPT.
It will not be a surprise to see Mr Olympio in the next months touring the continent in the hope to get the support of some African Heads of State like Yar ADuah of Nigeria , Omar Bongo of Gabon , John Kuffur of Ghana and the Burkinabe Leader Blaise Compaore who is also the mediator in the Togo dialogue to convince Faure Gnassingbe in order to allow him to take part in the presidential race scheduled for 2010, the militant added.
But in Lome some observers saw Mr Olympios move as pre-emptive to position himself quickly as the only eligible candidate of his party to stop the presidential aspirations of some of his lieutenants or political Apostles like Patrick Lawson , now elected 1st Vice-President , and Jean-Pierre Fabre , the partys Secretary-General.
According to the rumours circulating in the Togolese capital , the two men have put on weight in popularity in the sense that they constitute internal rivals to the political ambition of Mr Gilchrist Olympio.
Many Togolese are crossing their fingers to see if the constitutional and institutional reforms demanded on several times by the Union of Forces for Change party will be given the green light by the new multi-party parliament dominated by the ruling RPT party.
The UFC party claims that the constitutional and institutional reforms form part of the Global Political Agreement signed in august 2006.
But observers here believe that the political sky has changed with the global high food prices crisis coupled with the dramatic floods that ravaged the country.
But in may this year , the Togolese Minister for Cooperation Gilbert Bawara stressed the need for constitutional and institutional reforms but said we are not obsessed by the 2010 elections, our ambitions are to satisfy the need of the Togolese people.
After Gilchrist Olympio of the UFC party it was the turn of the Togolese former Prime Minister Agbeyome Kodjo to make public his presidential ambition as he launched his political party in Lome at the beginning of august 2008.

ByEkoue Blame , Lome


Published by African Press International – API

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