In 1960 Togo gained its independence adapting a democratic form of government in 1961 under the watch of the country's first Prime Minister, Sylvanus Olympio being the first democratically elected president in Togo. Just after independence, in 1963 Sgt. Etienne Eyadéma (later known as Gen. Gnassingbé Eyadéma) and other high officers toppled the new government and Gen. Eyadéma became the country's military ruler in 1967 making history as one of the longest serving military rulers in Africa.
In 2002, Togo's national assembly voted unanimously to eliminate presidential term limits allowing President Eyadéma to run for a third term in the 2003 presidential elections winning 57% of the votes, an election marred with irregularities.
In February 2005, President Gnassingbé Eyadéma died after thirty eight years in power. With the help of the country's army, his son, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé was made president contrary to the country's constitution thereby sparking violence and protest in the country. Due to international pressure and national tension, a presidential election was held in Togo on April 2005. Violence engulfed the country during the election and the period preceding it reporting the deaths of an estimated 500 persons and thousands fleeing into neighbouring Benin and Ghana. In May, 2005, Faure Gnassingbé was sworn in as the new president with 60% of the vote according to official results.
With respect to the presidential election of 2010, Togo has a Permanent Framework for Dialogue and Consultation, which was set up by the government on 4 February 2009, together with representatives of political parties, civil society, church leaders and some resource persons. The main role of this framework is to reflect and discuss political, economic and social issues and to submit proposals to the Parliament and the Government. The objective is to be proactive and take decisions before conflicts escalate. However, opposition political parties and some resource persons have left the framework which has weakened and has less trust today. An agreement on critical post-elections governance reforms was reachedprior to the February poll; an agreement among political parties in March 2010 to develop a national conflict management architecture (drawing on the experience of Ghana's National Peace Council from the February 2010 Naivasha meeting on experience-sharing exercise); a political party "code of conduct" and a public peace campaign were developed and implemented with UNDP assistance. Reinforcing this structure could be helpful.
UNDP has considered setting up some Peace Councils.
NGOs/Civil society engagement
The government is open towards working with peacebuilding NGOs and there is a platform of NGOs, supportive for such an approach. WANEP-Togo will be a key partner in such an initiative.
WANEP's leading role in peacebuilding and conflict transformation was also recognised when the national network coordinator of WANEP was nominated as a commissioner to represent civil society at the Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission.
Potential for enhancing Infrastructures for Peace
The establishment of a platform for political dialogue prior to national elections in 2010, and the ability of civic actors to conduct a sustained "peace campaign," led to a reduction in tensions and peaceful elections, as well as a stable post-electoral period.