Togo: Chaos Towards a Change of Leadership?

By Scott Morgan

Over the weekend of August 18th another West African State slid into crisis. The situation is not one resulting from an attack by Islamic Jihadists, nor is it a result of Global Warming; the crisis is now in Togo: a country that strategists should pay attention to.

Togo has slid into a morass that has been created by a long entrenched ruling family. The definition of long entrenched that is being used in this context is that current President Faure Gnassingbe have ruled the Country since 1967. Although there has not been criticisms levied against Togo as there have against other leaders (such as President Mugabe in Zimbabwe) it appears that some of the same dynamics are at play. This does make one wonder about the excellent line by Mr. Jefferson regarding Government not be changed for light and transient reasons.

Why should we pay attention to the situation that is currently unfolding? Over the weekend supporters of the Political Opposition were planning rallies seeking change. Reports also indicate that Security Forces attacked people on Saturday Evening as they were leaving Mosques. That shows that the Government feared a large turnout and sought to intimidate people from showing up.

Already there have been calls for those who are able to flee the Country to leave. How an influx of refugees alter the political stability of the region? Ghana will be placed in a difficult situation as a substantial number of civil servants who work in Accra currently reside in Lome (which is the Capital of Togo). That will be an immediate impact. Another country that will most likely be the destination of Refugees is Benin.

Some of the issues that plague Togo are generating a ho-hum response by most observers in the West. However, what is interesting on social media is that the diaspora of other African Countries that have had changes in Government are actively and vocally supporting the Togolese in this hour of trouble.

So why is this being ignored? Geography suggests that this is a situation that cannot be ignored. Sitting on the Gulf of Guinea an unstable Togo could present Pirates with an additional base of operations than just the Niger Delta. It is relatively close to unstable states such as Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast. Burkina Faso shares a small border with Togo as well. After the recent attack in Burkina Faso that should make some people very nervous.

But Togo also presents a case which presents the current calculus of US and Western Foreign Policy. That is what is currently more desirable: efficient Autocracies or Unreliable Democracies? That has been the current state of affairs since 2001 and it does not appear to show any change in the near future. The retarding of Democratic Ideals has the potential of creating more problems than the crackdown actually appears to solve.

Using the above mentioned criteria it is certain that Togo is on a very slippery slope. It does not have to be violent but change in leadership is not always a bad thing.

[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]


  1. In my opinion, efficient autocracies would be more desirable than unreliable democracies - that are more pseudo-democracies to deceive the West than anything else.
    African countries should look at Egypt: Egyptians wanted a leadership change and they got it twice in +/- one year - it wasn't that violent, in a sense of an all out war, but it produced a change in leadership with relative tranquility.


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