(Panafrican News Agency, Lome, Togo, April 27, 2001)
The forthcoming early parliamentary elections and the commemoration of Togo’s 41st independence anniversary dominated comments in local dailies this week.
Commenting on celebrations marking the country’s independence anniversary, Le Soleil writes “27 April 1960 – 27 April 2001: this day is nobody’s property”.
“What seems paradoxical is that some citizens are trying to make 27 April, Togo’s Independence Day, their own,” it observes, citing “It is the case of Gilchrist Olympio and his clique.”
“Every year, Gilchrist behaves as if this feast is his, and seizes the opportunity to provoke the (President Gnassingbe) Eyadema regime”, it says.
It argues that “the proclamation of Togo’s independence on 27 April 1960 by Sylvanus Olympio (father of Gilchrist) was only an accident (since) any other person could have done so instead.”
Under the title “The memorable day”, the editorialist of the daily, Crocodile observes: “Like a scar, 27 April is engraved and embedded in the memory of all Togolese despite the numerous attempts to denigrate it, or to make us hate it”.
It recalled the struggle for freedom which led to independence on 27 April 1960, observing that since then, the country “has been living a cursed life as if its soul has been sold to the devil”.
The paper observes that “27 April is still the poorly celebrated among national days, saying it “is shameful and unfortunate that such a great day which constitutes the cornerstone of our history is treated with such disdain”.
Nouvel Eclat, close to the presidency, says, “The people suffocated by a delirious political community”, in reference opposition call for suspension of EU financial assistance over alleged malpractice in the last election.
“What is most disappointing and discouraging is this political class which wants to link the suspension of external aid to electoral reasons and not to issues of interest to the people”.
Carrefour and Crocodile announce the arrival of facilitators of the inter-Togolese talks to reason with the ruling Rally of Togolese People and its leader” with a view to solving the Togolese political crisis.
Crocodile announces that facilitators Ide Oumarou and Von Stulpnagel brought a letter for Eyadema regarding the submission of the demand for funding of early parliamentary elections scheduled on 14 and 28 October 2001.