- The Togolese president’s bid to extend a family dynasty is faltering amid popular unrest
- Faure Gnassingbe’s regime has eased up on the opposition and begun fiscal reforms
- Domestic and foreign pressure to oust Gnassingbe may lead to protracted turmoil
For the past year, Togo has been in a political deadlock. In August 2017, the opposition supporters took to the streets to protest against the ruling regime and demand political reforms. Forced to react, the government adopted a carrot-and-stick strategy, reaching out to the opposition parties while cracking down on street protests.
Togo’s political crisis reflects a more general trend in sub-Saharan Africa. President Faure Gnassingbe, a leader with a mixed record who came to power by irregular means, is now trying to extend his mandate. His political ambitions, however, face increasing popular resistance. While the Togolese government seems committed to important and long overdue economic reforms, it has lost much of its political capital.