The president does not want to let go

When Faure finally announced that he is going back to unamended constitution, meaning
that he will take care of elections within 60 days, but also
that he will stay in power until then and not hand the power over to the speaker of parliament,
it was not enough for the Westafrican Union: They raised an arms embargo, a travelban for
togolese officials, withdrew all embassadors of the Westafrican Union fom Togo and excluded
togolese officials from all offices within the union. It is still doubtfull, if the elections will be fair!

Demonstration and even more Canadians :)

At the oppositional demonstration in Lomé on saturday where about 25.000 participants,
but apparantly nobody seemed to be hurt. Since the situation is still not at ease some Canadians
from Quebec (also french – speaking) decided to take a break at Kpalimé over the weekend
We chatted a little on saturday evening and on sunday and they are spending the next weekend
at a cocospalm beach and already invited me :). Sounds like fun :).

The President is organizing elections himself and Manifestations with stationary machine guns

The president still spoke yesterday (we happend to have a black out during that time 🙂 )
and announced that he will stay in office but will organize elections himself until the end of
the 60 day period.
There has also been a demonstration in Kpalimé, some of our artists went there and
saw a stationary machine gun with sand barricades! For some time now you can also see
Jeeps with a mounted machine gun on top and a post behind it – it is really another country!!

It is not that we do not care about it, but live goes on and we are making the best
out of it. This morning we had some pancakes and they tasted as good as the european ones :).
Before I still played volleyball and afterwards we still went to the pool! 🙂

Everything takes it’s time and the new ones are not coming

By now it is for shure that the new volunteers will not come down here due to the current situation.
We do not know when the next ones will come, but we are still about 17 volunteers here.

The president has been invited to an conference with the president from Niger. Upon his
arrived he was not welcomed with all ceremonial manners, but directly taken behind closed dors.
Still he did not make any announcements about the current situation.

They called for another demonstration tomorrow. At least tomorrow it seems to be legal,
since the government is going to have one, too, so they made it legal for one day.
They are also paying 10.000 CFA (about 20 bucks) to every participant!
There is also going to be one from the opposition, which finally seems to rally for the cause,
in Kpalimé starting at 8 am.

The sport project for the sensibilisation about Aids is really starting to claim its time.
Yesterday and today we had sessions of 4 hours each. We are still working at the concept,
althoug we have several other people with us now. Still we are not done yet…

The president is not talking and the tension rises

Once again some volunteers left, now 4 at the same time, but there were very good friends
among them and I will have too see, how much time it will take to close the gap at least a little
bit!

The president should have anounced his decision about the question whether or not he will
return to the former constituion for some time now, but all announced dates seem to be a farce.
It depends on his decision, whether or not the African Union and their supporting states (USA, EU and many more)
will raise sanctions against Togo. The members of the council already said that it looks good,
but since he is keeping his decision off the public longer and longer I do not know what to believe!
We will see. (I am becoming more and more african 🙂 )

3-4 Deaths, Party with soldiers, Metal under the open sky and 4 hours of Church

Demonstrationen und Tränengas

On thursday a oppositional party called for a “Peace March”, which was unfortunately
dispersed pretty quick by tears gas granades of the military. Due to a lack of communication another
oppositional party called for another “Peace March” on friday. This time about 3 to 4 people died!

The delegates of the westafrican states were about to come to Lomé for a conference
with Faure Gnassningbé, but he wanted to hold the conference in Kara, near his city of birth
and at the same time a bastion of loyal soldiers. The delegates refused, as well as Faure turned down
an invitation to Niger. The call for a strike is out again for today.
Somebody from the government is now supposed to hold a speech before the security council of
the United Nations in Munich.

Since 5 other volunteers are leaving soon, we had another farewell-party, but since the state
had ordered a 2 month period of mourning, and our bureau is almost directly opposite of the barracks
of Kpalimé, we had only the essentials at the bureau and continued in the rooftop bar 🙂 !
Directly at the beginning we still saw the barracks beeing reenforced by another troop transport.
For the rooftop bar we still moved a box and an amplifier there by moto – extra wide cargo transport :).
At the party we could of course play our music. Falk and I then still wanted to continue until sunrise and
still stayed, listening to Metal and drinking coke (half a liter for 50 Cent) all night long under the open
african sky – the only happens every once in a while or even once in a lifetime!
The next morning I still went to church at 7 am with Abalo and Dorothea.
It started with bibel studies. The faith is pretty strong here and nobody wants to be a bad christian!
Then there was the service itself.
That is pretty different over here, a lot like the pentacostal church. The minister is constantly screaming
pretty agressivly. It was fun anyway, since the Ewe translator directly next to him always tried to keep
up with him and sometimes the whole thing ended up as a role play game :). Most of the songs were
just overwhelming and whoever wanted to dance could do so, what a lot of people also did.
There was also a band playing with the drum, electronic guitar, a keyboard and two singers, but there
was also a choir with traditional drums! The end was at about 11:15. After another visit to a café
and 30 hours of uptime I finally crashed in my bed. What an interesting and exciting day (or even 2 🙂 ).

Faure

Special summit

The deputies of the Ecowas (Economical Organisation of West African States?)
are gathering for a special summit in Lomé on the 10th to talk about how to enforce
democracy. By now several states of the western world support the West African Union and
waiting for the outcome of their next steps. The reaction of the togolese people will also depend
on it – we await the outcome of this day!
The expected amnesty has been given today, but only today. Only in Lomé 1498 inmates
have been freed.

Radio France International, an internationale radiostation are beeing jammed
or the relais are shut off, since they “apparently support the opposition”.

Demonstrations have only been banned until the end of the 60 day election period.
The opposition is calling for peace marsh anyway.

Prison and new volunteers

The new volunteers have arrived, but they already had a taxi ride of about 300 kilometres
from Cotonou to Kpalimé. At least they arrived savely!

When a new ruler raises to power, sometimes they call out a general amnesty, so the
families of the inmates in Lomé gathered in front of the prison. The soldiers on watch
thought that it was a demonstration, so they shot at them killing eight people.

Slowly things are going back to normal, at least in Kpalimé.
The call for a strike, that had been sent out has been followed by some, but not many and
has only been called for monday and tuesday.

Tonight we still went into the rooftop bar and met Zota there, an artistic group of drummers
and dancers, with whom some volunteers also have a lot of contact.
We still sang happy birthday in German, English, French, Éwé and Spanish
and taked (unvoluntarily) about German soccer! When we left at about
1 am, Constantin, Julika and Andrea had seen a fire and the people responsible were not
far off – maybe they were imitators of what that already taken place or maybe even the same
people…

Strikes and an Amendment

Ok, a little bit has changed down here, as you might have noticed yourself in the news:

A lot of students did not go to university on Monday, but reacted on the taking over of
power with a strike.

There has also been a big demonstration in Lomé, where they used gas. From tomorrow
on, strikes are forbidden by presidential order!(Lomé is know as a oppositional center).

The borders are open again. The former leader of the parliament, who had been kept
outside the country up to now, could come back.

Faure Gnassingbé, the oldest son of Eyadéma and former minister of communcations changed
the constitution on sunday, so that after the death of the president, the leader of the
parliament becomes the new President for the rest of the legislative period – on monday he
got elected as the leader of the parliament and a little later as the president.

Before the amendment, the article 65 of the constitution said, that the leader of the
parliament becomes the leader of the state for 60 days, after which there has to be an
election for the new president.

The take over has been criticized by many, also african, leaders – the french mobilized
their troops, in case that they have to protect their countrymen.

Her in Kpalimé hand outs are beeing spread, calling for a strike – the possibility, that
this becomes reality, is seen as little by the locals.

The president of our organisation (Horace) is still in Lomé, the fetch the 2 new voluteers,
who might still be in Benin.

We will see what happens. We are calm, but on guard.