The dictator is dead, long live the dictator…
I am still doing fine, but here is what happened.
He was the ditator that was the longest in office (38 years) and slowed down
the developpement of his country severely. He was the 8th richest man in the world.
On of his sons took over the power and was inaugurated by the military
just hours after the death was proclaimed. Up to then, the prime minister was
according to the “democratic Constitution”
officially the highest official of the nation.
Eyadéma had been brought out of the country due to urgent treatment and died
in the morning on saturday, the 5th february 2005. Since the official announcement
all either ground, air or naval travel in and out of the country had been halted
until further notice. It seems to be a calm change of power, but nothing is for
We are registered at the german embassy and will be informed and evacuted if there
ist the need for it.
Throughout the evening the rumor spread that the president was no more and I saw
people dance as they did not since their childhood.
The local radio had nothing on his death and did not even mention it. Radio from
Lomé (the capital) was too difficult to get.
The television only had a stand-by picture and played christian music. (Every once
in a while the tape was rewound or ripped apart – the sound could have been both 🙂 .)
It ws only interupted by the news every hour, but there they also only played the
announcement of the prime minister. Since television is censored in this state (or
at least it was), we (some other volunteers, Abalo (an african) and I) went to
a lokal bar where they have satellite television (TV5).
Once arrived, we noticed that soccer was on! After another 10 minutes and 3 minutes
overtime plus some commercials finally the news where on. It was first about some
protests in France. The death of “our” dictator was only a short 10 second
notice, but apparently not all the visiters of the bars had already heard it.
They started to celebrated with Coke and beer as with champaign but stopped after
a while, since it is still not secure to show your opinion about the dictator’s
family in public and one does not know the outcome of this.
Nobody on the street celebrated too much, but some chanted quietly. Everywhere
things where beeing brought into savety, since nobody knows if now some people are
feeling a little less “restrained”
When we still went into the “la Case” to see the 10pm news, the highest
general was still holding a speech, saying that the military fores will keep the
people quiet. (Also another reasing to take bribes on the route to Lomé to
“continue the ride” – three years ago the price was at about
500 CFA (1 Buck), by now there are no more 500 bills, the next one is a thousand.
There are 3 posts on the way to Lomé.) After that we still saw the pledge
of allegiance to the dictator’s son and by now I am writing all that down. We will
see more tomorrow…
“His excellence Gnassingbé Eyadéma” came into power
in 1967 by a military uprising against the first democratic government after the
independence from France on the 27th of april 1960
The lack of the government to find work for 600 former soldiers of the French army
resulted in a coup d’état on january 13th, 1963 in which Eyadéma took part.
Olypio was murdered and Nicolas Grunitzky took over the presidency.
On january 13th, 1967 Grunitzky was relieved from his post without bloodshed,
parliament and parties were abolished and a military government was proclaimed, that
was with minory changes in effect until now.
In july 2003 Eyadéma was reelected for a third time after he had just made
it possible through an amendment of the constitution.
I am still doing fine, but I don’t know whether I have to go or if the situation
will be stable.