Togolese election 2015

35995355-togo-outline-inset-into-a-map-of-africa-over-a-white-backgroundPostscript (that is kind of a pre-script): After pressure from ECOWAS Togo has postponed its elections by ten days until April the 25th. We are preparing a piece now on why countries postpone elections, as well as developing our full host of Togo coverage which will be across three languages: French/English/Ewe. We are producing our first podcasts for Togo and the twitter will be live tweeting from Togolese.

By Eleanor Kennedy-

614543_10151158206347223_454608975_oWest Africa sees numerous elections in 2015. All eyes are on the giant, Nigeria. Yet a mere week after Nigeria’s elections- the 28th of March- their small neighbour, Togo crawls to the polls. [Ed’s note: now April 25th].

I’m not the first to comment on the absurdity of national borders drawn up by colonialism. The African continent illustrates this absurdity, arbitrary lines drawn in Europe cutting up and dividing more natural ethnic and language divides in Africa. All according to colonial resource based whims, and filled with contempt for local populations.526325_10151024030013015_537989766_n These borders are more than absurd, they have wrought damage- did you know that many former French colonies had to pay an independence tax to their former colonisers? Rendering them in continued poverty?

These ad-hoc borders which have patch-worked West Africa between Francophone and Anglophone countries have caused numerous obstacles in the forming of a strong regional organisation- ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West Africa- ).

Nowhere have I seen the incongruous and confusing nature of borders more than between Ghana and Togo, and Togo and Benin.552395_10151115129757223_2016541215_n Crossing the border into Lome- the capital of Togo- from Ghana’s Volta region requires a passport stamp and a chat with policemen, making standard border jokes about you being related to J.F.K because your surname is Kennedy. Ghana’s Volta region was once called Togoland and is the home in Ghana of the Ewe (pronounced ehh-way) people. There was at one time German interests in Togoland and along the Slave Coasts (or as the colonials liked to call it the Gold Coast) there were numerous European interests- making the demarcation between French and English perhaps even odder along this imaginary line. The Ewe people live throughout Togo (the major Ethnic group of Togo) and continue across Benin and even into Nigeria. The Ewe are one of Ghana’s largest ethnicities.

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