Togo joins growing number of African countries to allow diaspora vote in elections
London, Nov. 9, 2019 (AltAfrica)– The Togolese Republic, also known as Togo, the tiny west African country has taken a giant step towards an inclusive democratic experience
First time in its history, Togo’s citizens outside the country can now vote in elections. This comes after Members of Parliament (MPs) voted on the matter on November 6, 2019.
Togo’s opposition parties have been calling for this change, especially with general elections coming off in 2020. But the governing UNIR had rejected the calls in the past.
Earlier this year, the legislature changed the constitution, making way for the president to contest one more election after next year. President Eyadema has presided over the country since his father died in 2012.
Opposition leader, Gilchrist Olympio, whose father was Togo’s first president, had called for the President not to run in next year’s polls.
Togo’s population is just under eight million making it one of the smallest countries in the world
So far almost a dozen African countries including Burkina Faso, Mali allow their citizens living abroad to cast their votes. And Ghana and Morocco are in the process of giving their expats the same rights.
Namibian citizens living abroad have been allowed to vote in national elections since 2014, when amendments were made to the Electoral Act 2009, Namibian expatriates may vote at temporary registration points, usually set up at Namibian embassies or high commissions
Pursuant to Chapter 1, Section 10 of Electoral Act 73 of 1998, South African citizens living abroad retain the right to vote in national elections, with no expiry date. Expatriate citizens wishing to vote must do so in person at a South African embassy, consulate or high commission
In Ghana, a Human Rights High Court has ordered the Electoral Commission to take all necessary steps to enable Ghanaians living abroad to vote in the 2020 elections.
The Representation of the People Amendment Act 2006, (Act 699) was passed into law 11 years ago, during the Kufuor Administration, but has since not been implemented. The court presided over by Justice Anthony Yeboah said the implementation must be carried out within the next one year.
The court in its judgement said the Electoral Commission has no justifiable reason not to carry out the dictates of a law that binds them. The court said the EC’s justification for the delay in implementing is unreasonable and outrageous.