World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Role of the African Union in Togo

Letter to the chairman of the African Union

21 April 2005

Letter to H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, Chairman of the African Union and President of
the Republic of Nigeria, 21 April, 2005

Your Excellency,

I send you greetings on behalf of the global ecumenical movement. The African
Union under your current leadership has distinguished itself as a viable peacemaking
and peace-enforcing political organ by taking proactive action in relation
to the situation in Togo. The recent action that the AU, through ECOWAS,
has taken in resolving what could have been a very complex political impasse is
extremely vital. The situation calls, however, for an intensive and focused monitoring
by the African Union and the international community, because the way
ahead may not be easy.

The World Council of Churches, together with other ecumenical agencies, sent
an ecumenical delegation to Togo to express solidarity with the people and churches
in the country. According to the report of the delegation there is concern, if
not fear, about the forthcoming presidential elections in Togo. The Council shares
this concern because it is difficult, if not impossible, to organize free and fair elections
within six weeks in a country not known for its democratic culture. The
ecumenical delegation in its report states: "The time-scale determined for the
forthcoming presidential elections is technically too short to be able to inspire
the necessary trust and transparency and results acceptable to all."

We have also received disturbing reports about clashes during the weekend
between government and opposition supporters in Lomé where a number of people
were killed and wounded.

We urge Your Excellency to consider using your influence and good offices, if
possible, to extend the election date. Should that not be feasible, all efforts should
be made to ensure that peaceful elections are held under a vigilant monitoring
system. We believe time has come for the people of Togo to have a democratically-
elected government that is accountable to them.

Sincerely yours,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General secretary
World Council of Churches