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here please subscribe and turn on the notification so you don’t miss our next video. How the Military Entered the Togolese Politics Togo is a West African country that is well
known for its political leaders, like the long-term President Eyadéma who was involved
in two coups. The country has experienced some military
coups after its independence from France in 1960. Shortly after its independence, some Togolese
who served in the French army were discharged. Emmanuel Bodjollé, who was a former master-sergeant
in the French army alongside 300 former officers of the French army, asked the new Togolese
government to allow them continue military service within the Togolese army.
The president of Togo at the time, and former prime minister Sylvanus Olympio refused to
permit these former French military officers into the Togolese army, because he had insisted
that the army would be small and not heavily funded.
The president was strongly against the idea that the Republic of Togo should have a large
army. As a result, former officers, Emmanuel Bodjollé and Etienne Eyadéma, among others
were prevented from joining the Togolese army. This was probably what provoked the military
takeover because just a few days before the military coup, Sylvanus Olympio had refused
Etienne Eyadéma’s personal appeal to expand the army and allow former soldiers like him
to join. Emmanuel Bodjollé then planned a military
coup with about 30 other former officers against President Olympio’s government.
On the 13th of January 1963, ministers of Olympio’s government got arrested. Just
past midnight, Sylvanus Olympio’s home got invaded and he tried to escape from the military
men. Sadly, he was shot dead at the gate of the
United States` embassy by Etienne Eyadéma. Sylvanus Olympio’s body was found in front
of the embassy by the U.S. Ambassador Leon Poullada.
This was the first coup d’état and military interruption of the Togolese politics, and
even among all African countries that gained independence from France and Britain between
1950 and 1970. Emmanuel Bodjollé then became Togo’s head
of government until Nicolas Grunitzky was selected by the military committee of coup
leaders to become Togo’s second President two days later. The second military coup in Togo took place
in 1967, just four years after the first. Etienne Eyadéma, who was then a lieutenant
colonel in the Togolese Army, planned the second military coup of the country against
President Nicolas Grunitzky. Eyadéma had been directly involved in the
first military coup too. This military intervention took place on the 13th of January 1967, and
it was a bloodless one that may be remembered as one of the first military takeovers without
violence in Africa. Lieutenant Colonel Étienne Eyadéma led
the military coup which removed Togo’s second President Grunitzky, whom he had helped bring
into power in the 1963 coup. After this coup, Togo’s political parties
were banned, and every other constitutional process was suspended.
In the following days, Colonel Kléber Dadjo became the Chairman of the National Reconciliation
Committee and interim president of Togo. Colonel Dadjo remained the interim president
of Togo until the 14th of April 1967 when Etienne Eyadema made himself president of
Togo and the country’s Minister of National Defence.
General Etienne Eyadéma remained in office for 38 years. President Eyadéma’s government faced an
attempted coup in 1986. The coup attempt was planned and set to take place on the 23rd
of September 1986. It involved a group of about 70 armed men
who opposed the ruling political group. They crossed into the nation’s capital Lomé,
from Ghana, in an unsuccessful attempt to remove General Gnassingbé Eyadéma, who
was formerly known as Etienne Eyadéma. Reports from the radio news stated that the
armed men entered the country through the border which connected Ghana and Lomé at
about 8 p.m. They had come into Togo in about 40 trucks,
and were driving toward the military camp where President Eyadéma lived in.
These members of opposing forces started attack with rocket launchers and automatic guns.
They also went on to attack the ruling RPT party headquarters and radio stations.
According to radio reports, the attacks of the invading forces were countered by the
armed forces of Togo, led by President Eyadéma himself.
The coup was stopped with the combined efforts of the Togolese Armed Forces troops and warplanes.
There were about 13 deaths, including six civilians in the fight that lasted through
the night. It was reported that 19 of the men who planned
the attack were arrested. The officials at the West German Foreign Ministry
confirmed that one of its citizens, who was a businessman, died in the fight.
After this coup attempt, the Ghana-Togo border, which the coup planners crossed was shut.
A state-wide curfew was announced in Lomé and nobody was allowed to walk on its streets.
President Eyadéma asked France for military assistance, and the French Defence Ministry
announced on the 26th of September 1986 that France was sending troops and planes to Togo,
according to a 1963 agreement that they had. Gnassingbé Eyadéma, was re-elected on
the 21st of December 1986 in the presidential election. He remained unopposed and was Togo’s
president till he died on the 5th of February 2005. What have we missed on of this history?
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