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Togo Adopts New Constitution Extending Presidential Term

TOGO has ushered in a new era with the adoption of a revised constitution, a move that extends presidential terms and could prolong President Faure Gnassingbe’s family rule, which has endured for over five decades.

The newly enacted constitution, approved by 89 out of 91 lawmakers, extends presidential terms by one year while limiting the number of terms to one. This alteration effectively enables President Faure Gnassingbe to extend his 19-year reign by an additional year beyond previous expectations.

The Gnassingbe family has maintained a firm grip on the presidency since 1967 when Gnassingbe Eyadema seized power in a coup. Following his father’s death in 2005, Faure Gnassingbe succeeded him, perpetuating the family’s political dominance.


Under the provisions of the new constitution, Faure Gnassingbe could potentially remain in power until 2031, should he secure re-election in 2025. With his party’s control over parliament, his re-election appears highly probable.

Previously, Togo’s constitution, adopted in 2019 amid street protests, allowed presidents to serve a maximum of two five-year terms through universal suffrage, potentially permitting Gnassingbe to rule until 2030.

The constitutional changes have sparked criticism from opposition parties, with the Democratic Forces of the Republic denouncing it as another attempt by the monarchical regime to consolidate power.

The adoption of the new constitution aligns Togo with a trend observed in several African countries, including the Central African Republic, Rwanda, Congo Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, and Guinea, where constitutional amendments have enabled leaders to extend their terms.

Against a backdrop of political unrest and military coups in the West and Central African region, the constitutional amendments in Togo signify a continuation of the Gnassingbe regime’s firm grip on power, marked by recurring instances of violent police crackdowns on political dissent.

Moreover, the new constitution introduces a novel governmental role, the president of the council of ministers, endowed with significant authority to oversee government affairs, further consolidating power within the ruling establishment.

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