Gambia’s Foreign Minister Ousainou Darboe has denied asking Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe to resign amid opposition protest for the longstanding ruler to step aside.
Darboe said he was dismayed by the Reuters publication, in which he reportedly called for the resignation of Mr. Gnassingbe.
According to Mr. Darboe, the views he expressed was that “the decision for President Faure to stay in power or not is the sole and sovereign decision of the people of Togo.”
“At this moment, there is no reason warranting the Government of the Republic of The Gambia to take a position, since the Togolese people continue to make efforts to find a solution to the crisis,” he said.
Togo’s opposition has rejected the reforms proposal from the Gnassingbe backed Parliament, which included term limits after a referendum.
The planned referendum has failed to appease the opposition who say that it would not be retroactive, meaning that Gnassingbe could stay until 2030.
The opposition alleges security forces are unleashing violence on protesters, charges authorities deny.
Two days previously, Darboe told Reuters: “I think the African Union and ECOWAS should engage Togo and persuade the president to step down.”
“When it goes against accepted norms I don’t think it should be treated as an internal affair,” he added.
Faure Gnassingbé has been head of state since 2005 when he took over from his father Gnassingbé Eyadema, who seized power in a coup in 1967, seven years after independence.
Demonstrations have largely been peaceful and their scale has been huge, with organizers claiming that as many as 800,000 people took to the streets.