Togolese Crisis: French Gambit


Vasily Filippov


This research explores the political crisis in the Togolese Republic that has been going since the fall of 2017. The problems under investigation: the confrontation between the power personified in the President Faure Gnassinbé, and the opposition led by Jean-Pierre Fabre; the background of the conflict; a role of France in the murder of the First Togolese President Sylvanus Olympio, and the establishment of the half century dictatorship of the Gnassinbé clan. The special attention is paid to the tactic of the French President of the Fifth Republic Emmanuel Macron and the President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo, in the settlement of the Togolese crisis.

The principle of historicism and the historical reconstruction served as the methods to determine multiple factors of the political instability in Togo. These methods allowed us to conclude that at the core of the situation is the determination of the Elysee Palace to preserve the political, economic and strategical interests of France in this African country. The confrontation between the Togolese President whose legitimacy is questioned by many, and the opposition that has already shifted to the violent resistance to the odious country leader, make French President face a difficult choice.

On the one hand, the removal from power of the Gnassingbé clan could seriously politically, economically and strategically hurt the Fifth Republic and become sign of the erosion of the whole “Franceafrique” system. On the other hand, an open support of F. Gnassingbé is fraught with serious reputational damage both, for E. Macron personally and for the entire French diplomacy on the Black continent. This, in turn, could Illy affect the relations of France with its African clientele, the former colonies of the French Empire.

All of the above stipulate Paris’ wait-and-see attitude. Apparently, the optimal solution of the problem, according to Macron, is the preservation of the presidential rule of F. Gnassingbé until the 2020 elections. In his opinion, the elections would either confirm the legitimacy of the acting president or would provide a democratic power succession. The time left until the elections he expects to use to secure guarantees from the leaders of the opposition for all the preferences the Fifth Republic enjoys in its relations with the Togolese Republic. In the event of the crisis escalation France is ready to play a political gambit to gain sympathy of the opposition leaders at the cost of removal from power of its former favorite F. Gnassingbé.

The novelty and importance of the research is conditioned by the current events in Togo: the political crisis has not yet become a subject of analysis of the Russian and Western scholars.


France, Togo, Guinea, political crisis, power, opposition, For Gnassingbe, Jean-Pierre Fabre, Emmanuelle Macron, Nano Akufo-Addo.




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