Togolese Flee Into Ghana

A number of Togolese are reported to have moved to Ghana ahead of today's elections in that country in apparent fear for an upheaval. Reports gathered by the Times say that some of them carrying their luggage and others driving their vehicles had moved to Aflao in the Volta Region. This created traffic jam at the Ghana side of the border. The crossings took place before the closure of the Ghana-Togo border on Tuesday. Seven political parties, including Rassenblement du Peuples Togolaise (RPT), the ruling party, will be contesting for the presidential election. Togo has closed its borders with Ghana, Benin and other neighbouring countries since 8:30 pm on Tuesday. An official at the Togo Embassy in Accra who declined to give his name said though his outfit had received reports of people moving to Ghana their fear of possible turmoil was baseless. He attributed the panic to the work of some politicians in Togo whose activities had put fear in a section of the electorate. The source said Togo, like any democratic country, would not do anything to mar the democratic process, adding that Togo had signed many international peace accords and would not do anything contrary to those accords. He said Togolese resident outside could not cast their votes because the country did not have statistics on nationals residing outside. The source explained that before a citizen could vote that person must be registered in Togo and not in any other country. Gradually, we would get to where Togolese resident outside the country can vote but at the moment they cannot do so, the source said. Two Togolese nationals who spoke to the Times in Accra Wednesday said they had come to stay with their relatives in Accra because they would not want to be caught up in any political anarchy which might occur after the elections. The head of Public Affairs of the Ghana Immigration Service, Francis Palmdeti, confirmed to the Times that before the Togolese border was closed on Tuesday there was heavy traffic at the Aflao border due to the movement of Togolese into Ghana. However, he said, the pressure at the border had reduced following the closure of the Togo side. Ghana's side of the border still remains open.