Togo: the National Alliance for Change (Alliance nationale pour le changement, ANC), including its structure, the treatment of its members by the government and the issuance of membership cards (2010-May 2013) [TGO104401.FE]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Information on the Party

The National Alliance for Change (Alliance nationale pour le changement, ANC) was created in October 2010 by Jean-Pierre Fabre (PHW 2011, 1429; Jeune Afrique 11 Oct. 2010). The ANC is an opposition party (ibid. 24 Nov. 2011; AFP 12 May 2013; Africa Confidential 19 Oct. 2012). Sources indicate that the ANC was created after the Union of Forces for Change (Union des forces de changement, UFC), led by Gilchrist Olympio, formed a partnership with the elected government in 2010 (ibid.; PHW 2011, 1429). According to Jeune Afrique, a French weekly that provides African news (Jeune Afrique n.d.), [translation] "certain more radical elements" of the UFC then left the party, including the former secretary general and candidate at the last presidential elections, Jean-Pierre Fabre, who founded the ANC (ibid. 24 Nov. 2011). A Jeune Afrique article states that the ANC's constitutional assembly was held in October 2010, [translation] "in the presence of 90 per cent of the members of the UFC national office committed to the opponent Jean-Pierre Fabre" (11 Oct. 2010).

2. Structure

According to the ANC website,

[translation]

[t]he constitution organizes the internal activity and guarantees democratic vitality at every level around the following bodies:

  • Congress - the ANC's supreme body guides the party's actions and decides finally all matters brought before it by the party's other bodies. It commits the party by its decisions;
  • National Council - the largest assembly that meets between two congresses; it commits the party by its decisions, except in those areas that the constitution reserves exclusively for the Congress;
  • Executive Committee - the policy-making body of the party that provides national leadership of the ANC and carries out the decisions of Congress, the National Council and the National Office;
  • National Office - the decision-making body of the party between two congresses and when the National Council is not in session that is empowered to make any decision about any emerging national and international issue, in accordance with the guidelines laid out by Congress; it is responsible for implementing general policy decisions made by Congress; it establishes a policy committee, to which it delegates some of its powers;
  • Policy Committee - by delegation from the National Office, it provides policy direction for the ANC;
  • Council of Elders - a consultative body whose members are proposed by the National Office and appointed by the Congress;
  • Women of the ANC (Dames de l'ANC, DNC) - a national body made up of female members and advocating in the ANC's federations;
  • Youth of the ANC (Jeunesse de l'ANC, JNC) - a national body made up of members of both sexes and advocating in the ANC's prefectorial and international federations;
  • National secretariats - responsible for prospective and strategic research on proposals for the party's platform on social issues
  • Permanent commissions - responsible for action and reflection tasks concerning the organization, and the conduct and supervision of the activities of the party;
  • Specialized commissions - responsible for resolving or following the development of a specific matter or the analysis of a particular issue;
  • National and International federations - created by the national office as the administrative organization develops and the country demographics develop, as needed;
  • Sections and sub-sections - represent communities within the federation (ANC n.d.b).

The document titled Statuts, which concerns the internal organization of the ANC, is attached to this Response.

3. Membership Cards

According to the ANC website, one can join the party by mail (ANC n.d.c). The website states that a person interested in joining the party must download and fill out the enrolment form and then send it, along with the appropriate fee for the type of membership desired, to the Lomé office or to the office of the international federation in Paris (ibid.). It states that a membership card is sent by mail to the new member as soon as their application has been processed (ANC n.d.d). The enrolment form states that the fees may be paid by cheque or by money order (ANC n.d.e). The different types of membership offered and the fees to be paid are as follows:

  • Basic one-year membership: 20 euros (EUR) [1 EUR = about C$1.35 (XE 29 May 2013)]
  • One-year membership for couple: 40 EUR
  • One-year youth membership (under 30 years of age, students): 10 EUR
  • Membership + one-year support: 35 EUR
  • Couple membership + one-year support: 50 EUR (ANC n.d.e).

For members who want to leave the party, article 12 of the ANC's constitution states the following: [translation] "outgoing or expelled members must return their membership cards to the party as well as any property belonging to the party" (ANC 10 Oct. 2010).

Further information on membership in the ANC or on membership cards could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

4. Treatment of Members by the Government

According to two media sources, several supporters of Jean-Pierre Fabre, who were used to meeting on Saturdays to protest the re-election of Faure Gnassingbé, were injured on 9 October 2010 by security forces who were trying to stop their protest (Jeune Afrique 11 Oct. 2010; Koaci 9 Oct. 2010). The police officers used tear gas (ibid.) and [translation] "blank rounds to disperse the crowd, which was trying to take refuge in the ANC leader's home" (Jeune Afrique 11 Oct. 2010).

Security forces intervened to end another opposition protest on 14 July 2012, and entered the home of Jean-Pierre Fabre (BBC 19 July 2012; RFI 15 July 2012). According to Radio France internationale, about thirty people were injured during the raid (ibid.). The BBC reported that [translation] "a hospital source states that many were injured, six seriously" (19 July 2012). Following an investigation into the 14 July 2012 incident, the Minister of Security and Civil Protection stated that the home of the ANC leader was subjected to [translation] "assault by the security forces"; the minister suspended four members of the security forces for a period of 60 days, who were subsequently to appear before a disciplinary council, and he stated that the [translation] "care of the injured would be handled by the state" (Togo 18 July 2012).

An article published in March 2013 by Deutsche Welle, a German broadcaster established in 1953 (DW n.d.), "several members of the Togolese opposition have been arrested since January [2013] after the fires that claimed the Lomé and Kara markets" (DW 13 March 2013). It also states that the people arrested were members of the Let's Save Togo collective (collectif Sauvons le Togo, CST) (ibid.). An Agence France-Presse (AFP) article states that 35 people, mostly opposition activists, were [translation] "charged" in connection with these fires, 24 of which were taken into [translation] " custody" (AFP 12 May 2013). According to the AFP, the CST [translation] "brings together Togolese civil society and several opposition parties, including the ANC" (ibid.). For more information on the CST, please consult Response TGO104400.

In connection with the fire incident, Jean-Pierre Fabre and Abass Kaboua, president of the Movement of Centrist Republicans (Mouvement des républicains centrists), another opposition party, were placed under court supervision in March 2013 (Jeune Afrique with AFP 13 March 2013; DW 15 March 2013). The two men were suspected of [translation] "conspiracy to destroy public property" and of "criminal association" (ibid.; Jeune Afrique with AFP 13 March 2013). Jean-Pierre Fabre stated the following in a message to his fellow countrymen:

[translation]

You are all aware that in the matter of the fires in the Kara and Lomé markets, the committing magistrate unjustly charged us, some CST colleagues and myself, of conspiracy to destroy public property by fire and criminal association, and placed us under the supervision of the court, prohibiting us from leaving Lomé or the country without authorization. ...We continue to say with resolve that neither the ANC nor the CST, their leaders or their members, were involved, either directly or indirectly, in the fires that caused so much damage to our country and so much suffering for our people. All of the charges against us are completely baseless and without a shred of evidence (cited in AllAfrica.com 27 March 2013).

One of the people detained in Lomé after the fires in the markets, Étienne Yakanou Kodjo, an ANC member, died in May 2013 (AI 15 May 2013; AFP 12 May 2013; APA 14 May 2013). According to the CST, Étienne Yakanou Kodjo was subjected to [translation] "physical abuse and other inhumane and degrading treatment, before being transferred to the annex of the police camp" (quoted in AFP 12 May 2013). In addition, according to Amnesty International, [translation] "before treating him, a nurse demanded money in exchange for the care provided; the detainee gave the nurse 10,000 CFA francs (about 15 euros)" (AI 15 May 2013). However, according to the public prosecutor, the detainee died following an attack of malaria (AFP 12 May 2013) for which he had received the necessary care (ibid.; APA 14 May 2013).

Further information on the developments of that matter could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Africa Confidential. 19 October 2012. Vol. 53, No. 21. "Faure Fading Fast." [Accessed 21 May 2013]

Agence de presse africaine (APA). 14 May 2013. "Plainte contre la gendarmerie togolaise, après la mort en prison d'un opposant." (Factiva)

Agence France-Presse (AFP). 12 May 2013. "Togo : le décès d'un militant de l'opposition détenu fait polémique." (Factiva)

AllAfrica.com. 27 March 2013. "L'opposition dénonce un régime de terreur." (Factiva)

Alliance nationale pour le changement (ANC). 10 October 2010. Statuts. [Accessed 16 May 2013]

_____. N.d.a. "Notre histoire." [Accessed 16 May 2013]

_____. N.d.b. "Nos organes." [Accessed 21 May 2013]

_____. N.d.c. "Adhésion." [Accessed 16 May 2013]

_____. N.d.d. "Adhésion par courrier." [Accessed 16 May 2013]

_____. N.d.e. "Bulletin d'adhésion ANC." [Accessed 16 May 2013]

Amnesty International (AI). 15 May 2013. "Togo : usage excessif de la force et décès en détention." (AFR 57/002/2013) [Accessed 16 May 2013]

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 19 July 2012. Nicolas Agbossou. "Togo : mea culpa d'un ministre." [Accessed 27 May 2013]

Deutsche Welle (DW). 13 March 2013. "Deux opposants togolais inculpés." (Factiva)

_____. N.d. "Who We Are." [Accessed 27 May 2013]

Jeune Afrique [Paris]. 24 November 2011. Georges Dougueli. "Togo : un nouveau départ politique et de nouveaux équilibres à trouver." [Accessed 16 May 2013]

_____. 11 October 2010. Jean-Claude Abalo. "Jean-Pierre Fabre crée son ANC." [Accessed 16 May 2013]

_____. N.d. "Contacts." [Accessed 27 May 2013]

Jeune Afrique [Paris] with AFP. 13 March 2013. "Togo : l'opposant Jean-Piere Fabre inculpé dans l'affaire des incendies de Kara et Lomé." [Accessed 28 May 2013]

Koaci. 9 October 2010. "Samedi de répression respecté à Lomé". [Accessed 27 May 2013]

Political Handbook of the World 2011 (PHW). 2011. "Togo." Edited by Tom Lansford. Washington, DC: CQ Press.

Radio France internationale (RFI). 15 July 2012. "A Lomé, des violences policières dans la maison de l'opposant Jean-Pierre Fabre." [Accessed 27 May 2013]

Togo. 18 July 2012. "Rapport d'enquête du ministre de la Sécurité et de la Protection civile". [Accessed 27 May 2013]

XE. 29 May 2013. "Convertisseur de devises XE." [Accessed 21 May 2013]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral source: Attempts to contact an ANC representative were unsuccessful.

Internet sites, including: Africa Intelligence; Africa Presse; Afrik.com; Afrique Express; Les Afriques; Afrol News; ecoi.net; Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme; Freedom house; Human Rights Watch; l'Humanité.fr; Institute for War and Peace Reporting; International Crisis Group; Minority Rights Group International; Royal African Society; United Nations – ReliefWeb; United States – Department of State, Overseas Security Advisory Council.

Attachment

Alliance nationale pour le changement (ANC). 10 October 2010. Statuts. [Accessed 16 May 2013]