Farida Nabourema spoke to podcast listeners from an undisclosed location in West Africa, out of fear for her personal safety. Farida is a prominent Togolese activist and these are very tense times in Togo. Several people have been killed in protests in recent months amid a growing opposition movement that is calling for the re-instatement of presidential term limits. These term limits are guaranteed under the Togolese constitution, but nonetheless are being ignored by the regime.
Togo is a small country in west Africa, with a population of about 7.5 million people. It has been ruled for the last 50 years by the same family. Eyadéma Gnassingbé came to power in 1967 and ruled until his death in 2005, whereupon his son, Faure Gnassingbé became president. Faure is ruling to this day and is seeking to undertake some moves of dubious constitutionality that could extend his rule far into the future.
It is in this volatile political environment that Farida is engaging her activism and supporting a movement to enforce president term limits and a return to democracy.
We have a very interesting conversation, not only about Togo, but also about the role of anger in sustaining an opposition movement and also the strategic value of non-violence. We also discuss how she became an activist, which you will learn was something she very much grew up with.