afrol News, 25 October - The Togolese President, Faure Gnassingbé, left people dumbfounded last Monday when he joined Muslims in the capital Lomé to observe Eid El-fitr prayers, which heralds the end of Muslims fasting month.
President Gnassingbé was joined by his Prime Minister, Yawovi Agboyibo and Speaker of Parliament, Elhadj Abass Bonfoh. Both Mr Gnassingbé and Mr Agboyibo are Christians whose action was done to bolster the spirit of national reconciliation, which came on the heels of the April 2005 disputed presidential elections.
It was believed that nearly 500 people were killed in the political fracas, which to a certain degree mirrors the country's north-south division between Muslims and Christians.
Faure Gnassingbé was installed as President after the death of his father, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, on 5 February 2005. Three months later he won an election that was marred by fraud and violence.
Fifteen percent of Togo's estimated 5 million people is Muslim. The country has since the 1990s been rocked by a socio-political crisis that plunged its economy into an unprecedented slump.
Since then, the government of Togo has engaging in dialogues with political parties, civil societies and other stakeholder it has signed comprehensive accord with.
The action of President Gnassingbé is similar to that of the late Côte d'Ivoire President Félix Houphouët-Boigny. Though a Christian, Mr Boigny built a grand mosque in the capital for the country's Muslim population.
In a separate development, the Independent National Commission in Togo has announced the 24 June as the proposed date for legislative elections in the country.
The European Commission Charge d'Affaires in Lomé, Gilles Desesquelles, however told Togolese national TV that the new date is yet to be confirmed, but that is was a "good development" that would boost the country's democratic status, which can subsequently lead to the resumption of cooperation between EU and Togo.
EU broke relations with Togo in 1993, accusing its government of being deficiency in democracy. The EU has outlined that it can only resumed relations when Togo organises truly free, fair and transparent legislative elections.
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