The most important people from Lomé politics, diplomacy and world affairs responded to the invitation of U.S. Ambassador to Togo, Patricia Hawkins (photo), on the occasion of Independence Day that the country celebrated in Lomé with a 48 hours shift, on Wednesday night.
During her speech, Mrs. Hawkins said that since 2005, Togo had made great progress both economically and politically. "In these difficult economic times, when in many countries there is little growth, and while some countries such as Greece, Ireland, and Portugal are on the verge of bankruptcy, Togo has experienced economic growth of 3.5% in 2010," she said.
On the political front, the development is significant. "In March 2010, Togo held the presidential election, the most successful and most transparent in its history, leaving an example that its neighbors should follow," said the diplomat, who has paid special tribute to President Faure Gnassingbé and Gilchrist Olympio, leader of the opposition "Who understood that the only way forward was to work together to ensure the country's future" and that "facing an almost total disapproval of their respective allies and supporters."
The Ambassador expressed regret that some of the opposition does not play the game of democratic debate. Togo needs "an opposition that does not stop at saying no to everything and to decry the mistakes of the past. Togo needs an opposition that is able to defy the government by his own inspiration, for his new ideas and energy. Do not walk just against the government, work towards something for the future of the country that everyone will cherish," Patricia Hawkins pointed at some opponents who will recognize themselves.
If the political and economic balance is positive, not everything will be well in Togo, according to the American representative who puts together a governance not quite accomplished. She points out at the corruption, red tape and broken promises citing the inclusive dialogue as an example.
"It was a bold and courageous promise. But this dialogue has not taken place, and nobody is talking about when this might occur, nor how it would be held. Why? This lack of information makes the cynicism poison the political environment," said Ms. Hawkins.
The Ambassador of the United States, at the end of mission, will shortly leave Togo.