News Brief

The Togolese Government Has Blocked the Internet In Response to Nationwide Protests

Hundreds of thousands of Togolese citizens have taken to the streets to protest the long-standing rule of President Faure Gnassingbe.

Over the last few days, hundreds of thousands have headed to the streets of Togo to protest the rule of President Faure Gnassingbe.


Gnassignbe's family has been in leadership for 50 years. Togolese opposition leaders are moving for his immediate removal. Gnassingbe has offered his own amendment in response, which would limit presidential terms to a maximum of two, however, his draft has been rejected as  most believe that it would apply retroactively, allowing Gnassingbe to remain in office till 2030.

Thousands of Togolese have expressed extreme discontent with his leadership and are demanding legitimate constitutional reform.

"The president's position is very fragile, and we do not think his peers in ECOWAS or his friends in Europe will help him if things get ugly," Francois Conradie, head of research at NKC African Economics, told Al Jazeera.

In what appears to be an attempt by the government to silence critics, the internet and SMS texting have been blocked.

Togolese activist, Farida Nabourema has shared videos and images from the protests via her Twitter page. "The millions of Togolese that took the streets to say enough of 50 years of the Gnassingbe dictatorship are just tired of the abuse in #Togo," she wrote. View the footage below.

 

Interview

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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