On Tuesday, February 18, the US Embassy in Lomé issued a security advisory to individuals in Togo regarding the Togolese presidential election day, scheduled for Saturday, February 22. The advisory states that Togo's land borders with neighboring countries - Benin, Ghana, and Burkina Faso - will be closed for 24 hours starting on Saturday.
Political rallies and gatherings are anticipated in the lead up to the elections and following the results. A heightened security presence is therefore expected across the country on election day. Localized transport disruptions are also expected near all election related events and polls in the coming days.
The electoral commission barred both the Catholic Church and the National Consultation of Civil Society of Togo from observing the election.
A total of seven candidates including incumbent President Faure Gnassingbé will run for president in the first round of the presidential elections. Should presidential candidates fail to obtain a majority greater than 51 percent, a second round of presidential elections will be organized at an undetermined date.
Polling stations are due to open nationwide from 07:00 to 16:00 (local time) on February 22.
Gnassingbé, who has led Togo since 2005, will run for a fourth term in office. In May, parliament struck down a constitutional clause capping the presidential mandate to two five-year terms, allowing President Gnassingbé to potentially stay in office until 2030.
Individuals in Togo are advised to monitor developments to the situation and refrain from unnecessary travel to regions bordering Benin, Ghana, and Burkina Faso.