Women in Togo Going on Week-Long Sex Strike in Effort to Remove President from Power

Inspired by a similar protest in Liberia nearly a decade ago, an opposition coalition of civil rights groups in Togo has issued a call for a week-long sex strike aimed at pushing out the country's president, whose family has ruled the tiny West African nation for nearly fifty years.

"We have many means to oblige men to understand what women want in Togo," Isabelle Ameganvi, leader of the opposition group Let's Save Togo, told the Associated Press.

At a rally this past Saturday in Lome, where the sex strike was announced, Jean-Pierre Fabre of the opposition party National Alliance for Change, demanded President Faure Gnassingbé resign immediately.

Gnassingbé rose to power through a highly contested election in 2005, which took place following the death of his father, dictator Gnassingbé Eyadéma. The senior Gnassingbé, who had been President of Togo since 1967, had been Africa's longest-serving ruler at the time of his death.

Female anti-government protesters hope that the sex strike will help convince more men to get involved in bringing about political change. Among other things, they seek to put a limit on the number of times a president can be re-elected.

As for how many women will agree to participate in the strike, that remains to be seen.

"For me, it's like fasting, and unless you fast, you will not get what you want from God," said opposition member Abla Tamekole. "I do agree that we women have to observe this sex strike but I know my husband will not let me complete it," said Judith Agbetoglo. "He may agree at first, but as far as I know him, he will change overnight."

Fabre, the opposition party leader, is among the male detractors. "One week sex strike is too much," he said. "Let's go for only two days."

But Ameganvi insists that, even if the strike fails, she will not give up fight. "If men refuse to hear our cries we will hold another demonstration that will be more powerful than a sex strike," she told the BBC.

[photo via AP]