Opponent of the Beninese president, Reckya Madougou was taken into custody. One month before the presidential election, Patrice Talon continues his cleaning.
Was this the promise of an opposition, from a distance, between Faure Gnassingbé and Patrice Talon? Reckya Madougou, special advisor to the Togolese president, had in any case officially resigned from her functions to seek the place of president of Benin. An adventure that was short-lived: his candidacy rejected by the Constitutional Court, Reckya Madougou has just been arrested and, according to sources close to the former minister of Boni Yayi, transferred to the Cotonou Economic and Financial Brigade.
Gnassingbé and Talon: cordial relations
Relations have always been apparently cordial between the Togolese and Benin presidents. But Faure Gnassingbé and Patrice Talon have sometimes surfed the ambiguity. In 2017, the Beninese head of state played a discreet role of mediator in Togo, between power and opposition, going so far as to receive Togolese opponents in Cotonou while Reckya Madougou was responsible for stifling the dispute. A year earlier, it was Faure Gnassingbé who had tried, with Alassane Ouattara, to reconcile Patrice Talon and Boni Yayi, the mentor of Reckya Madougou. But the current president of Benin and his predecessor have indeed remained at odds.
Between Talon and Gnassingbé, the various attempts at mediation could have made them forge privileged links, even if mistrust between the two men has always been the order of the day. It was without counting on the inclinations of Reckya Madougou on the occasion of the presidential election of 2021. If the advisor to the Togolese president has launched herself body and soul into the campaign at the end of a course strewn with pitfalls, it is is certainly with the consent of Faure Gnassingbé. Behind the scenes, the Togolese opposition denounces an attempt at Franco-Togolese interference in the Benin presidential campaign, Paris and Lomé wishing to put sticks in the wheels of Patrice Talon.
A series of arrests of opponents
A Patrice Talon who provided a disproportionate response to this betrayal. Reckya Madougou is in fact now accused of "criminal conspiracy and terrorism". Arrested after a meeting, Faure Gnassingbé's former advisor must be heard by the Court for the Repression of Economic Offenses and Terrorism (Criet). Other cadres of the Democrats party are also accused of terrorism. The special prosecutor of Criet believes that Reckya Madougou had "formed the design to disrupt the next election by perpetrating acts of terror of great magnitude".
If Reckya Madougou has not yet been indicted for the charges against her, she risks spending a few days in custody. A little over a month before the presidential election, Patrice Talon continues his big cleaning: before Reckya Madougou, it is Bio Dramane Tidjani and Mamadou Tidjani who had been placed behind bars. Another opponent, Sébastien Ajavon, was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison. The Beninese government may shout to whoever wants to hear it that "there is no hunt for opponents", it is clear that Benin is gradually falling into an authoritarianism that portends the worst.