The 77-year-old President Denis Sassou Nguesso is aiming for re-election in the first round on Sunday in Congo-Brazzaville, where members of civil society have expressed “serious reservations” about the transparency of the election.
“One shot, K-O” is written on the campaign posters of the candidate of the Congolese Labor Party (PCT) and it marks his desire to be re-elected in the first round, as in 2016, against his six rivals.
The climate seems less heavy than five years ago. A few days ago, Frédéric Bintsamou said that the election “must not be an opportunity to reawaken the old demons of division”.
The bishops’ conference has already expressed “serious reservations” about the transparency of the election. The Catholic Church, which has been refused accreditation for its observers, fears that the internet will be cut off on Sunday, as it was in 2016, africanews reports.
Authorities also refused to accredit a journalist from Radio France Internationale (RFI), and a 77-year-old human rights activist was arrested a few days before the vote, for undermining state security.
President Sassou Nguesso took power in 1979. He was defeated in the first multi-party elections in 1992 by Pascal Lissouba.
But this very rare example of peaceful alternation in Central Africa ended in 1997 when Sassou Nguesso returned to power after a civil war with Lissouba’s forces. In 2015, he broke the constitutional lock that limited the number of presidential terms to two.
In view of these elements, can we say that the way is mapped out for a sixth term of President Sassou-Nguesso ??