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Congo-Brazzaville at the time of the presidential election

After 36 years at the head of Congo-Brazzaville, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, 77, is again favorite in the presidential election on Sunday, March 21. Faced with the Head of State, accused by several NGOs of having embezzled millions of dollars with his relatives, six candidates are presented but no opposition leader.

“When we speak of the Congo, we can speak of an authoritarian state”, assures Abdoulaye Diarra, researcher specializing in Central Africa. According to him, human rights abuses are regular in the country, as are the arbitrary arrests of political opponents. “It must be remembered that candidates for the 2016 presidential election have since been detained in prison, in particular Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, sentenced in 2018 for endangering state security, a detention which had also been qualified as arbitrary by the UN “, says Abdoulaye Diarra.

False, answers Frank Tapiro, one of the communicators and campaign managers of President Sassou-Nguesso. “The president is great, he’s not a dictator at all. Come here, you will see. Stop listening to this kind of neo-colonial speech, and I would even say racist, which tends to say that as soon as you are a former soldier and for more than 30 years in power, you are necessarily a dictator, it is not not serious“, he proclaims.

Nicknamed “the emperor”, the outgoing president has relied on a campaign focused on youth and transmission to once again keep power, even if some believe that it is above all by force that he succeeds. “We have become a soft people because we fear military repression“, analyzes the Congolese political scientist Georges Nguila.”We continue to call him ’emperor’ but this has been ridiculed because he has come to terms with his glory, his domination of the Congolese political microcosm and therefore for him, power must first be domination and not the ability to solve society’s problems“, analyzes the political scientist.

The domination of Denis Sassou-Nguesso is also financial with considerable means compared to those of his opponents in the presidential election.

Congo-Brazzaville at the time of the presidential election – Report by Nathanaël Charbonnier

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