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Republic of the Congo: Elections with pre-determined results? | Africa | D.W.

“Plus Hip Ensemble” – “Still Together”. So you can read this on the election posters in Presa, the capital of Congo. Signed DSP: Denise Sassou Nukuso. On March 21, the President of the Republic of the Congo wants to win against six enemies.

“Saso Nguesso has been in office for 37 years now and will remain in power if necessary,” Sadio Conte-Moral said in an interview with DW. The journalist had his own experiences during the long rule of the Congolese president: he was harassed by Nusseo’s secret police and arrested several times in protest of his extension of office. The pressure was so great in 2014: Conte-Morale left Brezza and was deported to France.

Sadio Conte-Moral, journalist and political analyst

“In the press, I took to the streets with banners saying ‘Congo is not Nuevo’s private property.’ But Nguesso did not tolerate any contradiction: in 2015 he held a referendum, which gave him three positions each for five years,” says Conte-Morel. In practice this means that he is no longer in office for another 10 years before him. “The regime wants to maintain the face of a democracy, but there is a dictatorship.”

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In early February, the Congolese Bishops’ Conference expressed “serious reservations” about the conduct of the presidential election. She found no transparency in the counting process at the ballot boxes, especially due to the curfew order related to the COVID-19 epidemic. There is a shortage of independent election observers. Also, many candidates were excluded from the race. The clergy called the 2016 election a farce. This time too, the electoral system is controlled by Nguesso’s “Congo Workers’ Party” PCT.

A section of the opposition announced its boycott of the election from the outset. Nevertheless, on March 21, 2021, in addition to the longtime ruler, six candidates will stand for election, including former finance minister Matthias Tzone and second-place finisher Kai-Price Purfite Colas in the 2016 election. However, the audience offers little opportunity for the opposition.

“People want nothing more than a political change, which is why they are going to the polls in large numbers. We will win this election,” said the campaign manager for Parfite Colas in an interview with DW. Colossus ‘party, the Union of Humanist Democrats (UDH), said it knew Nusseo already had its election fraud machines in place, but that it would do him no good, according to Colossus’ campaign manager Roderick Mayanda. Matthias Tzone, former finance minister of the “Patriotic Union for National Renewal” (UPRN), which boycotted the 2016 election, also told the DW: We hope Congo will say no to Nusseo this time.

Congolese election Matthias Tsun

Former Finance Minister Matthias Tsun wants to be President of the Republic of Congo

Journalist Sadio Conte-Morel is very skeptical: “If things are right, both Matthias Doson and Barboid Colas can determine for themselves.” But that is unbelievable. Because in this election too – in his view – Saso Nguesso made sure nothing went wrong. This choice is “exercise with a predetermined effect”.

Youth candidate?

The Republic of the Congo is rich in raw materials, but the majority of the population lives in poverty. The oil-rich country expects its GDP to fall by nine percent.

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It is in this difficult situation that the 77-year-old president is campaigning for the confidence of his country’s younger electorate: “In these uncertain times, I place my many years of experience in the service of the youth,” Sasso Nguesso said at the beginning of his election campaign, during which he toured roads, schools and rural areas without electricity.

President of the Congo Kinshasa Congo-Pressa Denis Sassou-Nukuzo

Denise Sassou-Nukuzo is campaigning for young voters

Journalist Conte-Morel believes this is “completely unbelievable.” Young people need jobs, urgently. The unemployment rate is officially around 35 percent. However, in reality it is more than 70 percent. “If he says he’s going to stand up for young people in the next term, that’s pure jokes. What can he give young people today that he can not deliver in the last 40 years?”

Why does Sassou Nguesso need weapons?

The Presidential Family of Sasou Nousso and The j Entngsten Enthüllungen des “Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Programs” (OCCRP): Investigative Reporter Community announced in February that it would provide arms to the regime of Sasou Nousseo. The ship, loaded with mortar shells, rockets and explosives, entered the press last year.

“For many years the Republic of the Congo has been secretly buying more than 800 tons of weapons from Azerbaijan,” explains journalist Conte-Morel: “Against whom does he want to use them, for example against his own people?”

Image Gallery |  R.D. Congo |  60 years of independence

The Republic of the Congo gained independence from France in 1960 – the 50th anniversary march here

In the run-up to Sunday’s presidential election, fears are growing that Nugosu could win a new post with the help of the military. This will not be the first time: the Congolese military is always ready to suppress protests against Nungo. Sadio Conte-Morel says it was last seen in 2016.

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At the time, government troops also attacked civilians during clashes with opposition rebels in the Pool region. According to humanitarian sources, the regular armed forces had carried out closed attacks in a conflict that displaced 140,000 people.

Collaboration: Eric Topona