| Republic of Congo opposition candidate Kolelas dies of Covid-19

  • Man-Brice Parfait Kolelas died of Covid-19 a day after the country’s presidential elections. 
  • Kolelas became the first challenger at the polls, against Denis Sassou Nguesso.
  • On Saturday, he posted a video from his sickbed, declaring he became “combating against loss of life”.

Republic of Congo opposition candidate Man-Brice Parfait Kolelas died of Covid-19 as he became being transferred to France for medication, his campaign director acknowledged on Monday, the day after presidential elections in which he became the first challenger.

Kolelas became viewed because the first rival to aged leader Denis Sassou Nguesso, who became expected to come to a decision on Sunday’s vote.

The election became boycotted by the first opposition and under an data superhighway blackout, with critics voicing concerns over the transparency of the polls viewed as tilted against Sassou Nguesso.

Kolelas “died in the clinical plane which got right here to safe him from Brazzaville on Sunday afternoon,” his campaign director Christian Cyr Rodrigue Mayanda urged AFP.

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The sixty-year-extinct tested particular for Covid-19 on Friday afternoon, and became unable to host his final campaign meeting in Brazzaville.

On Saturday, he posted a video from his sickbed, declaring he became “combating against loss of life”.

“Stand up as one person… I’m combating on my deathbed, you too fight on your swap,” he urged his supporters, asserting the election became “regarding the long drag of your children”.

Mayanda known as on supporters of Kolelas to rally at 11 am local time (1000 GMT).

“We will proceed to count the ballots. He became forward in loads of areas,” he acknowledged.

‘Ambiance of peace’

Kolelas got right here 2nd in the presidential election of 2016, picking up 15 p.c of the vote in step with legitimate results.

He had pledged to commence the two candidates from that vote sentenced in 2018 to 20 years in detention center for “undermining advise security”, historical military celebrated Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko and ex-minister Andre Okombi Salissa.

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He became simplest severe contender left going by the president on Sunday after a string of boycotts, withdrawn candidacies and exclusions.

Provisional election results are seemingly to be now not expected for days.

There were no stories of fundamental incidents earlier than polling stations closed, however AFP correspondents acknowledged safe admission to to the info superhighway and social media, to boot to textual negate material messages, became decrease.

In some areas voters complained that their names weren’t on the electoral list.

“The most attention-grabbing uncertainty is what rating Mr. Sassou will uncover the electoral commission to give him,” acknowledged Congolese novelist Emmanuel Dongala, contacted by AFP at his US home.

Sassou Nguesso, 77, a historical paratrooper, first rose to vitality in 1979 and has since gathered 36 years in workplace, making him indubitably one of many field’s longest-serving leaders.

Talking after he solid his ballot, Sassou Nguesso acknowledged that the “ambiance of peace” throughout the election campaign – marked by police crackdowns on the opposition – became “a factual signal for our democracy”.

However when requested about security when election results are announced, a moment that precipitated a wave of violence at the final vote in 2016, he replied: “I’m now not God”.

Retailers were closed and simplest security autos were viewed in Brazzaville city centre throughout balloting.

The most attention-grabbing opposition neighborhood, the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy or UPADS, is boycotting the poll in which some 2.5 million folks are eligible to vote.

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UPADS – the neighborhood of historical president Pascal Lissouba, who died in France final August – is possibly the simplest opposition safe collectively to bear a parliamentary neighborhood in one of the up-to-date nationwide assembly.

“Overall, the Congolese shunned the ballotfield,” acknowledged rights activist Brice Makosso. “The polling stations were empty.”

Flanked by its big neighbour the Democratic Republic of Congo to boot to Gabon, the historical French colony has considerable oil reserves and most of its funds comes from petroleum earnings.

Civil war

However its financial system is in a lope, hurt by a crumple in world shocking costs, long-standing debt, and the pandemic, to boot to a reputation for corruption.

Sassou Nguesso campaigned on agricultural pattern and portrayed himself as a defender of Congo’s childhood — the typical age of the inhabitants of 5 million is stunning 19, in step with UN figures.

After first coming to vitality in 1979, Sassou Nguesso became forced to introduce multi-safe collectively elections in 1991 and became defeated at the ballotfield a year later.

However he returned to vitality in 1997 following a prolonged civil war.

He has received each election since, which the opposition bear largely slammed as faux.

A constitutional modification in 2015, which ended a ban on presidential candidates extinct over 70 and scrapped a two-period of reduce-off date, allowed him to drag all over again in 2016.

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