“There is hardly any antagonism between communities or ethnic groups or regions. The violence here is largely the result of conflict between leaders whose ambitions know no limit and no decency. These leaders have around them some hard-core followers, armed to the teeth. They have made the entire people of the Congo hostages of their blind ambition. It is not the people, their communities or even their political parties who are driving this confrontation. They are!” – UN Special Envoy Mohammed Sahnoun (E Leonard, UN envoy says Congo leaders consumed by ambition, Reuters, United Nations, 26 September 1997).
Just as the internet is blocked and social media blackout. The Presidential Elections is happening in Congo-Brazzaville. Where the Self-Styled President for Life, General Denis Sassou-Nguesso is running for his fourth term. Not shockingly his anticipated to win and certainly by a landslide.
Though he ran the nation for 12 years between 1980 to 1992. Where he ran it as a one-party state. The General had total control and this is persistent to this day. After he overthrow the elected government again in 1997. Since, then he has never looked back and power. He has held this office for 36 years with the two consecutive terms.
Sassou-Nguesso is the “emperor” who like others are not only planning to run another term as President for 5 years. This means he would be running the nation for most of the time since 1980. The General with his strict discipline and his “nice suits”.
Just like others who rules for life. They are planning for their sons to takeover. The Cobra or the Emperor is no different. There is speculation that his planning for Denis Christel to takeover from him. His the planned successor and heir to the throne.
The General have used force against the opposition. The Emperor have used tricks that is common for leaders like him. He has used violence, detained, silenced media and brutally deported 250,000 immigrants from the DRC. Therefore, his not a “benevolent” dictator. His just another one of them and enjoys the perks of the highest office.
That is why he can siphon money to France. Buy weapons from Azerbaijan. While still securing debt-relief by western donors. That is the sort of man the Cobra is.
He has in the past promised “The Way Forward” but that always includes him and he never let it go. Now that he has power. He will never let it go. The Cobra will stay and the Emperor has no intention of leaving office. Even when the public has already voted him out once.
Today will not make a difference or any changes. The man is installing himself in power. Just like he did in 1980 and in 1997. All the promises and pledges of the past doesn’t matter. The election is only made to legitimize himself. We know that plenty of the militia members that got him to power either is in a high rank in the army or been vital in his Presidential Security Guard.
None of the previous elections have been deemed “free and fair” but have stated as “not free and fair”. We can expect the patronage and the ones loyal to him to be happy. The President and his men will be giddy. The rigged election and the preparation for the next term is already in play. Just like the laws was ushered in to allow him to stand again. Therefore, everything is in the making to make it happen.
A general like Denis will not let-go and he will not risk it either. The way he has gone after every enemy and opposition. He knows he cannot just step-down. They might want to investigate him and litigate his actions. That the Cobra and Emperor cannot accept. He got to reign supreme and no one else is supposed to that in Brazzaville. Peace.