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Electoral farce in Brazzaville

The Congo Republic, independent since 1960, is a rich country, thanks to its oil. The country has the largest net export balance in the world (47%). But this oil wealth benefits a very small number. The president, Denis Sassou Nguesso, and his family, have made a fortune and do not intend to share their wealth with opponents.The Internet crash, opportunely depriving opponents of access to social networks at the time of legislative elections, is very suspicious. President Denis Sassou Nguesso is, quite simply, cutting off the country from the rest of the world, with the implicit agreement of the IMF, to "arrange" the results without embarrassing witnesses.

The so-called "referendum", tinkered in 2015, canceled the constitutional limit of presidential mandates. Sassou Nguesso was able to represent himself, and win, the last presidential elections of March 2016. This rather coarse maneuver triggered a new series of massive demonstrations in the country. In reaction, the main leaders of the opposition: General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko and André Okombi Salissa, former Minister of Sassou Nguesso between 1997 and 2012, were simply put in jail.

The region of Pool, stronghold of the ethnic Lari who oppose the Mbochi group of president Nguesso, surrounds the capital Brazzaville. The Laris undergo frequent military operations from authorities. During the first attack in the Pool region in April 2016, Sassou Nguesso claimed to fight the "terrorist" Pastor Ntoumi, a former militia leader based in Tsoumouna. Problem: Ntoumi had dissolved his militia ten years ago.
Ntoumi has since reacquired arms, plundering the outposts of the police and the army and reconstructing a militia around him. In April 2017, he launched an attack against the army which killed 18 people. In May, the men of Ntoumi marched to the capital, stopping only about twenty kilometers from Brazzaville. This loose armed force now represents a threat to the capital and the government of Nguesso.
While the decline in oil prices brings less money into the state coffers, Nguesso does not reduce his lifestyle. In September 2006, at the UN General Assembly, Nguesso and his family had occupied 44 rooms for five nights, for a total of 150,000 euros, at the Waldorf Astoria. It was more than the humanitarian aid Great Britain granted to the country. Similarly, in July 2007, the British NGO Global Witness unveiled that the son of the president, Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for his purchases in Paris and Dubai.
In March 2017, six years after Congo-Brazzaville received debt relief from the IMF and the World Bank, the government's debt reached 77% of GDP, exceeding the 70% limit imposed by the Economic and Monetary Community Of Central Africa (CEMAC).

There is now a fuel crisis in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire. The public refinery, which treats Congo-Brazzaville oil, satisfies only 20% of the country's fuel demand. The rest must be imported by the monopolistic public oil company, SNPC... which belongs to President Nguesso. The company being bankrupt, unable to buy enough fuel on the international market to satisfy domestic demand, Sassou Nguesso has chosen to impose a fuel shortage to the population rather than giving up his monopoly!

Nguessoimperturbable, continues to do business. An operation is to be concluded with an investor from the UAE, who would commit some $ 4 billion of investment to Congo, half of the country's annual GDP, and would push the country's debt to nearly 125%. All is well, the IMF closes its eyes and is ready to help the Nguesso government, ignoring the demonstrators who implore him not to "help the tyrant."
Sassou Nguesso will remain in power by all means. Government security forces arrested several demonstrators and surrounded the houses of opposition leaders. After the demonstrations of June 10 in Brazzaville, the capital was immediately closed. The Internet cut-off began the following day, followed by an announcement by the Congo embassy in Paris, stating that it would no longer issue a visa "until further notice." The government wants to prevent foreign journalists from testifying about the violence that is going to be launched against the opposition. Under these circumstances, the parliamentary elections scheduled for 16 July 2017, boycotted by the opposition, will be another electoral farce, as former presidential candidate Mathias Dzon named it.

The current crisis is very similar to the one that had caused President Sassou Nguesso to lose his seat, in 1992 elections. The president knows this and has made arrangements, so that it does not happen again.


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