Opposition calls for nationwide protest in Republic of Congo

Opposition groups in Republic of Congo call for nationwide protest to force government to cancel constitutional changes to allow President Nguesso to extend his time in office for third time

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville.

Congolese opposition leaders called for nationwide protest on Friday to force the government to cancel constitutional changes which would allow President Denis Sassou Nguesso to extend his time in office.

Electoral Commission of Congo Republic announced on Tuesday that a whopping 92.26 percent of people that participated in the controversial referendum that was held on Sunday, had approved of changes being made to the constitution allowing Sassou Nguesso to run for a third term ahead of the presidential elections in 2016. 

The two main opposition groups - the Republican Front for the Respect of Constitutional Order and Democracy (FROCAD) and the Initiative for Democracy in Congo (IDC)-  have been against the constitutional changes and they have rejected the official results.

On Wednesday they announced a campaign of civil disobedience" to "denounce... the cheating by the government" and "block the path to fraud and dictatorship".

Also this two opposition groups called for ‘’dead city days’’  every Monday,Thursday and Friday from November 2 "until constitutional order is restored".

The referendum has changed two rules in constitution, getting rid of the rule of the the maximum age of presidential candidates being 70 and also the previous limit of two being the number of terms a person was permitted to run for president. Currrent President Nguesso is 71 years old and has already served two seven-year terms.

The former Marxist soldier Nguesso was president from 1979 to 1992 in a one party system, then came to the opposition in 1992 after failed multi-party elections but returned to power again at the end of the bloody civil war in 1997.

He was elected president in 2002, then again in 2009 with 79 percent of the votes despite the opposition boycotting the last election.

The 71 year-old President ruled The Republic of Congo for 31 of the last 36 years.


TRTWorld and agencies