This Sunday, the Congolese are called to the polls to elect their president of the Republic. The observation that easily emerges is the lack of affluence in front of the polling stations which contrasts with the attitude of Denis Sassou N’Guesso, candidate for his own succession. It is a very satisfied outgoing President who went to perform his civic duty in the early afternoon.
Unlike the electoral campaign, which attracted a lot of people, today’s vote seems to leave the Congolese voters totally indifferent. In front of the polling stations, some of which were more than an hour late before opening, there was no great rush. Voters are waiting, perhaps with good reason, since all the signals indicated long before the election that the game was up. And all the actions taken by the Brazzaville authorities support this thesis, from the arrest of the human rights activist Alexandre Ibacka Dzabana, to the cutting off of the Internet, to the prohibition of the Episcopal Conference from deploying its 4,000 trained observers in the field to monitor the election.
It is in these conditions that at 15h25 local time, Denis Sassou N’Guesso went to put his ballot in the ballot box, apparently very satisfied with the conduct of operations. « I have a feeling of great satisfaction because, everywhere in the country, I saw the people mobilized and take part in the electoral process, » told the press the outgoing President, candidate for his own succession, in the race for a fourth term, without interruption, since 2002, and accumulating, at the height of his 77 years, 36 years at the head of the Congo.
And the irremovable President, who promises a knockout blow, continued: « It is in a climate of peace that the electoral campaign has taken place. I believe that this is a good sign for our democracy (…) I hope that the process will continue like this until its end ».
To his main rival, Guy Brice Parfait Kolélas, suffering from Covid-19 and hospitalized, Denis Sassou N’Guesso wished a « good recovery ».
If so far no major incident is to be deplored since the launch of operations, the rate of voter participation in this election is one of the only issues of a vote that, in reality, does not reserve any surprise.