Republic of Congo’s President visits Plateaux region before election

As the country faces a presidential election on March 21, the Republic of Congo’s President is on a weekend visit to the Plateaux regions.

The Djambala-Lekana power line was launched by Denis Sassou Nguesso, which will be critical in rural areas where electricity access can be less than 10%.

“We know the problems. I just have to tell you, before the campaign debates, that with firmness and commitment we have made the decision to face them.” said the president.

For 36 years, Sassou has been in control and is the oldest candidate at the age of 77. Against seven other presidential hopefuls, he is struggling to retain his position.

Mathias Dzon, 73, former Minister of Finance (1997-2002) and Guy-Brice Parfait Kolélas, 60, who came second in the 2016 vote, are Sassou Nguesso’s main challengers.

According to Africanews, Mr. Sassou Nguesso, a former army general, first governed the country under a one-party dictatorship between 1979 and 1992. Since 2002, he has dominated all the polls with disputed results.

In 2015, the nation held a referendum to lift a cap of 70 years of age and a ban on presidents serving more than two terms.

In the March 2016 elections, the move paved the way for Sassou Nguesso to win a third term, which sparked bloodshed.

The results were contested by his opponents, former General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko and former Minister Andre Okombi Salissa.

However, concern has mounted as to whether the vote will be free and fair this year.

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