Many countries, more so in the African continent, have been holding elections. Last year, we witnessed the United States, Tanzania, and other countries elect their state heads. Countries often opt for elections because it’s a universal and democratic way. Although election malpractice has been a challenge in some countries, elections still stand as the primary step to transition. Recently, the Republic of Congo’s electoral commission announced that it would be conducting its Presidential elections come March 21st.
Election Preparations in Congo
Congo’s defense and security forces happen to be the first people to vote come the election day. This step is to ensure the army and police can devote themselves during the process so that there is peace and no malpractice. According to the electoral board, the elections will take place in two phases. This happens to be the first time since the multi-party presidential elections in 1992 when voters cast their votes in two phases.
This announcement came amid the voter verification process. The latter is significant amid election preparations as it enlightens the electoral commission with the exact number of final registered voters.
The topmost contested seat in Congo is the Presidential seat. Dennis Sassou Nguesso has been one of the longest-serving presidential candidates in Congo. The 77 years old President has been ruling the country for about 36 years and is still contesting the upcoming elections. Mr. Sassou hopes to secure his position at the top come the elections.
Mr. Sassou is contesting against Mathias Dzon and Guy- Brice Parfait Kolelas. Mr. Dzon was the former Minister of Finance in Congo. He controlled that Ministry between 1996 to 2002. Meanwhile, Guy-Brice is not new to Presidential candidacy. The lad was among the 2016 Presidential candidates. However, he managed to come second after Sassou, who had won. Therefore, Mr. Parfait feels he has a perfect opportunity to recontest, especially as he already got exposed to Presidential campaigns and familiarized himself with the people.
Attempts to Exclude Mr. Sassou From Presidential Election
The incumbent President staying in power that long is news that does not excite most Congolese. Therefore, some politicians have tried to adopt ways of changing their government. Before the 2015 Presidential elections, the country staged a referendum that purposed to remove a 70-year age limit and a ban on Presidents serving more than two terms. Mr. Sossou would have been long gone if the referendum passed, mainly as the man is more than 70 years and has also led the country for more than two terms.
The 2016 election results, which contributed to him serving another year, caused spikes in Congo. The country’s authority arrested his former rivals, General Jean Marie Michel Mokoko and former Minister Andre Okombi Salissa, after disputing the 2016 presidential election results. They were arraigned in court, and each charged with undermining state security and then sentenced to 20 years in jail. Hopefully, this years elections will be violent free, and just. When it comes to the welfare of the voters, peace is mandatory. No human wants to live in a violence-prone environment.