Despite mounting the seat of power 36 years ago, the president of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, is seeking a fourth term in the country’s elections which is billed for March 2021.
“Every party in the presidential majority opted, or will do so shortly, for President Sassou Nguesso’s candidacy.
“The presidential majority believes that of all its leaders, it is President Sassou Nguesso who holds all the trump cards,” Pierre Moussa, acting chairman of the 17 parties in the coalition said at a press conference.
The Republic of Congo, also called Congo-Brazzaville, is an oil-rich neighbour of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Sassou Nguesso, 77, has cumulatively spent 36 years in power since he first became president in 1979. This makes one of the world’s longest-serving leader.
AFP reports that in 2015, the country staged a referendum on removing a 70-year age limit and a ban on presidents serving more than two terms, a move that paved the way for Sassou Nguesso to secure a third term in elections in March 2016 which was marred by bloodshed.
His rivals in the election, former general Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko and former minister Andre Okombi Salissa who contested the results were each slammed with a 20-year sentence on charges of undermining state security.
Local news has reported that the Congolese Party of Labour (PCT) headed by Moussa, has already named Sassou Nguesso as its flag-bearer in a congress in Brazzaville, the capital, in 2019.
Sassou Nguesso is expected to officially announce his candidacy, as well as unveil the precise date for the elections, on December 19, when he is scheduled to make a nationwide speech.