In Summary
  • The polls are expected to rubberstamp and perpetuate policies of a badly sullied regime.

  • The country’s President Denis Sassou-Nguesso is regarded as the quintessential African strongman, having held sway in the country for decades.

  • By all indications, victory for the incumbent President Denis Sossou-Nguesso and his cohorts is virtually a foregone conclusion.

As the season of African elections gathers steam, the Republic of Congo holds a legislative election on Sunday.

The polls are, however, expected to rubberstamp and perpetuate policies of a badly sullied regime.

The country’s President Denis Sassou-Nguesso is regarded as the quintessential African strongman, having held sway in the country for decades.

Also renowned as an autocrat who presides over one of the world’s most corrupt regimes, he is believed to have carefully manipulated a 2015 constitutional referendum that did away with presidential term limits. Ultimately, he won the election in March 2016.

LEADERS ARRESTED

The ensuing protests led to the arrest of opposition leaders, including two of Sassou-Nguesso’s main rivals in the presidential election, who are still in jail.

Still on the topic of dictatorship, there are mounting fears that Zambia is rapidly headed in that direction.

Just a week ago, President Edgar Lungu declared “the threat of a state of emergency”.

Widely viewed as the declaration of a state of emergency, the decision is seen as allowing him to circumvent lawful checks and balances.

ETHIOPIA'S SITUATION

The declaration was reminiscent of the situation in Ethiopia, which is already nine months into a state of emergency.

Discontent culminated in protests across the country, claiming hundreds of lives and only abating when security agencies quelled them.

In Zambia, earlier developments had already alarmed activists in and outside the country.

On April 11, opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema was arrested when heavily armed police officers laid siege to his residence. Police reportedly used teargas in an attempt to smoke him out of the house.

SAFE ROOM

Hichilema later said he and members of his family had taken refuge inside a safe room while his workers were tortured.

Zambia’s simmering political crisis was further aggravated by the detention of Hichilema on treason charges. Officials said he endangered Lungu’s life.

Page 1 of 2