Congolese await presidential polls results

2016-03-21 11:31
Angry voters in a Brazzaville district react while the ballots were counted in the polling station at the end of the vote for the presidential election, alleging voting irregularity. (Marco Longari, AFP)

Angry voters in a Brazzaville district react while the ballots were counted in the polling station at the end of the vote for the presidential election, alleging voting irregularity. (Marco Longari, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Brazzaville - Congo voted on Sunday under a nationwide media blackout in a tense ballot expected to see President Denis Sassou Nguesso prolong his 32-year rule over the oil-rich but impoverished nation.

Voting seemed largely quiet in the capital, but it was impossible to get information from the rest of the country after the government shut down communications during the polls.

Interior Minister Raymond Mboulou ordered telecoms firms to block all telephone, internet and SMS services for 48 hours due to "reasons of security and national safety".

In what appeared to be an isolated incident, police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of around 200 opposition supporters at a polling station in Brazzaville.

Officers hit some of the crowd with clubs and took away one person after supporters of opposition candidate Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas demanded officials let them into a polling station to observe the counting.

Results are expected from Tuesday.

Step down

"Things are going calmly," said Eric Katolo, head of an 18-person observer mission from the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), before voting ended.

In Brazzaville's northern Ouenze neighbourhood, where support for the president is high, locals earlier said they wanted "stability" and "peace", two watchwords of Sassou Nguesso's re-election campaign.

In Poto-Poto, dozens of youths took advantage of a traffic ban to play football in the street in the city centre. There was a visible police presence, notably at checkpoints monitoring vehicles allowed on the road.

In the run-down Makelekele district in the south of the capital, few hid their opposition to the incumbent president. "He won't get 10 votes here," said Raymond, a 56-year-old builder.

Tensions have been running high in Congo since an October referendum when voters agreed changes to the constitution that removed a two-term limit, allowing 72-year-old former paratrooper colonel Sassou Nguesso to run in the election.

The vote also removed a 70-year age limit for the presidency that could have forced one of Africa's five longest-serving leaders to step down.

The changes were approved in a referendum by 94.3%, dubbed "a constitutional coup" by the opposition. Even before the vote, protests erupted that left several people dead.

Sassou Nguesso has said he has no doubt he will beat his eight rivals, describing election day as a "penalty kick and then victory".

Read more on:    denis sassou nguesso  |  congo 2016 elections

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.