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Congo: General Michel Mokoko joins presidential race

Congo: General Michel Mokoko joins presidential race

Republic of the Congo

General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, former peace and security affairs adviser of President Denis Sassou Nguesso has declared his candidacy for the March 20 presidential election in the Republic of Congo.

Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko was former Chief of Army Staff from 1987-1993. He was later appointed peace and security affairs adviser in 2005 and recently tendered his resignation.

“When I look at the situation in my country, I think the time has come for me to be the voice of the voiceless. Times are hard and the political situation in Congo keeps getting bad. We need to listen to Congolese who want to take their destiny in their hands. Denis Sassou Ngueso has to listen and step out of the race,” General Mokoko told Le Monde Afrique.

His presidential ambitions became clear last year when he contested the modification of the constitution which opened the possibility for Denis Sassou Nguesso to stand as a candidate.

Mokoko, who will be standing as an independent candidate was called back to order by the minister of defence after his criticism of the constitutional amendment.

“I will stand because I have much to say after reflecting for a long time about the various difficulties faced by my country. I am able to propose solutions to my compatriots,” Mokoko said.

General Mokoko, 69, who is still out of the country, has been part of African Union mediation efforts in Mali, Ivory Coast and the Central African Republic. He will return to Brazzaville by February 9.

He has warned that transparency should be guaranteed during the election so as to avoid a popular uprising in the Republic of Congo.

Six other candidates have declared their intention to run in the presidential election.

Denis Sassou Nguesso has been chosen as candidate of the ruling party but is yet to make a statement about the choice.