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Congo: Leading opposition candidate wants March 20 polls postponed

Congo: Leading opposition candidate wants March 20 polls postponed

Republic of the Congo

Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, one of nine presidential candidates in Congo Brazzaville has requested that the March 20 polls be postponed.

The former Chief of Staff of the Congolese Armed Forces justified his request by citing the situation of poor organization towards the polls.

Michel Mokoko pinpoints among others, a poor electoral register and questioned the credibility of the Independent National Electoral Commission, a body he labels as an appendage of the government.

According to him, with the current electoral register and the Independent (National) Electoral Commission whose role is exclusively to monitor the pre-election operations, the election and post (electoral matters,) it was clear that there was not going to be fairness and transparency.

In this case, he thinks it is necessary to review the electoral governance and proposed a dialogue between the various parties on the subject.

No Boycott

The candidate, however, rejects any ideas of a boycott, but said he was compelled ‘‘to call the people to take responsibility,’‘ if ever the application is not considered.

He added that ‘‘the people have the right to vote and to have their vote considered.’‘

The former Army General responded in the negative when asked whether he wanted more time to better prepare for the polls.

In the recent weeks, he has been answering police summons in connection with an investigation into allegations that he wanted to oust the incumbent president, allegations contained in a video circulating in Congo and on social networks.

‘‘No,’‘ he responded, with the view that he had adequately prepared to face the current circumstances, thanks to his military training.

It is not clear whether his request will be favored especially because the various candidates including the incumbent Denis Sassou-Nguesso have already started their electioneering campaign.