Four opposition candidates in the recent Congo presidential poll have called on their countrymen to challenge the re-election of president Denis Sassou Nguesso through a “ peaceful” legal means.
AFP reports that the rally call was signed by runner-up Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas who received more than 15 percent of votes cast, third-place candidate Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko who polled nearly 14 percent, and candidates Claudine Munari and Andre Okombi Salissa.
Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko had earlier said that “it is time to stop being afraid” and called on Congolese to “demand back your confiscated, stolen vote.”
I ask you to demand back your confiscated, stolen votes.
The former peace and security adviser of President Sassou Nguesso in an audio recording published online, called on Congolese to “rise up and end the arbitrariness.”
President Sassou Nguesso was declared the winner of the March 20 elections held under a media blackout, extending his 32 years in power in a vote the opposition say was marked by “massive fraud”.
The four opposition candidates called for a repeat of the ‘ville morte’ national strikes in which many Congolese had participated in recent months to protest Sassou Nguesso’s controversial bid for a third term.
In a statement, they also described the contested circumstances of last week’s election in which Sassou Nguesso was named the winner with 60 percent of the votes just hours after the polls closed as “an abuse of power”.
One of Mokoko’s lawyers had expanded on the statement at a Paris news conference, saying it was not a call to protest.
“The opposition does not want a bloodbath. The population is being asked not to go to work on March 29. It is a general strike, a peaceful protest,” said lawyer Norbert Tricaud.
Congo’s opposition parties have demanded a recount after Sassou Nguesso, 72, won the election.
The European Union refused to send election observers to monitor the polls, saying conditions had not been met for a transparent and democratic vote.