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[Photos] A.U. observers meet Congo's Sassou ahead of July 16 legislative polls

[Photos] A.U. observers meet Congo's Sassou ahead of July 16 legislative polls

Republic of the Congo

The African Union (A.U.) has deployed an election observer team to Congo-Brazzaville to participate in the July 16 legislative and local polls.

The A.U. team is headed by former Mali Prime Minister, Django Sissoko, he leads a team of 40 observers deployed by A.U. chief, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

The team met with Congolese president, Denis Sassou-Nguesso in the capital, Brazzaville as part of their preparations to cover the polls in the central African country.

The Mission will undertake an honest, independent, professional and impartial observation of the conduct of the elections. This observation will focus on regularity, transparency, fairness and smooth running of the process.

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Members of the team comprise A.U. ambassadors, members of the Pan African Parliament, election officials from across Africa and other civil society players.

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A statement from the office of the head of mission read in part, ‘‘The Mission will undertake an honest, independent, professional and impartial observation of the conduct of the elections. This observation will focus on regularity, transparency, fairness and smooth running of the process.

‘‘It will also meet with the political authorities of the country, the leaders of the defence and security forces, election institutions, political parties, the media, leaders of civil society organisations and representatives of the community the Republic of the Congo. The Mission will also interact with other Observer Missions deployed in the field.’‘

They arrived in the country on July 10 and are expected to be deployed to different parts of the country even though they are headquartered in the capital. They will leave on July 22 – all things being equal.

The last election in the country was over a year ago in March 2016, when President Sassou Nguesso won over 60% of votes in presidential elections.

The results as declared by the elections body was affirmed by the top court and he was sworn in for a five year term. Sassou was passed to run after a constitutional referendum that scrapped term limits in November 2015.

Responding to claims that he wanted to be president for life, Sassou told France24 months back that he was leader of the country because of the will of the people and that he had never said he will rule for life. He is one of the continent’s longest serving leaders.

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