Guy – Brice Parfait Kolelas, Republic of Congo’s opposition leader, has succumbed to Covid-19. He died while flying to France for further treatment a day after the Presidential elections.
Kolelas, who stood out as the main rival to sitting President Denis Sassou Nguesso, was expected to win the elections.
The main opposition boycotted the election following an internet blackout. Moreover, critics voiced their concerns regarding the transparency of the polls.
“Kolelas passed on in a medical aircraft, which came to pick him from Brazzaville on Sunday afternoon,” said Christain Cyr Rodrigue Mayanda, his campaign director.
Kolelas tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Friday afternoon, making it impossible for him to carry out his last campaign.
On Saturday, he posted a video that went viral from his sickbed, urging his supporters to fight for change and the future of Congo’s children.
Mayanda called Kolelas supports to converge at around 11 am (1000GMT). The campaign director said they would continue counting votes since Kolelas led in various areas.
According to official results, Kolelas came in second after garnering 15 percent of votes cast in the 2016 general elections.
On Sunday, he was the only serious candidate left who battled it out with the President after exclusions, withdrawn candidacies, and boycotts.
The electoral board won’t announce provisional election results until five days elapse.
Before the closing of polling stations, no significant incidents or reports were reported. However, AFP correspondents noted the cutting of text messages, social media, and the internet.
In some areas, voters complained their names didn’t appear on the ballot papers.
“Our main concern is what Mr Sassou will direct the electoral commission to give him,” said Emmanuel Dongala, a Congolese novelist.
The former paratrooper 77-year-old Sassou Nguesso, rose to power in 1979. Since then, he’s accumulated 36 years in office, making him one of the longest-serving leaders.
Sassou said that the peaceful atmosphere during the elections was a good sign of their democracy.
However, when asked about the security after announcing elections, Sassou responded, “I am not God.”
During voting, businesses remained closed. Only security vehicles were seen within Brazzaville city centre.