- Supporters of Republic of the Congo’s President Sassou Nguesso are seeking for referendum amendment in a bid that will allow the current president seek a third term in office.
- To counter the amendment, thousands of protesters streamed the capital Brazzaville but were thwarted by the security forces.
- The exchange resulted in the death of three civilians and massive injuries on both civilians and the security forces.
The referendum, scheduled for Sunday 25th October will allow Sassou Nguesso, who was returned to power in 1997 elections after a brief but bloody civil war, to seek a third term in office.
Tens of thousands of the president’s supporters staged a rally on Saturday in favour of the constitutional changes.
Sassou, a former soldier soldier also ruled Congo from 1979 to 1992.
Under the current constitution, Sassou, 72, is not able to run again because of his age and due to the fact that he has already served two seven-year terms.
The country’s opposition has accused Sassou of organizing a, a constitutional coup d’etat for seeking to prolong his rule by removing presidential age and term limits from the constitution.
Sassou’s hold on the helm of power has never lacked controversy at all the instances he entered office. He is backed by several parties in the country.
With the backing of an Angolan socialist régime in 1997, he staged a successful coup against President Pascal Lissouba and declared himself president. And in the 2002 election, his main rivals Lissouba and Bernard Kolelas boycotted the election, giving him an almost uncontested win.
A former soldier and organizer of a successful coup, Sassou is expected to go through the bid for another term for presidency. His supporters outnumber protesters either for force or obligation. He introduced multiparty democracy and has a backing of several parties in the country.