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Congo’s Sassou-Nguesso set for Saturday swearing-in


Congolese president-elect Denis Sassou-Nguesso will be sworn-in for a third term in the capital Brazzaville on Saturday.

The 72-year-old Sassou-Nguesso has reportedly insisted on Cameroon’s President Paul Biya attending the ceremony.

President Biya’s invitation letter was handed to Cameroon Prime Minister Philemon Yang by the Congolese Foreign minister Jean-Claude Gakosso.

Three guests

“He (Sassou-Nguesso) has said even if there are going to be just three guests at the swearing-in ceremony, President Biya must be amongst them,” Mr Gakosso told reporters in Yaoundé after a meeting with the Cameroon Prime Minister.

President Sassou-Nguesso won last month’s election in the first round with 60.19 per cent votes, according to the final results released amid tight security and a communications blackout.

The official count gave Mr Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas 15.04 per cent of the vote and General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko came third with 13.74 per cent.

Stifling democracy

Mr Kolelas later told his supporters to accept the official results, saying he did not wish to stir up controversy by challenging the Constitutional Court’s ruling that Sassou-Nguesso won the March 20, 2016 election.

President Sassou-Nguesso, widely accused of presiding over rampant corruption, nepotism and of stifling democracy, had pushed through constitutional changes in an October referendum to remove age and term limits that would have prevented him from standing again.

Opposition parties

A former paratrooper, Sassou-Nguesso served as president from 1979 to 1992, returning to power in 1997, following a civil war.

He won two successive terms in elections in 2002 and 2009, both of which were disputed by opposition parties.

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