BRAZIL, Republic of the Congo (AP) – The Republic of Congo on Sunday suppressed elections in which President Denis Sasso N’Guesso waited a long time for a 36-year extension of power while the leading opposition candidate continued to be hospitalized with COVID-19.
The NetBlocks watchdog has reported an Internet outage that began in the Central African country at midnight on election day, and the government has not released a statement on Guy Bryce Parfait Colelas’s illness.
Although the constitution allows elections to be postponed if a candidate is unable to vote, polling stations in Brazzaville opened as scheduled at 8 a.m., observers said.
Colelas, 61, bypassed his campaign on Friday after telling some reporters the day before that he feared he had malaria. A video circulating on social media on Saturday shows Coleles wearing an oxygen mask with a blood pressure fist in his hand as he lies in a hospital bed.
“My dear compatriots, I am in trouble. “I’m fighting death,” the candidate said in a low voice after removing his oxygen mask. “Nevertheless, I ask you to stand up and vote for change. I would not fight for anything. “
Campaign spokesman Sir Mayanda told the Associated Press on Sunday that Colelas’ condition was stable but that medical evacuation plans were continuing in France.
Colelas came in second in the 2016 presidential election from Sasso N’Guesso with about 15% of the vote. In recent days, the opposition figure has been particularly critical of the incumbent leader, declaring that the Republic of the Congo has become a “police state”.
Sassou N’Guesso is Africa’s third longest-serving president, ruling from 1979-1992, and again since 1997 in a country overshadowed by its vast neighbor, Congo.
The epidemic in the Republic of Congo has had less than 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 134 confirmed deaths.
Associated Press writer Christa Larson participated in this report in Dakar, Senegal.