Congo’s main opposition candidate Parfait Kolelas dies of Covid-19 day after polls

KINSHASA-(MaraviPost)-The Republic of Congo’s main opposition candidate Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas has died a day after elections in the country.

Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas’ campaign director Christian Cyr Rodrigue Mayanda disclosed the news in a statement on Monday, 22 March.

Mayanda said Kolelas died in the medical aircraft as he was being taken to France for treatment after being hospitalized on the eve of the elections after contracting Covid-19.

Prior to that, Kolelas on Friday disclosed to his supporters that he was fighting death while on hospital bed wearing oxygen mask and he urged them to go and vote for change.

According to Al Jazeera report, the opposition figure in the country skipped his final campaign event on Friday after telling some reporters a day earlier that he feared he had malaria.

The 61-year-old was one of six candidates running against Denis Sassou Nguesso, 77, the country’s longest serving leader who has lead the central African country for a total of 36 years since 1979.

He was the runner-up in 2016’s presidential election and he finished with about 15 percent of the vote. He has as been widely seen as the main political threat to Sassou Nguesso.

Reports indicated that Congo was cut off from the rest of the world due to an internet shutdown and the opposition boycotted the polls following the internet blackout, with critics voicing concerns over the transparency of the polls seen as tilted towards Sassou Nguesso.

Provisional election results are not expected for days, but Sassou Nguesso is widely expected to win.

The former French colony has abundant oil reserves and most of its budget comes from petroleum revenue. But its economy is in a slump, hurt by a collapse in world crude oil prices, long-standing debt and the pandemic, as well as its reputation for corruption

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