Sassou’s Power Grab in Republic of Congo Could Reignite Violence

Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, U.N. headquarters, New York, Sept. 26, 2014 (AP photo by Richard Drew).
Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, U.N. headquarters, New York, Sept. 26, 2014 (AP photo by Richard Drew).

On Tuesday, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, president of the Republic of Congo, removed two ministers who had recently opposed constitutional amendments he proposed to facilitate his candidacy for a third presidential term in 2016. Sassou, as he is referred to in Congo, is among Africa’s longest-serving dictators and has held power almost continuously since his military appointment in 1979. After losing power in the country’s first multiparty elections in 1992, he emerged victorious in 1997—backed by Angolan troops—following a bloody civil war. He has retained power since. His push, then, to amend the constitution to extend his rule came as no surprise. […]

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