Firmin Ayessa MP aka Max or Fox: he is Congo’s minister of state and Member of Parliament for Makoua electoral constituency in the north of the country and Director of Cabinet or chief of staff of the President. He is therefore a kind of prime minister in a presidential system that Congo is. Mr Ayessa is a former journalist who has always been close to the president of the Republic. Professionally speaking, I don’t think that besides heading or holding managerial posts of responsibilities at the Congolese News Agency abbreviated in French as ACI and in pseudo private paper, he has had any major impact on Congolese as other Congolese journalists such as Joseph Bitala Bitemo or Jean Claude Kakou. Anyway, throughout my stay in Congo, besides Constant Tchendou and a hand few who recalls that, he was a journalist, most people don’t remembers him as a journalist. Or it might be that, he was just an average journalist who rattled no feathers. Perhaps it is a matter of generational shift, hence the new generation has forgotten about him. However his national lack of professional notoriety has been compensate with that which he currently is politically. And this is not because he has done or taken a major political decision, but simply because, he is on the under the protective wing of President Denis Sassou Nguesso. Just as he had registered a wafer thin reputation as a journalist, it is the same case with his parliamentary life.
His colleagues complain that, he hardly comes to parliament or supports any bill. To his discharge, he could logically argue that, given his position he can’t be present in parliamentary secessions, hence his alternate seats for him. He also gets elected not because he is popular in his constituency but he gets elected out of fraud. Firmin Ayessa might be popular in his constituency, but the fact that, he is close to President Denis Sassou Nguesso who is very unpopular within the region, it dampens any sympathies that people would have had for him. His most difficult periods privately and professionally were when Denis Sassou Nguesso was out of power. But immediately Denis Sassou Nguesso succeeded in driving away from power Pascal Lissouba from power, the man who used to take buses and taxis to work recovered politically and financially. Mr Ayessa is an easy going and ever smiling man, who love French politics. And the French politician who marvels him most is Nicholas Sarkozy. I don’t know whether it is because Nicholas Sarkozy and his UMP party were to his boss or whether it was hyperactivity of the former French president that attracted him. Firmin Ayessa is also a very humble and simple man who seems not to have forgotten where he came from. He is also one of the rare men who are advanced in age within the Denis Sassou Nguesso galaxy that, I know and who calls me my son. He is not ashamed of his age and assumes it. In the chapter on Congolese elite, more will be explained on why most Congolese elite of a certain age in particular men prefers to be called “Grand Frere” or a “Yayah” in the both Congolese national languages: Lingala and Kituba.
His proximity to the President Denis Sassou Nguesso has made him today to be appointed campaign manager. Denis Sassou Nguesso seems to love him because, he (Denis Sassou Nguesso) knows that, his ambition to elongate his stay in power is not appreciated even by most within his family inner circle. Hence prior to plans by the president to change the constitution in order to extend his stay in power, Firmin Ayessa was the one that the president used to meet or contact western diplomats, in particular the US ambassador to Congo, Mrs. Stephanie Sullivan. Mrs. Sullivan is today the bête-noir of the ruling Nguesso family simply because she wants Congo’s democracy entrenched or consolidate. For a democratic Congo will unlock the country's huge cultural and economic potentials for the benefit of the majority and not what is the rule of a happy few. Unfortunately for Mrs. Sullivan, the White House is full of people who talks a lot and only reacts lately. That is the reason why, Denis Sassou Nguesso should not think that, the repeated humiliations and refusal to meet with the US ambassador will save him from the wrath of Washington DC. Or he should not be deceived into thinking that, a new president in White House might change Washington’s approach toward them. Denis Sassou Nguesso, decided to adopt the strategy of hiding behind Firmin Ayessa because, he had deceived all western diplomats or had promised them all that, he will respect the constitution.
Since he never knew what to tell them, whenever, they wanted to see him, hence, he used the services of his loyal chief of staff who in addition, knows how to speak or present their case convincingly. However, on the problem of the constitutional change, I don’t think Firmin Ayessa was able to convince anyone. The only problem that Firmin Ayessa is having now with the president, I was told is that, he has not only been able to convince General Jean Marie Michel Mokoko not to contest the March 20th snap presidential elections, more he was not able to foresee or predict the popular General’s participation. General Mokoko and Firmin Ayessa are both from the town of Makoua and the second being the principal collaborator of the president, will now be subjected to moral torture from his boss. The post of Chief of staff that Firmin Ayessa occupies is a vital post of responsibility that, some members of the president’s family thought that, they are the only ones who deserved to have it or be appointed to. Hence, they were surprised when the president sacked his uncle Aime Emmanuel Yoka from the post and replaced him with Firmin Ayessa.
It explains the reason why, the rumor mills in Brazzaville has it that, Mr Ayessa is where he is because his daughter, Mrs. Belinda Ayessa. Mrs. Ayessa is a former journalist like her father and she is currently the Directress of the controversial Pierre Savorgnon de Brazza Museum. The Brazzaville rumor mill is precise with it information, it claims that, Mrs. Belinda Ayessa is one of the many mistresses of the President Denis Sassou Nguesso. When she gave birth it was also claimed that, it was the lovechild of the president of Congo. All these are just rumors because there are no proves and in addition, Congolese politics is very salacious and full of slander and blackmail. It is a classic menu inherited from it Communist past. But Mr Ayessa who is a member of parliament as already mentioned, is where, he is today because he is hard working and also upon his appointment as the Directorate of cabinet of the president of the Republic he has installed order. But while he is a disciplined man, he has no future politically in Congo after Denis Sassou Nguesso.