Friday, April 22, 2016

Nicephore Antoine Fylla de Saint Eudes: profile of a Congolese Liberal

Nicephore Antoine Fylla de Saint Eudes: he is an economist by profession and a graduate of the Paris Dauphine University. He is also a former staff of Ernst and young. Mr Fylla is every inch a modern day politician in a country whose political practices is everything but modern. It is a country of paradox. It doesn’t have free press, but its government sponsors international media outlets such as the newly inaugurated Africanews, which is a subsidiary of Euronews. Political opponents are either killed, arrested and tortured as is currently the case with all those who were against the change of the constitution or who ran against Denis Sassou Nguesso in a an election, that he lost but stole the victory of the people. That might explain the reason why Nicephore Antoine Fylla de Saint Eudes, affectionately known as “Nick”, doesn’t succeed and is also not understood by the people. No one knows for sure where he stands. Is he supported by Denis Sassou Nguesso or does he support the popular calls for Denis Sassou Nguesso to step-down? The only aspect where Nicephore Antoine Fylla de Saint Eudes is very clear on is his political orientation or ideology, which is also that of his party. He is a liberal.  He is besides Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas of the MCDDI and Hellot Matson Mampouya of the DRD, the only other political party leader whose political party’s orientation is liberal in Congo. Perhaps others do exist, but Guy Brice, Hellot Matson and Fylla de Saint Eudes are the only threesome that I have met and who clearly assumes without fear or shame that, they are liberals.

The name of his political party is:  Partie Democratique et Liberale Congolais or Congolese Liberal and Democratic Party, abbreviated in French as PDLC. Although he is very popular throughout the city of Brazzaville and beyond, his political base is located in the cosmopolitan and populous neighborhood of Poto-poto.  Nicephore Antoine Fylla de Saint Eudes showed that he was very popular and could also scuttle any government plans if he wanted to, in 2007. That year, he frustrated President Denis Sassou Nguesso’s plans to impose Jean De Dieu Kourissa as MP for the Poto-poto electoral constituency. Jean De Dieu Kourissa is the son-in-law of President Denis Sassou Nguesso. In spite the use of soldiers to vote and massive rigging, Nicephore Antoine Fylla de Saint Eudes, defeated Jean De Dieu Kourissa to win the constituency. But the president of the Republic could not swallow the humiliation. He ordered that all means should be used to overturn the results. Fraudulently, Jean De Dieu Kourissa was elected or designated as MP for Poto-poto. But protest mounted by Mr Fylla caused riots in the locality rendering the constituency and party of the city chaotic zone. The government was forced to negotiate. It took days of intense negotiations between the ruling PCT party, before he (Fylla de Saint Eudes) could concede defeat. What he gave is known but what he was offered before he could concede has never been revealed.

And again, he frustrated plans by the government to impose a new urban scheme in the historic Poto-poto neighbourhood. And because of his protest, the government was forced to abandon its plans, which would have resulted in massive expropriation of people from their properties.  This shows that, if he were to take up an extreme posture toward the regime of Denis Sassou Nguesso, he could pose a major problem to the system. However, why is he sometimes ambiguous politically? Arlette Soudan-Nonault thinks she has the answer. She says, Fylla de Saint Eudes is not ambiguous, but he is a political realist, for he understands that the balance of power is not in his favour but on the side of the President.  Personally, I think, he acts the way he does, because of two things. The first being that, he understands or knows how violent the President is and second, the proximity between his mother and the president of the Republic waters down any fire that wanted or wants to burn in him against the corrupt and violent government of Denis Sassou Nguesso. But he has also told me that, his plan to rule Congo is set for 2023. Strangely, it also coincides with the period floated around by Arlette Soudan Nonault, as the time when Denis Sassou Nguesso is expected to leave power and also the speculated period when, a new political class, that are free from vengeance and rancor would have taken over or replaced the old rancorous and vengeful class. 

Mr Fylla de Saint Eudes’s party is also one of the rare political formations in Congo to be present all over the country. He is mindful of his real strength and also that of the current ruling party and that of its president. Hence, as already stated, he doesn’t want any kind of open or frontal confrontation with Denis Sassou Nguesso. President Nguesso is a man who doesn’t like anybody whom he perceives as challenging his rule. He is a real dictator. Mr Fylla de Saint Eudes, besides being close to Denis Sassou Nguesso, he is also close to t opposition leader, Mathias Dzon. Fylla de Saint Eudes has even tried to play a mediation role between President Denis Sassou Nguesso and his erstwhile friend and protégé, former finance Minister Mathias Dzon. But that attempt at reconciliation failed in spite using their common freemason Mr Nicephore Antoine Fylla de Saint Eudes who is currently a senator and head of the economy and finance commission at the senate, harbor plans to run for presidential elections again in 2023, because at that time, Denis Sassou Nguesso would have certainly been exhausted and would not be able to run.

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