Saturday, August 19, 2017

Corrosive influence of Sassou Nguesso beyond Congo Brazzaville: the case of CAR

Beyond Congo Brazzaville

Like any other Kleptocracy around the world, Congo’s Kleptocracy led by Denis Sassou Nguesso, wants to extend its influence beyond the borders of Congo Brazzaville. Interestingly or not, he is not the only Kleptocrat within the region with the ambition to extend their powers beyond their respective countries. Obiang Nguema Mbasongo of Equatorial Guinea and Late Omar Bongo of Gabon are the other Kleptocrats who share the same ambitions with Sassou Nguesso. In  the case of Obiang Nguema Mbasongo, his first known attempt at  extending his influence beyond Equatorial Guinea are his  financing  of the so-called pan African media such as Afrique Media and Africa 24 and also  sponsoring the translation of documents at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa from English, French , Arabic or Portuguese  into Spanish. It is Obiang’s own brand of Soft power. Besides the latter, Obiang Nguema Mbasongo is also investing in countries such Liberia by helping to construct in the Monrovia international airport and offering asylum to dictators such as Yaya Jammeh of Gambia. As for late Omar Bongo, when he was at the pinnacle of his political and financial power, he was sponsoring a pan African radio called Africa Number 1 and a pan African television, Telesud. He was also involved in multiple political mediations across Africa, especially in Central Africa Republic and Chad.  Late Omar Bongo was also involved in banking and oil sectors. One of his banking legacies that have outlived him is BGFI Bank SA, which is present in 11 countries in west and central Africa.

Central African Republic

Denis Sassou Nguesso has always wanted to play leading roles on the continent. Hence, he is mediator in various regional conflicts:  Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo.  He is also chair of the African Union on the Libyan crisis. Sadly all his mediations in Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and even his role in Libya have all failed. In Central African Republic, he doesn’t only want to limit is role as mediator; he equally wants to control how the country’s internal politics is run. For example: during CAR’s last presidential and legislative elections of December 30th 2015 and the run off of February 14th 2016, Sassou Nguesso played a major role in dictating the outcome. How did he proceed? He is reported to have financed three main candidates: President Faustin Archange Touadera, George Anicet Dologuele and Karim Mekasoua. According to one of the participating presidential candidates, Sassou Nguesso sponsored Faustin Touadera and Karim Mekasoua during the first round of the presidential elections. However when his two protégé were defeated in the first round by George Anicet Dologuele, Sassou Nguesso decided to sponsor Mr Dologuele during the second round. Sadly for him, Dologuele was not elected. He did not stop meddling into the internal affairs of Central African Republic with the end of the presidential race. During election within the Central African parliament to choose its speaker, Sassou Nguesso played another major role. From information that I gathered from some participants, when Congo’s President got news that, George Anicet Dologuele could be elected as speaker of parliament at the detriment of his protégé, Karim Mekasoua, he(Sassou Nguesso) dispatched funds to Bangui via an emissary ,  the said sum t were used to corrupt a large number of Central African members of parliament not to vote of Anicet George Dologuele for the post of speaker of parliament. The sponsorship or financial support that Karim Mekasoua received from Sassou Nguesso helped him to defeat George Anicet Dologuele and become the speaker of parliament of Central African Republic. Karim Mekasoua is therefore speaker of parliament in Bangui because of the manipulations or financial influence of Denis Sassou Nguesso. 

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