Opposition coalition in Republic of Congo holds first convention

Three parties in Congo-Brazzaville are meeting to lay out their objectives for the 2026 elections and challenge President Nguesso’s long rule.

President and candidate for the presidential elections Denis Sassou Nguesso waves to a crowd at an election rally in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, on March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Hereward Holland NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
The Alliance for Democratic Alternation in 2026 is hoping to unseat longstanding President Denis Nguesso [Hereward Holland/AFP]

Three opposition parties in the Republic of Congo have met for their first convention as a coalition to outline the group’s goals ahead of the 2026 elections so they can unseat President Denis Nguesso, who has been in power since 1997.

The Alliance for Democratic Alternation in 2026 (2AD2026), whose members gathered on Sunday, is made up of the Democracy and Development party of former President Jacques Joachim Yhomby Opango, the Movement of Republicans and the People’s Party.

The parties have grassroots support but no seats in parliament.

“This work enabled us to adopt the texts and above all to set ourselves short-, medium- and long-term objectives,” said Destin Gavet, 2AD2026’s first president and a Movement of Republicans member.

Gavet said several recommendations were also made to address the issue of political prisoners, including Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko and André Okombi Salissa.

“The release of political prisoners can be a way to ease the political climate and above all to promote social cohesion and national unity,” he said.

Both opposition figures were found guilty of undermining internal state security after the 2016 elections. Those polls were followed by violence, leading to the deaths of 17 people after the opposition accused  Nguesso, who had garnered 67 percent of the votes cast, of rigging the poll.

The opposition coalition was launched in April with the aim of bringing change to a political landscape dominated by Nguesso.

The 80-year-old president is set to run for a fifth term. He was also president from 1979 to 1991, losing in the 1992 elections before returning five years later.

Source: Al Jazeera