CONGO. Brazzaville: The main opposition leader of the presidential elections of Congo, Guy Kolelas died on his way to France for medical treatment on election day.
Kolelas’ campaign manager Rodrigue Mayanda said that the 60-year-old had died of COVID-19 complications.
Before his death, Kolelas had posted a video encouraging his supporters to patronise the polls.
“My dear compatriots. I am in trouble. I’m fighting death. But nevertheless, I ask you to stand up. Go and vote for change. I will have fought for anything. Fight for it,” he said.
Kolelas’ illness had threatened the future of the polls whose results are expected to take days before the official announcement.
Kolelas was regarded as the major contender against President Denis Sassou Nguesso who is seeking a fourth term in office.
Kolelas finished runner-up to leader Denis Sassou Nguesso in the 2016 presidential election with about 15 percent of the vote. His father, Bernard Kolelas, was briefly Congo’s prime minister in 1997 during the country’s civil war.
The opposition figure has been particularly critical of the incumbent leader in recent days, declaring that the Republic of Congo had become “a police state”.
Kolelas was seen as the main rival to Nguesso, who has lead the central African country for a total of 36 years.
Pundits have tipped the 77-year-old Nguesso to extend his 36-year-old rule. Internet shut down and a low voter turnout had chastised the elections in the central African country after the opposition had threatened a boycott.