Congo – Politics – Obituaries

Congo’s former president Pascal Lissouba dies at 88

APA-Brazzaville (Congo)

Pascal Lissouba, the former president of Congo-Brazzaville from 1992 to 1997 before the civil war, died Monday morning in France at the age of 88.

Lissouba suffered from Alzheimer. He was no longer managing the affairs of the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy (UPADS), the party he had created in the early 1990s and of which Pascal Tsaty-Mabiala is now director.

 

After losing power in October 1997 following the Congolese civil war, the late former head of state had moved to France in 2004 after stays in Libreville, Burkina Faso and London.

 

For several years, he claimed the status of constitutional president of the Republic and accused French President Chirac and the French oil extraction company Elf of having favoured Sassou-Nguesso’s seizure of power by force.

 

Presented as “the first democratically elected President of Congo” in August 1992, Lissouba owes this result to the return to multiparty politics at the beginning of the 1990s.

 

Under his magisterium, this trained agronomist and Prime Minister from 1963 to 1966 opened his country to a planned economic liberalism. In addition, he advanced freedoms while the Congo was living under Marxism. From a historical point of view too, President Lissouba is seen as the one who laid the foundations for real development in five years of difficult governance.

 

A month before the end of his five-year term, a civil war pitted him against protagonists, the most remarkable of whom was Denis Sassou-Nguesso. Sassou-Nguesso had succeeded in taking over as head of state between 1979 and 1992 after a putsch against President Yhombi-Opango.

 

His second attempt was successful after French and Angolan forces intervened in the conflict, resulting in the destruction of the capital Brazzaville and several other cities and the death of thousands of people.

 

Defeated by his opponent, Lissouba was forced to relinquish power on October 15, 1997. It was 10 days later that Denis Sassou-Nguesso took up his new position, having held power for 35 years. He is one of the oldest leaders currently in power in the world.

 


ODL/te/lb/abj/APA

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