Congo opposition calls for civil disobedience

A Congolese opposition coalition on Tuesday called for a “civil disobedience” protest to pressure the government to withdraw a planned constitutional amendment allowing President Denis Sassou Nguesso to extend his three-decade rule.
In a statement read to the media, the FROCAD coalition demanded “purely and simply the withdrawal” of the plan which the government earlier Tuesday said had been approved by a landslide at a controversial weekend referendum to amend the constitution.
Interior Minister Raymond Mboulou said a total 92.3 per cent of people voting in the central African country’s referendum had approved the constitutional change, which had now been adopted.
The referendum proposed two changes to the 2002 constitution, scrapping a 70-year age ceiling as well as a two-term limit.
Critical question
President Sassou Nguesso is 71 and has already served two consecutive seven-year terms.
Official results put turnout at a high 72.4 per cent, a figure questioned by the opposition.
Sassou Nguesso took power in 1979 and has been in office since, except for a five-year office, meaning he has ruled for more than 31 years.
Congo is one of several African countries currently facing the critical question of whether heads of state should be allowed to run beyond two terms in office.