Ange Édouard Poungui
Ange Édouard Poungui (born 1942) is the former Prime Minister of Congo-Brazzaville under President Denis Sassou Nguesso. He was chosen as the candidate for the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy (UPADS) for the 2009 presidential election.
In December 1969, Poungui was included in the original Political Bureau of the Congolese Labour Party (PCT) as President of the Economy, Finance, and Social Affairs Committee. He was also included in the smaller, five-member Political Bureau elected in December 1971 and was assigned responsibility for finance and equipment. He also served in the government as Minister of Finance until 30 August 1973.
Amidst the introduction of multiparty politics, Poungui resigned from the PCT on 28 November 1990 and became the leader of a new party, the Union for Social Progress and Democracy (UPSD). At the end of the June–October 1997 civil war, in which PCT leader Denis Sassou Nguesso returned to power, Poungui, as a supporter of President Pascal Lissouba, fled into exile. He remained in exile until 2006.
Poungui joined UPADS and was elected as one of its 25 Vice-Presidents in December 2006, at the party's first extraordinary congress. He was later chosen as the party's candidate for the 2009 presidential election by the UPADS National Council in a primary election on 30 November 2008. His sole rival for the nomination, Joseph Kignoumbi Kia Mboungou, withdrew from the vote, complaining of "lack of transparency in the process", and Poungui, as the only candidate, received 85% of the vote.
On 19 June 2009, less than a month before the election, the Constitutional Court ruled against Poungui's candidacy, deciding that he was ineligible to stand because he had not lived continuously in the country for at least two years. UPADS denounced the ruling as politically motivated. As the representative of the main opposition party, Poungui was the most important opposition candidate, and his disqualification was viewed as eliminating any possibility that Sassou Nguesso might face a serious challenge in the election.
Following the announcement of official results showing an overwhelming victory for Sassou Nguesso, he and other opposition leaders participated in a banned protest march on 15 July 2009. After Sassou Nguesso was sworn in for a new term, Poungui said on 17 August 2009 that he had tried to travel to France "for purely personal and private reasons" on 14 August but had been barred from leaving the country by police who said that "all political figures should stay at home to attend national independence festivities" on 15 August. Poungui said that he tried again on 16 August but was still barred from leaving, and he claimed that he was therefore "under house arrest".
Government Spokesman Alain Akouala Atipault said on 24 August 2009 that it was necessary for Poungui to remain in Congo-Brazzaville while an investigation was conducted into the banned march, but he also said that Poungui was not under house arrest. In further remarks on 2 September, Akouala Atipault said that the banned march had been a disturbance of public order, and he stressed the principle of equality under the law, arguing that no one, not even prominent politicians, could behave with impunity. He acknowledged that Poungui was a free citizen who had not been convicted of a crime, but he nevertheless insisted that, under the circumstances, Poungui could not be allowed to leave.
According to Poungui, the government restricted his movements even within Congo-Brazzaville; he said that he and UPADS Secretary-General Pascal Tsaty Mabiala were barred from flying to the Congolese town of Dolisie to participate in a UPADS meeting in September 2009.
In a communiqué on 13 April 2010, a faction called the UPADS–Red Base identified Poungui as one of its leaders. Poungui denied the claim on 15 April, saying that he knew nothing of the "red" faction and that he remained a loyal member of the main UPADS faction, led by Tsaty Mabiala. On 29–30 June 2010, the UPADS National Council met and assigned Poungui to lead a six-member contact group that was tasked with persuading dissident party members to rejoin the main faction for the sake of party unity.
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- Gankama N'Siah, "Poungui a son slogan", Les Dépêches de Brazzaville, 17 February 2009 (French).
- Political Parties of the World (6th edition, 2005), ed. Bogdan Szajkowski, page 142.
- "Congo bans 4 opposition candidates from vote", Agence France-Presse, 19 June 2009.
- "Pascal Tsati Mabiala élu secrétaire général de l'Union panafricaine pour la démocratie sociale (UPADS)", Les Dépêches de Brazzaville, 29 December 2006 (French).
- Thierry Noungou, "Présidentielles 2009 - Le candidat de l'UPADS, Ange Edouard Poungui, annonce ses bonnes intentions", Les Dépêches de Brazzaville, 2 December 2008 (French).
- "Poungui disqualified", Africa Confidential, volume 50, number 13, 26 June 2009.
- "Congolese opposition chiefs banned from travel: official", Agence France-Presse, 25 August 2009.
- "Poungui claims house arrest", Agence France-Presse, 18 August 2009.
- Roger Ngombé and Guy Gervais Kitina, "Alain Akouala Atipault : « Ange Edouard Poungui ne doit pas sortir de Brazzaville avant l'aboutissement de l'enquête judiciaire »", Les Dépêches de Brazzaville, 3 September 2009 (French).
- "Congo-Brazzaville: Post-Election Clampdown on Opposition", IRIN, 9 October 2009.
- Willy Mbossa, "Polémique à l'Upads. Ange Edouard Poungui réitère son appartenance aux instances de décembre 2006", Les Dépêches de Brazzaville, 15 April 2010 (French).
- Roger Ngombé, "L'UPADS met en place un groupe de contact pour ramener l'unité au sein du parti", Les Dépêches de Brazzaville, 30 June 2010 (French).
- "Liste des élus aux élections sénatoriales", Les Dépêches de Brazzaville, 10 October 2011 (French).
- Gankama N'Siah, "Le fait du jour - La chambre haute se vide et se renfloue", Les Dépêches de Brazzaville, 17 October 2011 (French).