Denis-Christel Sassou Nguesso

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Denis-Christel Sassou Nguesso is a Congolese politician who has held high-level positions in the national oil industry. His father is Denis Sassou Nguesso, who has been President of Congo-Brazzaville since 1997 and was previously President from 1979 to 1992. He was Administrator-General of Cotrade and was subsequently appointed as Deputy Director-General of the National Petroleum Company of the Congo (Société nationale des pétroles du Congo, SNPC) in December 2010. He was elected to the National Assembly of Congo-Brazzaville in 2012.

Early life and career[edit]

Denis-Christel Sassou Nguesso attended the Général-Leclerc military preparatory school in Brazzaville and subsequently studied in France. Beginning in 2001,[1] he headed the SNPC's branch in the United Kingdom.[2] Subsequently he was Administrator-General of Cotrade, a Congolese state company responsible for marketing oil, from 2005 to 2009.[1] As part of an administrative shake-up at the SNPC, Sassou Nguesso was instead appointed as Deputy Director-General of the SNPC, in charge of downstream operations, on 29 December 2010.[3][4] The shake-up was viewed as indicative of his "increasing influence".[5]

Political activities[edit]

Beginning in 2005, Sassou Nguesso headed the Pole of Young Republicans (PJR),[6] a political association that had eight of its members elected to the National Assembly as independent candidates in the 2007 parliamentary election. He served as the PJR's Honorary President until he was elected as its National Executive President on 12 October 2007.[7] The group was later renamed as the Party for Justice and the Republic.[6] At the Sixth Extraordinary Congress of the Congolese Labour Party (PCT), held in July 2011, Sassou Nguesso was elected to the PCT's 51-member Political Bureau.[8] 10 PJR members, including Sassou Nguesso, were included in the PCT Central Committee. Sassou Nguesso then dissolved the PJR on 5 August 2011, while calling on all its members to immediately join the PCT.[6]

In the July 2012 parliamentary election, he was elected to the National Assembly as the PCT candidate in Oyo constituency, located in Cuvette Region; he won the seat in the first round of voting,[9][10] receiving 99.88% of the vote.[10] Three of the four opposing candidates withdrew prior to the vote, and the result was viewed as a foregone conclusion.[11]

Sassou Nguesso's election to the National Assembly was viewed as strengthening his political influence and perhaps paving the way for him to receive a post in the government.[12] As one of the two youngest deputies elected to the National Assembly in the 2012 election, Sassou Nguesso was part of the traditional bureau d'âge, assisting Auguste-Célestin Gongarad Nkoua, the oldest deputy, in presiding over the election of the National Assembly's bureau on 5 September 2012.[13][14] Despite the speculation that Sassou Nguesso might be appointed to the government and become a de facto political heir to his father, in a manner reminiscent of father–son succession arrangements seen in some nearby countries, he did not receive a post in the government appointed on 25 September 2012.[15]

In November 2013, he initiated a campaign of free cervical cancer vaccinations for girls in Oyo, and his wife, Danièle, donated ophthalmology equipment on his behalf to an Oyo hospital.[16]

Speaking in January 2014, he said that he had no present plans to eventually succeed his father as President, but he also stressed that, as a Congolese citizen, he had "the same duties but also the same rights as my countrymen" and that his name should not disqualify him from office.[1]

Controversies[edit]

Denis-Christel Sassou Nguesso attracted some negative attention in 2007 for spending heavily on luxury goods and accommodations abroad.[17] British NGO Global Witness published documents including Sassou Nguesso’s credit card bills, which showed him spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on shopping sprees in Paris, Dubai and Marbella. According to the documents, on 3 June 2006, Denis Christel spent EUR 10,225 in Louis Vuitton and in August 2006 alone, spent $35,000 on purchases from designers such as Louis Vuitton and Roberto Cavalli.[18]

Sassou Nguesso took Global Witness to court in London for publishing documents which demonstrated lavish spending of state funds. British High Court judge Stanley Burnton dismissed an attempt by Sassou Nguesso to suppress publication of his credit card bills.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c François Soudan, "Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso : "Avant d'être le fils du président, je suis un citoyen congolais", Jeune Afrique, 8 January 2014 (French).
  2. ^ "Nepotists' nirvana", Africa Confidential, volume 45, number 9, 30 April 2004.
  3. ^ "Compte rendu du Conseil des ministres du 29 décembre 2010", Les Dépêches de Brazzaville, 30 December 2010 (French).
  4. ^ "Une nouvelle équipe dirigeante pour conduire la société nationale de pétrole", Xinhua, 30 December 2010 (French).
  5. ^ "Sassou's clan dominates the SNPC", West Africa Newsletter, number 603, Africa Intelligence, 13 January 2011.
  6. ^ a b c Willy Mbossa, "Vie des partis : le Parti pour la justice et la République dissous", Les Dépêches de Brazzaville, 6 August 2011 (French).
  7. ^ "Assemblée générale extraordinaire et élective du P.j.r: Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso élu président exécutif national", La Semaine Africaine, number 2,736, 16 October 2007, page 5 (French).
  8. ^ Joël Nsoni, "Denis Sassou Nguesso aux congressistes du P.c.t : «Les élections ne se gagnent pas dans les bureaux. Elles se gagnent sur le terrain»", La Semaine Africaine, 30 July 2011 (French).
  9. ^ "Élections législatives du 15 juillet 2012 - Liste des élus au premier tour", Les Dépêches de Brazzaville, 22 July 2012 (French).
  10. ^ a b "Résultats du premier tour des élections législatives 2012", La Semaine Africaine, 24 July 2012 (French).
  11. ^ "Echo de la campagne", La Semaine Africaine, 17 July 2012 (French).
  12. ^ "Les Sassou sur orbite parlementaire", La Lettre du Continent, number 640, Africa Intelligence, 26 July 2012 (French).
  13. ^ Roger Ngombé, "Assemblée nationale : Justin Koumba reconduit à la présidence", Les Dépêches de Brazzaville, 5 September 2012 (French).
  14. ^ Cyr Armel Yabbat-Ngo, "Session inaugurale de la 13ème législature de l’assemblée nationale : Sans surprise, Justin Koumba de nouveau au perchoir", La Semaine Africaine, 7 September 2012 (French).
  15. ^ Joël Nsoni, "Nouveau gouvernement : Six partants, sept entrants et des inamovibles!", La Semaine Africaine, 28 September 2012 (French).
  16. ^ Véran Carrhol Yanga, "Hôpital de base Mama Mouebara d’Oyo (département de la Cuvette) : Don d’un nouveau matériel au service d’ophtalmologie par le député élu d’Oyo", La Semaine Africaine, 22 November 2013 (French).
  17. ^ "Congo leader son fails in gag bid", BBC News, 15 August 2007.
  18. ^ "Online Credit Card Documents". Zenga-Mambu. 27 November 2006. 
  19. ^ Tony Allen-Mills (17 June 2008). "Congo sapped of riches as Denis menaces Boulevard Saint-Germain". The Australian.