A presidential candidate in the much anticipated polls in the Republic of Congo has been hospitalised with Covid-19 on the eve of the election.
Guy Brice Parfait Kolelas has been in hospital since Friday in a private hospital in the capital Brazzaville. According to his campaign team, the 61 year old has been in the Intensive Care Unit on respiratory support and should be evacuated to Paris, the French capital, tomorrow.
There have been concerns surrounding the prominent opposition leader’s health since the interruption of his rally on March 13 in Pointe-Noire, the country’s economic capital. These concerns were reinforced by his absence at his closing meeting on March 19 in Brazzaville.
Speaking to Congo Media Time, Kolelas’ campaign manager, Rodrigue Mayanda, said “We suspected malaria and the common flu from all the campaigning he had to do by road, we thought it was fatigue and malaria. At the meeting in Pointe-Noire he could not stand. Because we remember in 2016, he had experienced a similar situation at the end where he was extremely tired even to hold the last meeting…so we thought that was it. Afterwards, he took a Covid test and the result was positive.”
Kolelas’ hospitalisation casts doubt on whether the vote will take place on Sunday. According to Article 59 of the electoral law “If, before the first round, one of the candidates dies or is unable to participate in the vote, the constitutional judge announces the postponement of the election.” A procedure that the campaign team had intended to invoke when Kolelas was incapacitated.
It was not until March 20, the following day, around 2pm local time that the candidate of the Union of Humanist Democrats (Udh-Yuki) regained consciousness. He immediately asked his team to abandon this track.
A video recording of the presidential candidate has been making waves on his social platforms where Kolelas states that he does not want a postponement of the election. “I ask you to stand up and vote for change. I would not have fought for nothing,” he says while laying on her hospital bed.
The presidential hopeful, who is seen as a frontrunner in the polls, has formulated a plan to turnaround the country based on decentralization, a concept that envisions a subdivision of Congo into four autonomous provinces. He intends to do this once elected.
Since the news of Kolelal broke, there has been no immediate reaction to the developments by the government and the other candidates.
Meanwhile, more than 2.5 million of the country’s 5 million population have registered to partake in the vote.