Motlanthe to attend inauguration of DRC President

Friday, August 14, 2009

Brazzaville - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe arrived in the Republic of Congo Brazzaville on Friday to represent South Africa at the inauguration of Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President-elect of the country.

The Deputy President is expected to convey a message of assurance to the President-elect that "South Africa is committed to assist in the country's unwavering movement toward the consolidation of democracy and good governance".

Re-elected on 12 July with 78.61 percent of the votes, Mr Sassou-Nguesso, 66, is to take an oath for another seven year presidential term in the oil rich country. 

The European Union did not send observers for the election as it said there had not been any significant electoral reform since the polls in 2002, which were also marred by complaints of irregularities and boycotts by the opposition. 

However, observers from the African Union and a grouping of Central African states have called the poll transparent.

According to official figures, 2.2 million of the country's 3.6 million voters took to the polls, meaning that government had met the requirement of a 50 percent poll.

Mr Sassou Nguesso is one of the longest serving Presidents on the African continent. He took power in 1979 until 1992, when he was defeated in presidential election by Pascal Lissouba, having turned back to office after the civil war of 1997.

He won the presidential election of 2002 with 89 percent of the votes.

The Republic of Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville, is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Angolan enclave province of Cabinda, and the Gulf of Guinea. 

The country is rich in petroleum and forestry resources and these two sectors are key contributors to its economy. However despite the years of oil exports, the county has failed the lift most of the country's population out of poverty. 

The republic is a former French colony, and now has a population of some 4 million. French is the official language while a number of local languages are also used.