Republic of Congo opposition candidate Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas died of Covid-19 as he was being transferred to France for treatment, his campaign director said Monday, the day after presidential elections in which he was the main challenger.
Kolelas was seen as the main rival to veteran leader Denis Sassou Nguesso, who was expected to win Sunday’s vote.
The election was boycotted by the main opposition and under an internet blackout, with critics voicing concerns over the transparency of the polls seen as tilted towards Sassou Nguesso.
Kolelas “died in the medical aircraft which came to get him from Brazzaville on Sunday afternoon,” his campaign director Christian Cyr Rodrigue Mayanda told AFP.
The sixty-year-old tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday afternoon, and was unable to host his last campaign meeting in Brazzaville.
On Saturday, he posted a video from his sickbed, declaring he was “battling against death”.
“Rise up as one person… I’m fighting on my deathbed, you too fight for your change,” he urged his supporters, saying the election was “about the future of your children”.
Mayanda called on supporters of Kolelas to rally at 11 am local time (1000 GMT).
“We’ll continue to count the ballots. He was ahead in a number of areas,” he said.