|09BRAZZAVILLE23||2009-01-26 14:28:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Brazzaville|
P R 261428Z JAN 09 FM AMEMBASSY BRAZZAVILLE TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1251 INFO AMEMBASSY KIGALI AMEMBASSY PARIS AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS AMEMBASSY KINSHASA AMEMBASSY BANGUI AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA AMEMBASSY MALABO AMEMBASSY BRAZZAVILLE
UNCLAS BRAZZAVILLE 000023
1. As we noted last week, the U.S. Embassy in Brazzaville has
now opened in the new embassy compound.
Our address is:
Boulevard Maya Maya
Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
The main embassy number is (country code 242) 612-2000. We will
be updating our website information over the next several days.
The Foreign Minister of Congo, Basil Ikouebe, spoke at the
opening ceremony. He praised the United States for constructing
a building within the theme of "accelerated municipalization"
which would contribute to the beautification and improvement of
the Congolese capital as well as standing as a gesture of
friendship and confidence for the future of U.S.-Congo
relations. Citing a proverb, he said that, "the stranger who
builds a house in a village shows clearly his determination to
stay there, if not forever for a very long time." The Minister
recalled that when he was Congo's Permanent Representative in
New York, he had read the book on U.S. Embassy architecture
"Building Diplomacy" with pleasure but also with regret, since
it did not include an embassy in the Congo. Now, he said, this
had been rectified.
Turning to events of the day in Washington, the Minister noted
the conclusion of the term of President Bush, thanking him
profoundly for the building as well as the interest he had taken
in Africa. He noted that there could not be a better moment to
open a new American embassy, on the day of the inauguration of
Barack Obama as President, due to the immense expectations the
whole world held toward the new President.
2. The political parties: Union Panafricaine pour la
Whose Side are they on, anyway ?
This week, the UPADS (Union Panafricaine pour la Dimocratie
Sociale) announced that if the upcoming Presidential election is
not "transparent, fair, and equitable" then UPADS would not
participate. What follows is a description of UPADS and its
history for our readers.
The UPADS is a political party historically associated with
former President Pascal Lissouba. Lissouba himself, however,
has been in exile in Paris for many years. He is reportedly ill
and has been incommunicado for quite some time. It is said that
sporadic negotiations are under way for his return to Congo,
doubtless in an apolitical role. Much was made of a meeting
between Mrs. Sassou-Nguesso and Mrs. Lissouba in December during
the first lady's trip to France.
In the 1991-1992 transition to multiparty elections, the UPADS
was part of the Alliance Nationale pour la Democratie (AND)
which also included the Party Congolais du Travail (PCT) the
current ruling party.
In the election held in June-July 1992, UPADS won 39 out of the
125 seats, and together with its AND allies (mainly the PCT),
gained a slight majority of seats in the National Assembly. In
the August 1992 Presidential election, UPADS leader Pascal
Lissouba won in the second round over Bernard Kolilas, the
leader of the Mouvement Congolais pour la Democratie et le
Diveloppment Integral (MCDDI), with 61 percent of the vote.
A UPADS-led government, with Stiphane Maurice Bongho-Nouarra? as
Prime Minister, was appointed after Lissouba took office.
However, the PCT withdrew from the pro-Lissouba alliance and
joined the opposition after it received only three ministerial
positions in the government, thus breaking the slim
parliamentary majority. On October 31, 1992, the Union for
Democratic Renewal-led opposition coalition and the PCT defeated
Bongho-Nouarra's government in a no-confidence vote. Lissouba
consequently dissolved the National Assembly and called a new
election, but public protests forced him to accept the formation
of a national unity government dominated by the URD and PCT in
the lead-up to the election.
In the 1993 parliamentary election, the Presidential Tendency
("President" in this case meaning Lissouba), of which UPADS was
the main component, won a majority of the seats decided in the
first round, 62 out of 114, with UPADS itself holding 49 of the
62. But, true to form, the URD and PCT opposition denounced the
election as fraudulent and refused to participate in the second
round, in which the Presidential Tendency won an additional
seven seats. These results of the second round were annulled
and when a second round revote was held in October 1993, the
Presidential Tendency won only three of the eleven available
During the presidential election held on 10 March 2002, UPADS
took second place but received less than 3 percent of the vote,
with Sassou Nguesso the overwhelming victor. In the
parliamentary election held on 26 May and 23 June 2002, UPADS
won only 2 out of 137 seats.
Anticipating the 2007 parliamentary election, and with Lissouba
in exile, the party held its first extraordinary congress in
December, 2006. Pascal Tsaty-Mabiala was elected
secretary-general of the party. UPADS broke with the rest of
the opposition in deciding to participate in the June 2007
parliamentary election; most other opposition groups boycotted.
The party put forward about 50 candidates but won only three of
the 46 declared in the first round. Tsaty-Mabiala said that the
party would only participate in the second round of the election
in July if the electoral rolls were improved, voter registration
cards were properly distributed, and the composition of the
electoral commissions was changed. He also said that the second
round should be delayed to allow time for these things to be
done. The election was delayed by two weeks, but the party won
only an additional seven seats, bringing its total to 10 seats
in the National Assembly. Tsaty-Mabiala denounced the results
as fraudulent and that the election was neither transparent nor
fair, alleging that five UPADS candidates, in Mossendjo,
Moutamba, Nkayi, Mabombo and Dolisie electoral districts in the
south, had won but were deprived of victory in the results. One
was subsequently seated as a result of legal action.
Currently, the party is divided into three and possibly four
factions: (1) Tsaty Mabiala's; (2) a second led by former party
secretary general Christophe Moukouiki; and (3) a third led by
former State Minister and Minister of Interior and Security
during the Lissouba administration Martin Mberi.
In December, the party (via Mabiala) announced that its
candidate for the coming presidential election would be Ange
Edouard Poungui. But on January 17, Tsaty Mabiala announced
that the UPADS will use all the legal means to obtain a
transparent, just and fair election. Otherwise, UPADS will not
take part in the presidential election.
Comment: There's a widespread view that what is happening in
the UPADS is a systematic dismantling led by the party in power.
There are at least two "independent" announced presidential
candidates with strong UPADS roots, and the Tsaty Mabiala group
believes that both Mounoukeke and Mberi maintain close relations
and contacts with Sassou-Nguesso. The factionalism and threats
of boycotts that characterize the UPADS in the present era are
an obstacle to the emergence of a more unified opposition for
the July presidential election.
3. OIL PRODUCTION EXPECTED TO RISE in 2009
According to estimates produced by the Ministry of Hydrocarbons,
Congo (Brazzaville)'s crude oil production for calendar year
2008 was estimated to be 87 million barrels. The Ministry
announced a forecast for 2009 projecting an increase to 110
million barrels (thus, if the forecast is met, rising to over
300,000 b/d). The projected increase is attributed to two new
fields that came on line for the first time in 2008, Total's
Moho-Bilondo and ENI's Awa-Paloukou, as well as the expected
impact of new entrant Murphy Oil's deep water Azurite field,
where production should begin sometime in 2009. (Murphy,
headquartered in El Dorado, Arkansas and operating out of
Houston, is ramping up its personnel in Pointe Noire this month
to install an innovative, industry-first collection system.)
Other significant activities in the hydrocarbon sector noted by
the Ministry include a 2008 seismic exploration program in the
Cuvette Basin in north-central Congo by Pilatus Energy, ongoing
efforts to maintain production at existing fields, and the
beginning of construction of a gas collection system which will
feed electricity generation plants at Djeno (the site of the
present oil terminal) and Cote Mateve, which are expected
initially to produce 350 MW of electric power when completed.