Congo-Brazzaville: citizens to galvanise social networks against President

Congo-Brazzaville: citizens to galvanise social networks against President.

Analysts say deep resentment towards govt likely to trend across various platforms.

Social media platforms are expected to reflect deep resentment against Congo-Brazzaville President, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, once internet connections – cut ahead of a key referendum – are restored.

Sassou-Nguesso is seeking re-election in crucial elections scheduled for next year in August and has sought to amend the country's constitution to allow him to run for another term.

Opposition political parties in the country want him to step aside and called off protests at the last minute ahead of last weekend's referendum.

Congo-Brazzaville's leadership has also been accused of cutting mobile internet connections ahead of the referendum, allegedly fearful of continued violence that has erupted in the country.

Analysts at NKC African Economics are now expecting massive display of resentment against the country's leader on social media platforms including Facebook and WhatsApp.

"Deep resentment against Mr Sassou remains, and will trend up once the country's internet connections (which have been off for days) are re-established, and scenes of violence and brutality are widely shared," said analyst François Conradie.

Conradie said the absence of violence over the weekend was mainly a result of the opposition calling off "the mass marches of the previous week to avoid bloodshed".

News organisations such as Vice and Reuters reported last week that mobile internet and text message services inside the country had been cut off as of Tuesday morning last week.

The country's state telecom firm, Congotel had also shut down internet connectivity and the African country's government has been accused of stifling freedom of expression and access to information.

"Access to the internet is a right and termination of that accessibility ahead of a crucial national event is an abuse of rights which the government should respect," said a rights campaigner.