Republic of Congo opposition candidate Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas has died of COVID-19 as he was being transferred to France for treatment, his campaign director says.
Kolelas’s campaign director Christian Cyr Rodrigue Mayanda told AFP news agency on Monday he was hospitalised on the eve of the elections.
Kolelas was the main challenger in Sunday’s elections in which President Denis Sassou Nguesso was the frontrunner.
Mayanda said Kolelas “died in the medical aircraft which came to get him from Brazzaville on Sunday afternoon”.
Kolelas skipped his final campaign event on Friday after telling some reporters a day earlier that he feared he had malaria.
In a video circulating on social media dated Friday Kolelas, 61, speaking in a weak voice after removing his oxygen mask, said:
My dear compatriots, I am in trouble. I am fighting death. However, I ask you to stand up and vote for change. I would not have fought for nothing.
Kolelas finished runner-up to Nguesso in the 2016 presidential election with about 15 per cent of the vote.
His father, Bernard Kolelas, was briefly Congo’s prime minister in 1997 during the country’s civil war.