Denis Sassou Nguesso was born in 1943 in Edou, not far from the town of Oyo in the Cuvette Region in central Congo. He attended primary school in his village and that of Fort Rousset (Owando) before gaining admission to Raymond Paillet Dolisie college in 1956, one the premiere institutions for the training of senior Congolese executives and those in French Equatorial Africa.
Early on and in parallel to his academic studies at Dolisie, he became interested in the political life of the country. Therefore alongside other comrades of his age, he acquired a progressive ideological consciousness at the Academic Association of Congo (ASCO), where he assumed several responsibilities.
In 1960, he received a Brevet d'Etudes Elementaire and in place of teaching, he became interested in the army. On the advice of his Professor, Maurice Spindler, Denis Sassou Nguesso took the entrance examination to the Joint School of Reserve Officers in Cherchell, Algeria (1961) and was admitted with the rank of sub-lieutenant Staff with the rank of sub- lieutenant.
In 1964, he left as a lieutenant from the Saint-Maixent Military infantry academy in France. Returning to Congo, he was part of the first group of officers who would oversee the new Returned to the Congo, it is part of the first officers who will lead the new Congolese army. As an airborne officer, he was one of the privileged few who witnessed the revolution of August 13, 14, and 15 1963.
Five years later, in order to make a readjustment to the Revolution, he sided with the liberal wing of the army.
First steps in politics
Promoted to Captain in 1968, Major in 1973, Colonel in 1978 and General of the Army in 1989, Denis Sassou Nguesso was, successively, Group Commander of Airborne Brazzaville, Commander of the Military District of Brazzaville and Commander of the Ground Forces.
With Marien Ngouabi (third President of the Republic of Congo, after Fulbert Youlou et Alphonse Massamba-Débat)), he participated in the July 31, 1968 movement, which led to, a year later, the creation of the Congolese Labor Party (CLP) which it is one of the founding members. He was elected to the Central Committee of the Party. In 1970, he joined the Political Bureau of the CLP.
In December 1975, a reorganization of the political directorate lead to the creation of a Etat Major Spécial Révolutionnaire to replace the Political Bureau, where he was reappointed as Secretary of the Central Committee of the Standing Committee of the army, a position he that he held for 5 years starting in 1972.
After the death of President Marien Ngouabi on March 18, 1977, Denis Sassou Nguesso became Vice Chairman of the Military Committee of the Party (CMP) responsible for the activities of the PCT as well as Minister of Defense and Security.
On February 5, 1979 a special session of the Central Committee of the PCT put an end to the Military Committee of the Party (CMP), and a provisional political directorate was established following the death of President Marien Ngouabi. Denis Sassou Nguesso was then elected President of the Central Committee of the PCT.
The Third Extraordinary Congress in March 1979 led to his election as head of the Party and consequently Head of State.
Denis Sassou Nguesso made a special mark on Africa and the world during his tenure.
- In 1990, his ability to adapt to situations led him to open the country to multiparty democracy.
- In 1991, he accepted the organization of a Sovereign National Conference that lead to political cohabitation until the organization in 1992 of democratic elections, after which he gave up the reins of power.
- In 1997, those in power refused the organization of the scheduled presidential elections and thus plunged the country into civil war, which lasted from June 5 to October 15, 1997.
- Denis Sassou Nguesso returned to power at the end of the war on June 5, 1997.
His constant goal to promote reconciliation among Congolese citizens led him to introduce two frameworks for dialogue in order to create the conditions for a permissive environment for sustainable peace and security: the National Forum for Reconciliation, Unity and the Reconstruction of the Congo in 1998 and an Inclusive National Dialogue in 2001.
- On January 20, 2002, anxious to promote a new political and institutional framework to enable a broad expression of the people, he organized a referendum, which led to the adoption of a new constitution.
- On March 10, 2002, Denis Sassou Nguesso was elected President of the Republic for a 7-year term.
- In July 2003, conscious of Africa’s problems and the challenges posed by numerous conflicts that destabilize the continent, Denis Sassou Nguesso passed a motion at the meeting of the African Union in Maputo, Mozambique, for the adoption of a security doctrine called the "Pact of Non-Aggression and Common Defense.”
- This protocol called for the independence of Namibia, the withdrawal of South African troops from Angola and Cuba, the end of apartheid, the release of Nelson Mandela and the advent of the new South Africa.
- A further indication of his leadership and worth, he was designated for the second time, President of the African Union on January 24, 2006 in Khartoum.