Photo by Jean-Claude FRANCOLON/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.

Former President Jacques Joaquim Yhombi-Opango (left) has passed away.

Former President of Congo, Jacques Joaquim Yhombi-Opango, Passes Away

The former Congolese president has died after having tested positive for the coronavirus.

Former Congolese President Jacques Joaquim Yhombi-Opango passed away yesterday, according to reports by the AFP.

The former statesman succumbed to health complications related to the coronavirus in a hospital in France.


The 81-year-old politician rose to power in 1977 following the assassination of then President Marien Ngouabi. Yhombi-Opango was then ousted by the Republic of Congo's current President Denis Sassou Nguesso. After having been accused of participating in a plot to overthrow Sassou Nguesso, Yhombi-Opango was jailed from 1987 for three years.

Shortly after his release, he then founded the Rally for Democracy and Development (RDD) party during a time when the country had introduced multi-party politics. However, he lost to Sassou Nguesso in the 1992 presidential election. Yhombi-Opango, however, became the prime minister in 1994 and then fled to France three years later after civil war broke out in the country.

Yhombi-Opango now becomes part of the many Africans who have since tested positive for the coronavirus including Burkina Faso's Vice-President of Parliament, Rose-Marie Compaore, Idris Elba, Davido's fiancé Chioma Rowland and the late Nelson Mandela's grandson, Ndaba Mandela. More recently, Cameroonian jazz legend Manu Dibango passed away after battling the coronavirus during his hospitalisation in France.

The total number of confirmed cases in Africa has now surpassed 2400 cases with at least 60 reported deaths. Congo has confirmed 19 cases of coronavirus thus far. Read our rolling coverage of coronavirus presence in Africa here.

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