Despite having a non-military background and no direct involvement in the oil industry, Jean-Jacques Bouya has become a highly influential figure in the entourage of President Denis Sassou Nguesso. A cousin of the Congolese head of state, he is minister at the presidency in charge of territorial planning and the public works department, the DGGT, and, in the space of just a few years, has gained a clear ascendancy over the regime’s ruling barons. A member of the political bureau of the ruling Parti Congolais du Travail (PCT), his position makes him directly answerable to the head of state, whom he also serves as cheerleader when work on a new infrastructure, such as a bridge, dam or airport, is completed.
He also serves as the interface between the regime and the Brazzaville business community and as a travelling salesman for the country abroad. Sassou calls on him readily when there is a major contract to be negotiated in China, Qatar or Brazil.
De facto prime minister, Bouya uses his status as a platform for ambitions which could result in him presenting himself at the appropriate moment as a possible successor to Sassou. While he is waiting for that moment to arrive, whether it be soon or far into the future, the former Boeing aircraft pilot with a pronounced taste for luxury continues to cultivate his connections throughout the Congolese power structure.
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