Savorgnan De Brazza with Makoko, King of the Batékés
Situated in the heart of Central Africa, Brazzaville owes its existence the Franco-Italian explorer Pierre Savorgnan De Brazza. In 1904, Brazzaville became the capital of the French Congo and of the French Equatorial Africa (AEF). In 1940, she became the capital of French Congo and of French Equatorial Africa (FEA). At the beginning of World War II in 1940, she became the capital of Free France after the occupation of France by Nazi Germany. It was during the “Brazzaville Conference” (an initiative of General de Gaulle) in 1944, in prelude to the emancipation of former French African colonies, that the new French colonial policy was defined.
From its status of a small town in 1880, it has grown exponentially over the years thanks to its development. In 1891, small houses were built with local material of poor quality and only one built with blocks. Some official buildings were constructed around 1896, notably the whitewashed brick-walled home of the Paymaster, the home of the Delegate of Interior built of bricks, and the more primitive home of the Administrator built with straw. Opposite the administrator’s residence was a long wooden shed mounted on stilts which served as home to the medical doctor. This was the small world called Brazzaville as described my Captain Baratier who served under Mr Marchand.
It was following the signing of the peace deal with King Batéké Matoko Iloo that De Brazza could take possession of small post at Ntamo, present day Brazzaville, and then left it under the supervision of the Senegalese Sergeant Malamine. The choice made by De Brazza to install the post of Ntamo on the banks of the river was motivated not only by the fresh air by the river side but also to make this post centre for river navigation linking the Atlantic coast by caravans and later on by the railway.
An institutional overview of the municipality of Brazzaville
Founded October 3 1880, Brazzaville was raised to a City Council constituting an autonomous jurisdiction of the Middle Congo (Journal Officiel 1912, p.9 signed by the Governor General, Martial Merlin). The city council of Brazzaville was headed from 1911 to 1956 by a civil servant of the corps of colony administrators who bore the title of Administrator-Mayor and assisted by a council commission. Apart from the Administrator-Mayor, the council commission was made up of four (4) members chosen by the French notable who lived in the city council, regardless of whether or not he was a civil servant.
- The Council Commission was appointed for a period of two (2) years ;
- The services of members of the council commission were free ;
- The Council Commission met in ordinary sessions twice a year where they addressed issues of the city through deliberations.
The Administrator-Mayor, in addition to his traditional duties, assumed the duties of a civil status registrar. He ensured the application of laws, decrees and regulations as well the application of police directives and laws within the city. From the 18 November 1985, the City council of Brazzaville went into full gear having at its head a Municipal Council set up after the first local council elections that same year.
The first Mayor to be elected as President of the Municipal Council was the priest Fulbert YOULOU. He served in the government from 1956 to 1959 as Minister of Agriculture, a situation which justified, between 1956 and 1963, a succession of Mayor-Delegates at the Brazzaville City Council.
The overthrow of the President of the Republic, Priest Fulbert YOULOU, Mayor of Brazzaville, took place after the famous 3 glorious days of the 13, 14, and 15 August. The City council of Brazzaville was then run administratively by a special delegation headed by an Administrator-Mayor and this experience went from 1965 to 1969.
The coming to power and rise to the supreme magistracy of Commander Marien NGOUABI re-instated the one party system and the organisation of local elections known as the popular elections. By this time, the council of Brazzaville was run by a President of the People’s Council, Mayor of Brazzaville.
Following the death of President Marien NGOUABI on the 18 March 1977, the special delegation re-emerged with the coming to power of the military committee of the party.
On February 5 1979, President Denis SASSOU NGUESSO came to power and launched popular elections at the regional and council levels and the Mayor of Brazzaville had the title of Political Commissioner.
THE ADVENT OF DEMOCRACY
Following the sovereign national conference held in Brazzaville from February to May 1991, 3 Administrator-Mayors were successively appointed to administratively head the council of Brazzaville.
The central government formed after the 1992 general democratic elections put an end to the appointment of Administrators in the Brazzaville council and from 1994 to 1997 the Municipal Council of Brazzaville was installed with an executive committee of three members.
After the war of 5 June 1997, the new government appointed an Administrator-Mayor from 1997 to 1999 at the helm of the Brazzaville council for a two-year term. In May 1999, a new Administrator-Mayor was appointed with 2 deputy Mayors.
The 2002 democratic elections saw the commissioning of a Municipal Council in 2003. The latter in turn elected an executive committee of 5 members empowered by Law No. 11 – 2003 of 6 February 2003 bearing on the statute of the cities of Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire. From this date, Brazzaville is raised to the status of a Department and the territorial boundaries of the Department of Brazzaville are same as those of the Council of Brazzaville.
History of Mayors