Congo-Brazzaville’s President Denis Sassou-Nguesso has appointed his son Denis-Christel as a cabinet minister – a move that has revived media speculation that he has a dynastic succession in mind.

Not that such a transition looks imminent. Elected to a further term in March, after ruling the country for all but five of the past 41 years, there’s no sign of the 77-year old head of state losing his appetite for wielding power himself.

Yet if Denis-Christel does eventually step into his father’s shoes, this will confirm Congo-Brazzaville’s alignment with an increasingly prevalent pattern in Central Africa.

In neighbouring Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba is the son of Omar Bongo, who ruled from 1967 to 2009, while in the Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila ruled for 17 years after succeeding his assassinated father Laurent-Désiré as head of state in 2001.

Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang – in power since deposing his tyrannical uncle Francisco Macías Nguema, the country’s first head of state, back in 1979 – has already installed his son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, as vice-president, in pole position to succeed him.

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