Central African Republic. In January 2009, the government was dissolved and Prime Minister Faustin Archange Touadéra was given free hands to appoint a new minister who would be drawn by the unity government. According to countryaah, the intention was to live up to the peace declaration that a number of political parties, rebel forces and social groups have just agreed to put an end to a long-standing conflict in the country’s northern parts. However, the new government was disappointing for many. Most ministers kept their missions and former rebel leaders were given only two positions – as environmental and housing ministers, respectively.
On the whole, however, the peace settlement was held. Minor fighting continued in isolated areas, but more rebel groups joined the agreement. A certain level of security began to emerge in the country, and the public servants began to pay their salaries regularly, which was not done for years.
But when the indigenous groups, on the whole, laid down weapons and up to 10,000 people prepared for re-integration into civil society, the residents of villages in the southern part of the country were instead tormented by the Ugandan rebel movement LRA, the Lord’s Resistance Army. The Central African Republic has become a new refuge for the LRA since the group was expelled from Uganda and heavily employed by the armies of southern Sudan and Congo (Kinshasa). But here, too, LRA follows its old methods of looting villages, mutilating civilians and robbing children.
“Touadéra leads the election”
President Faustin-Archange Touadéra is said to be leading the presidential election, according to his campaign manager, former Prime Minister Simplice Mathieu Sarandji. At the same time, the opposition within Cod-2020 has demanded that the election be annulled on the grounds that it has had such major shortcomings, something that Sarandji rejects. According to him, almost 52 percent of voters voted in the election. According to official figures, the election could not be held in 29 of the country’s 71 sub-prefectures. Cod-2020 also accuses the UN force Minusca of not being able to maintain security in the country. This is denied by a spokesman for Minusca, Vladimir Monteiro, who believes that the accusations are unfounded. At the same time, he points out that the opposition alliance does not say anything about the former president François Bozizé, who has close ties to the rebel groups behind the latest wave of violence in the country.
Elections are held despite increased violence
The presidential and parliamentary elections in the Central African Republic are being held under threat of increased violence. 16 candidates are running in the presidential election, including three women, and over 1,500 candidates are vying for the 140 seats in parliament. Rebel groups have urged voters not to vote in the election. There are reports of shootings in several places, including the cities of Bouar, Bossangoa and Bria. The legitimacy of the election is questioned, however, as thousands of voters have not received their ballot papers. A first election result is expected on January 4. If no presidential candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a second round will be held on February 14. At the same time, the UN reports that turnout is high in some parts of the country. The day before the election, three Burundian soldiers from the UN force Minusca were killed in two different attacks, one in Dekoa in the central part of the country and one in Bakouma in the south. It is not known who is behind the act. According to the UN, at least 55,000 people have been forced to flee due to violence and several attacks have been directed at humanitarian organizations. Rebel Alliance The Patriotic Coalition for Change (CPC) suspended a three-day ceasefire on Christmas Day after just one day, citing attacks by government troops.
The Constitutional Court does not postpone the election
The Constitutional Court rejects a request from the opposition to postpone the presidential and parliamentary elections. The government has previously said no to this, referring to the fact that violence risks increasing in the power vacuum that would arise in that case. The UN force is also on the same line.
Rwanda and Russia strengthen in CAR
Rwanda sends what is called a security force to the Central African Republic (CAR). This is after Rwandan soldiers who are part of the UN force Minusca were attacked by rebels who were on their way to the capital Bangui. According to Minusca, the rebels have now been stopped. Russia has also sent extra troops to the country, in support of the government. According to a spokesman, it is about several hundred soldiers but also about heavy weapons. The information has not been confirmed by Moscow.
17 candidates in the presidential election
17 candidates will run in the December 27 presidential election, where President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, who is running for the United Hearts Movement (MCU), is expected to get the most votes, not least since the candidacy of former president François Bozizé has been rejected. Bozizé has instead backed former Prime Minister Anicet-Georges Dologuélé. He leads an opposition alliance called Cod-2020, which also includes Bozizé’s party National Coalition Movement Kwa Na Kwa (KNK). However, it is unclear whether Touadéra will be able to win the 50 percent of the votes required to win already in the first round of elections. Despite extensive financial support from outside (from the USA, France, Russia, the EU and the World Bank, among others)) Touadéra and his government have no great success to point to and before the election there is speculation about how many candidates they can use monetary gifts to persuade to change sides from the opposition to the government. The government largely controls only the area around the capital Bangui and conditions have hardly improved at all for the rural population, and no government troops have been sent to the most violent areas, while the UN force Minusca maintains a low profile, in line with its mandate. In a joint statement, the so-called G5 group, which includes France, Russia, the United States, the EU and the World Bank, has called on all rebel movements to lay down their arms. They also emphasize the importance of holding elections as planned. UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls for calm and for the elections to be held in an orderly manner.
Tensions are rising ahead of the election
Former President François Bozizé denies that he is planning a coup before the election. It is clear in any case that tensions in the country have risen in the country since Bozizé was disqualified as a candidate in the presidential election. At the same time, rebel groups are reported to have taken control of several cities near Bangui and directed minor attacks on government forces and the UN force Minusca. Rebels are also said to have looted the UN and several NGOs. A spokesman for the former president says Bozizé is not involved.
Bozizé is accused of coup plots
The government accuses former president François Bozizé of planning to seize power in a coup ahead of the December 27 presidential and parliamentary elections. It is happening at the same time as three of the country’s largest rebel groups, including 3R and the Popular Front for the Central African Republic’s Rebirth (FPRC), which together control large parts of the country, form an alliance, the Patriotic Coalition for Change (CPC). According to the government, Bozizé attended the meeting. The UN force Minusca has also intervened to disperse rebels who have taken control of several roads leading to the capital Bangui. Opposition parties, including Bozizé’s National Coalition Movement Kwa Na Kwa, express concern that the election will not go ahead and call on the government to postpone it until stability and peace in the country are restored. This summer, it was President Faustin-Archange Touadéra who had wanted to postpone the election due to the corona pandemic, but then the opposition opposed this. Not everyone will be able to vote in the election, as various rebel groups have acted to prevent voters from registering.
Bozizé accepts court decisions
Former President François Bozizé says he accepts the Constitutional Court’s decision to reject him as a candidate in the upcoming presidential election. He calls on the divided opposition gathered in an umbrella group called Cod 2020, of which he is chairman, to agree on a common presidential candidate.
Bozizé’s candidacy is rejected
The Constitutional Court is considering the candidacy of former President François Bozizé in the presidential election on 27 December. The reason given is the UN sanctions against him for his actions during the crisis in the country in 2013 and 2014. He has, among other things, been accused of murder and torture. There is a concern that the decision could lead to an escalation of violence in the country, if he uses his influence over the ethnic group baya (or gbaya) or within the army. Another four candidates are rejected, which means that 17 candidates can participate in the presidential election.
Election quarrel at funeral
The situation in the country is tense ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections later this month. A sign of this is when one of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s bodyguards, in connection with a funeral, smashes the windshield of a car belonging to former President Bozizé and confiscates a weapon lying on the passenger seat. The intervention leads to riots and several shots are fired in the air, reports the magazine Africa Confidential. The ex-president later tries to draw attention to the role played by the presidential guard, whose members come from the Touadéra ethnic group mbaka-mandja, and who is not integrated into the national army.