Candidates vow to establish peace ahead of elections in CAR

Presidential candidates in Central African Republic vow to establish peace ahead of weekend elections seen as crucial to ending conflict and stabilising country

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A motorcyclist holds in his mouth a picture of Faustin-Archange Touadera, who will be ruining in the second round of presidential election on Sunday, in the mostly muslim PK5 neighbourhood of the capital Bangui,Central African Republic,February 9, 2016.

Presidential candidates for elections due to take place at the weekend in Central African Republic have vowed to end a deadly civil war which has been raging in the country since 2013 after they finished their election campaing on Friday in the country.

The people of the country will go to vote on Sunday in the second round of presidential elections between former prime ministers Anicet-Georges Dologuele and Faustin-Archange Touadera and in the re-run of a legislative election which was cancelled due to irregularities.

On Jan 25 the Central African Republic’s Constitutional Court announced its decision to cancel first-round legislative elections due to "numerous irregularities" by candidates.

The Central African Republic has been one of the world’s most unstable and poorest countries since gaining independence from France in 1960.

Second round of presidential elections

In the first round two presidential candidates stood out from among 30 other candidates.

One of the candidates, Georges Doluguele, who served as prime minister between 1998-2001, won 23.74 percent of the vote followed by Faustin Archange Touadera who was the prime minister from 2008-2013, who won 19.42 percent.  

Fift eight-year-old Dologuele, a former central banker, is known as "Mr.Clean" due to his efforts to make public finance more transparent during his time as prime minister.

Touadera was a math professor before he served as prime minister until 2013 under the ousted Francois Bozize administration.  He is seen as one of the most powerful candidates among 30 others in the presidential vote.

Both Dologuele and Touadera have close ties with ousted leader Bozize, who is the target of an international arrest warrant for "crimes against humanity" and has been accused by the UN of backing and supporting Christian Anti-Balaka militias.

What is going on in Central African Republic?

In March 2013, the mainly opposition group Seleka overthrew President Francois Bozize who had been highly criticised for corruption and human rights abuses. After the Seleka came to power and took control of the whole country, a mainly Christian militia group called the Anti-Balaka declared it would fight against the Seleka and carried out large scale attacks against Muslims in Central African Republic.

Also as a result of the attacks, hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians fled to Chad, Cameroon or are in enclaves.

The Muslim population has been confined to enclaves such as the PK5 district where 130,000 Muslims used to live, but where now only 15,000 remain. Christian Anti-Balaka militias have set up barricades to stop supplies from going in to the district and stop Muslims from leaving.

International watchdog organisation, Human Rights Watch released a report on Nov 26 about the recent violence, particularly in the PK5 district, between Sept, 26 and Nov. 13.

According to the report, in less than one month at least 100 Muslims have been killed and 1,075 structures, including mosques destroyed around the district.

Approximately 35,000 people were also displaced during the same time.

The country has been governed by a provisional government led by interim president Catherine Samba-Panza since Jan 2014.

TRTWorld and agencies