Famine, civil war and political chaos in CAR
Mel Frykberg | iol.co.za
Johannesburg – The Central African Republic (CAR) may soon have a new president, but no parliament, exacerbating the political turmoil racking the country.
A second round of Presidential elections is due to take place on February 14, but no date has been set for legislative elections.
CAR’s Constitutional Court ruled this week that last December’s parliamentary elections, which took place on the same day as the first round of presidential elections, must be annulled due to irregularities, including some involving candidates, reported the Voice of America (VOA).
CAR Prime Minister Mahamat Kamoun told the media on Wednesday that the country’s polling stations were short of 500,000 ballot papers for the parliamentary elections on December 30.
Constitutional Court President Zacharie Ndoumba said election officials had received more than 400 complaints about the polls.
However, the court did give the green light for a presidential runoff election between the top first-round candidates, Anicet Georges Dologuele and Faustin Archange Touadera set for February 14, said VOA.
“This is illogical,” Lydie Nzengou, the communications officer for Karim Meckassoua, a presidential candidate, told ‘The New York Times’ (NYT).
“Why would the results for the presidential vote be more credible than those of the legislative vote?”
“A president without a parliament will make it impossible to run the country,” Dr Nelson Alusala, a senior consultant from the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria told ANA.
Dologuele won 24 percent of the vote, followed by Touadera with 19 percent, in results announced earlier this month, reported VOA.
“Doluguele, 58, an economist was CAR’s prime minister from 1999 to 2001 under the government of President Ange-Felix Patasse,” added VOA.
Toudera, also 58, is a mathematician who was prime minister under President Francois Bozize from 2008 to 2013.
In the wake of the political turmoil Alusala outlines the possible steps to be taken by the CAR authorities.
“The presidential elections may have to be postponed under the current circumstances,” Alusala told ANA.
“However, they could go ahead if they are held under UN protection but then the legislative elections will have to be held soon after,” said Alusala.
Political chaos is not the only destabilising factor the CAR is experiencing.
An ongoing civil war between Muslim Seleka rebels and the majority Christian inhabitants has taken its toll on the country’s civilian population.
“It was Bozize’s ouster by the Seleka rebel group in 2013 that triggered the CAR’s political crisis,” reported VOA.
Since then, the sectarian violence has displaced nearly one million people, according to UN reports.
“Almost half a million people fled their homes and remain displaced within the country, while more than 450,000 have fled to neighbouring countries,” said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) last week.
The WFP also reported last week that two and a half million people faced starvation as a result of the conflict and insecurity.
“Two and a half million people in the Central African Republic, half the population, have too little to eat because of conflict and insecurity, and the number has doubled in the past year,” the United Nations World Food Programme said last Wednesday.
Alusala says that the situation in the CAR will continue to deteriorate until good governance is implemented.
“Until there is a resolution to the civil conflict and the installation of a functioning government, there will be little that can be done to help the displaced and the starving,” Alusala told ANA.