The Central African Republic (CAR) is set to hold its presidential and legislative elections on December 30.
The long-delayed elections has a list of 30 presidential candidates all gunning to restore and rebuild the country.
14 candidates including the former ousted leader Francois Bozize have been banned by the country’s constitutional court from running in the elections.
We want to organise it (elections) successfully, make sure that these elections are transparent, credible, and democratic.
The elections which have been delayed on several occasions due to insecurity and logistical challenges are expected to restore democratic rule under the newly approved constitution.
The elections were postponed for three days due to a delay in sending voting materials to polling stations outside the country’s capital Bangui.
“We want to organise it (elections) successfully, make sure that these elections are transparent, credible, and democratic,” Prime Minster Mahamat Kamoun said.
Earlier in December, voters took to the polls for a referendum on a new constitution which was heavily backed. Under this new constitution, a president can only stay in power for two terms.
Since the country broke into conflict late 2012, CAR has been running on a transitional government for close to two years led by President Catherine Samba Panza.
Violence between Muslim rebels and a Christian militia group has led to the deaths of thousands and displacement of nearly one million people. The country still remains in sectarian divisions.
Security has been tightened ahead of the general elections with French forces and UN peacekeepers.
During the country’s referendum, the elections were marred by violence resulting in the death of five people and scores injured.
The anticipated elections will be watched closely by many observers including the International Criminal Court who issued a ‘‘statement’‘:https://www.icc-cpi.int/en_menus/icc/press%20and%20media/press%20releases/Pages/otp-stat-23-12-2015.aspx saying it will hold accountable anyone who commits any atrocity.
The citizens of the war-torn country are placing hope in the upcoming elections in order to return the country to its former glory.
“There needs to be a major change. All the blood spilled, killing people here and there, it should not start again, we don’t want that. We want CAR to become again the CAR it was before,’‘ said Bangui resident Angela Devis.