Putting On Appearances as the Nation's Walls Come Down?
The President of the Central African Republic Faustin-Archange Touadéra made a public appearance in the capital Bangui to address thousands of his supporters one week ahead of the December 27 election day.
"The ANE and the Constitutional Court have given their assurances that the elections will be held on time. It is through Democracy that our country will experience development. Why take up arms against your compatriots? I call on young people to be vigilant. Be careful. Thank you."
This comes as three of the largest armed groups that occupy two-thirds of the Central African Republic announced their merger as the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) on Saturday as they threatened to march on the capital city and the Central African government accused the former president Francois Bozizé of attempting a coup d’état.
The rebels' announcement could further fuel tensions already on the rise in the troubled country before the presidential and legislative vote next week, where the opposition fears massive electoral fraud.
In the meantime, the United Nations deployed peacekeepers to the country in light of the tense political climate and in response to fresh attacks — as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for calm and for all sides to work together to ensure credible elections.
Bozizé, who recently returned after years in exile, has been barred from running in the election by the country's top court due to the international warrant for his arrest filed by the CAR on charges of murder, arbitrary arrest and torture.
Bozizé, aged 74, who came to power in a coup in 2003 before being overthrown in 2013, said on Tuesday that he accepted the court's decision.