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Central African Republic: Is there hope for ‘a new CAR’ following the new Peace Accord?

06.02.2019
The Government of the Central African Republic and some fourteen (14) armed groups on Wednesday February 6, 2019, opened another historic page for the country. Led by President Faustin Archange Touadera, Bangui and armed groups representatives officially inked a peace agreement to end years of chaotic sectarian fighting in the country. The restive Central African Nation may know peace again in the coming years after the warring factions compromised their differences and agreed to ink a deal that could open the doors of Peace, Love, Harmony and Unity in the troubled nation.

Following over a week of intensive talks in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital city, President Faustin Archange Touadera together with fourteen rebels initialed a peace accord paving the way or marking a historical page in a country that has witnessed scenes of sectarian violence since 2012. Many influential personalities attended the inking of the historic deal including President Omer al-Bashir, AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki, Chadian foreign minister Chérif Mahamat Zene, Jean-Pierre Lacroix the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui and a number of representatives of Heads of State and Government, and heads of diplomatic missions in Khartoum. The Khartoum talks held under the auspices of the African Union and the United Nations also saw the presence of nations like France, Russia, Britain, and Chad among other nations.

In a strongly worded statement, incumbent Touadera quoted “The Khartoum Agreement opens the door for peace to return to our homeland,” Touadera declared at the ceremony. “It is now time to open a new page for Central Africa. Let’s go together to Bangui to build our country together.” Also, Herbert Gontran Djono Ahaba, who spoke on behalf of the armed groups, said: “The difficult time starts now, and that is implementing the Khartoum Agreement… This agreement is crucial for peace.”

MAJOR ARTICULATIONS OF THE CAR PEACE ACCORD

Justice and reconciliation

  • Both parties are cognizance of the ‘’grave consequences and the marks of serious crimes” and promise not to repeat them.
  • A Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission is yet to begin work in 90 days.
  • A commission of inquiry would be set up in the time being, to examine the CAR’s conflict and propose actions which could lead to legal proceedings.
  • The agreement does not define any amnesty for militia leaders — something that has been a setback in previous agreements. Though, the president may exercise a “discretionary right to issue pardons”.

Safeguarding constitution

  • Both parties resolved to respect the constitution, laws and regulations of CAR.
  • Both parties refuted a forceful seize of power or a continuous grip to power
  • They settled to organise free, transparent and credible elections to “consolidate democracy”.
  • President Touadera agreed to form an “inclusive government”

Transitional security

  • Participants agree to open “special mixed units” of militia members and the security forces under an early two-year transition period.
  • The units will be supervised by the military. Militia members who join these units must obey “completely” to the principles of the peace deal and complete two months’ training.
  • The units can request technical assistance from the UN mission in CAR MINUSCA.

Implementation and follow-up

  • The parties recognise the deal depends on “sincerity” and acting “in good faith”.
  • An implementation and follow-up mechanism (MOS) will be put in place by the signatories to monitor the deal’s progress.
  • Independently, an “Executive Committee for Follow-up” (CES), will be created, co-chaired by the African Union, the government and militias. It will meet at least once a month.

INTERVENTIONS

The African continent and ‘’Friends of CAR’ made the infighting which was mostly based on Christian lines in CAR between the Pro Muslim Seleka and the Christian anti-balaka rebels an issue of utmost interest. The overthrow of then-president Francois Bozize gave birth to a turbulent CAR in 2012, when rebel leader Michel Djotodia took over the helms of the presidency. This explains why under the auspices of the African Union and the UN-backed mission in CAR, also supported in a greater extent by Moscow, the government of Bangui led by President Touadera was able to accept a peace deal with some fourteen armed groups who have been fighting over the years in the country.

There have been several attempts over the years to halt the deadly violence in CAR. Under the leadership of transitional president Catherine Samba-Panza, the government in 2015 inked a peace deal which obliged rebels to disarm and face justice, however, the deal was futile as it didn’t stop the chaos.  Another deal brokered by the Catholic Church in 2017 also failed to yield positive fruits. The recent Bangui peace deal marked the eighth time stakeholders have tried to resolve the flare-up.

ASPIRATIONS

If fully implemented, the Khartoum led talks and the Bangui peace deal will remain a milestone in several attempts to end the years-long violence in the mineral reach nation. The fighting that broke out in 2012 has recorded an alarming number of causalities on the sides of rebels, government officials and civilians. Mass displacement of civilians is another effect of the turmoil in Tuatara’s land. According to the UN, over 500,000 have been displaced.

As per a pundit who spoke on condition of anonymity, ending the war in CAR makes the country a favourable destination for both domestic and foreign investments, the start point for economic growth and what have you.

Since President Touadera took power, he has vowed to end the fighting that has torn the African nation apart for all these years.  With the new dispensation and the inking of the agreement, total compliance to the terms of the accord is the plight of the people of Central African Republic.

Article from AFRIC editorial.

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