Faustin-Archange Touadéra, born on 21 April 1957 in Bangui became Central Africa’s president in March 2016 after serving as Prime Minister of the country from January 2008 to January 2013. He started his career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Bangui. He later became the Inspector of Mathematics and moved up to become the Rector of the university.
Prior to his election as president, the country was on its knees with ceaseless gun battles between the Seleka and anti-balaka militia groups which claimed the lives of many and displaced several thousands of others. Many hoped his election would be a step towards restoring peace as a result of the return of constitutional order following years of instability.
Contrary to what many had expected, violence again broke out few months after Touadera took office with different factions of the ex-Seleka rebels clashing in the east.
Thus, restoring peace and security became President Touadera’s major task. But how would he do this when he only controlled a fraction of the state, with an estimated 80 percent of the country held by militias.
Touadéra’s strides in returning peace to the country
A plethora of peace deals have been signed to address the impasse facing the country, but all seven of them failed to restore calm and stability. In June 2017, the government signed an “immediate ceasefire” deal with rebels in Rome, but unfortunately, the deal did not last 24 hours before renewed fighting broke out again.
Faced with these challenges, Touadéra remained committed to pursue disarmament and make CAR a united country by restoring peace and stability. In October 2018 he was in Geneva to discuss ongoing efforts to rebuild the country, advance national reconciliation and deliver basic services for the populations.
Touadéra has always emphasized on the need to maintain an open dialogue with all parties. He remained steadfast to a national reconciliation plan to rebuild the security sector and restore justice by reaching out to armed groups.
This approach however seems to have worked somehow as the government alongside 14 armed groups inked a peace deal in February 2019 after an agreement was arrived at during weeks of negotiations in Khartoum, Sudan.
Early March 2019, the deal was officially sealed with the forming of new and inclusive government. The new regime was announced on Sunday, March 3 with some rebels such as Maxime Mokom, leader of the armed anti-balaka integrated into the government.
At the moment, eight agreements have been signed by warring parties in a bid to end hostilities in the Central African nation. This may sound strange but reports have it that the Central African Republic now has an inclusive government thanks to the relentless efforts put in by president Touadéra.
How far will this go? This remains the rhetorical question posed by many. With the recorded experience of several failed deals, many remain skeptical but hopeful that this move restores the long desired peace the country has been deprived of. Denizens remain optimistic that this move will bring the country out of the crisis it has been experiencing since independence.
Securing peace for the region is just one of the problems Touadéra is faced with. The health situation still remains very precarious as the Central African Republic is considered to have the second highest HIV prevalence in central Africa, estimated at 4% in 2017.
All is all, despite the fact that Touadéra has enjoyed support from the population in his quest for stability, he still faces many other challenges. But with the putting in place of the inclusive government, many are looking on to brighter days ahead for nation. It is also hoped that the stability of the country will give way for economic recovery which has been shattered by long years of war and fighting and pave way for other issues to be given due attention.
Article from AFRIC editorial.
Credit image/google images/CAR, Touadera.