Regional update | Transitional government follows Seleka coup in CAR

17 April 2013 | ResolutionPossible

A transitional government has been installed in the weeks since the Seleka group staged a coup in the Central African Republic’s (CAR) capital city Bangui on 24 March and ousted then-president President François Bozizé.

Michel Djotodia, CAR’s new president (Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images)

‘Seleka’ means ‘union’ or ‘alliance’ in Sango, the CAR’s primary language.  The coalition of several armed groups resorted to open conflict after alleging that ex-President Bozizé reneged on a 2007 peace deal and then again failed to uphold the stipulations outlined in the renewed peace deal – the Libreville Accords, which were decided upon in January 2013. Bozizé himself denies these claims.

Here is a brief recap of the events:

In the wake of political upheaval, l’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) and the African Union (AU) have both suspended the country’s membership. The AU additionally imposed ‘sanctions, travel restrictions and asset freeze on Seleka’s leaders’. OIF will review CAR’s case in late June, but the AU has given no such notions of reconsideration just yet.

Other central African states have refused to acknowledge the new government. The United Nations, France, and the United States, among others, have also publicly condemned the violence of Seleka’s takeover.

This naturally raises questions. Does Djotodia have the support of CAR’s citizens? How does he intend to build his country? Can he wield political power without foreign diplomatic relations? How will he finance his operations? Furthermore, will he be able to prove himself capable in governance without sufficient resources to act?

Bozizé’s government had gained a recognised official status by the international community after his own coup and ascent to power ten years ago. That recognition granted CAR humanitarian and financial assistance provided by governments and multilateral institutions. Do you consider Djotodia’s presidency legitimate? Should it be recognised by the international community? Do you believe it likely that Djotodia will hold free elections for the presidency as he has promised? How could he establish credibility and demonstrate his respect for Rule of Law? How can the needs of CAR’s citizens be met in the midst of internal and diplomatic uncertainty?

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