President Francois Bozize of Central African Republic, CAR, is barely counting days if not hours in power as the Seleka rebels have finally entered Bangui. The rebels have defied the peace accord signed in January in Libreville, Gabon first by crossing the buffer zone at the strategic town of Damara 75 km from Bangui on Friday before advancing into the capital city a day after.
Bozize himself who grabbed power through a coup has being battering the advancement of rebels towards Bangui his last bastion on many occasions with backing from international forces. However, with the coalition of rebels who are accusing Bozize of disrespecting the terms of the accord already in Bangui, his chances of surviving this time around are slim as his reign is at the verge of hitting the rock and crumbling with the international forces watching helplessly.
Although they are conflicting reports about the actual presence of the rebels in Bangui, tension has mounted in the city as residents panic as Central African Republic army patrols streets. The whereabouts of President Bozize is unknown, as the rebels have cut off power supply to part of the city as well as blocked all radio signals and communication within the capital. In a telephone interviewed granted to TV5 this morning, Christian Narkoyo, a Seleka’s military chief and spokesperson for the coalition called upon the residents of Bangui to stay at home and avoid any unnecessary movement and should not panic as the fight to take Bangui is on the way or in its last and fierce phase.
The fall of Bozize predicted
For any keen observer of the situation in CAR the exit of Bozize was clearly written on the walls well ahead of time. The president had lost control of his own country and citizens as well respect from the other regional leaders who have been bearing the brunt of the crisis by being forced to contribute forces as well as to cope with the influx of refugees.
The unsubstantiated accord signed with the rebels just two months ago was evidently going to fail as the weak leader divided his interest between trying to fend off the rebels and also lobbying for more forces from the outside to hang on power. By agreeing to integrated some of the members of Selecka into his powerless government and rebels refusing to disarm he was doing himself no good as Selecka took the offer as an opening to spy on his vulnerability and to plan and prepare a subsequent attack. With the numbers, armed to the teeth and with a good mastering of the terrain and the problems of CAR, the rebels were going to be unstoppable after coming quite close to the last battleground.
Weak leader, weak state
CAR, itself is a landlocked country though harbours minerals like uranium, diamond and other resources remains poor. Notable for its history of mutinies and leaders relying on foreign protégés to stay in power, it is a former French colony. Today, the country is also a refuge for insurgent groups operating within its dense forest region, where Joseph Kony, and his Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA are suspected to be hiding. President Bozize has constantly had to seek assistance from neighbouring countries – Cameroon, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Gabon to hold on to power. If he is not lobbying for financial aids to boost his economy, he is soliciting for military intervention to stop rebels overthrowing him.
As experts of international relations would tell you, a weak nation is by itself a threat to regional stability. Vulnerable, it can be attacked at any time. To continue to exist, a weak state will always be expecting assistance from outside, therefore any insurgent group with sponsors from abroad can easily mount a coup d’état to unseat a ruling government. In analogous terms, a weak state is more of a parasite that will always need a host for its existence.
Another problem with a weak state just as a weak leader is that it is constantly under pressure both from within as well as from exterior. In order to endure this pressure, the head of state something is pushed to the walls, thus forced to sign accord that cannot be respected. When this happens there is always that probability that another conflict can ensue. For how long will neighbouring countries continue to provide support for Bozize to hang on an edge? Only Bozize can tell. As a result of this insecurity, most Central Africans have no choice but to flee to neighbouring countries that are already overburdened by their president. With Bozize more of a beggar than a respected leader, which the rebels and opposition parties understand very well, his days in control are barely counted. Offering ministerial posts to rebel leaders is more like trying to mix water and oil. No matter how hard one tries to stir the two to mix, oil will always stand out.