By I. Mizuh in Pisa, Italy
Another coup, another forceful change of power, and another disgrace and uncertainty to Central Africans. Bozize finally fled to Cameroon leaving Michel Djotodia to self-proclaim himself another “greedy” president of Central African Republic, CAR, even when his sponsors in France are fumingly crying foul.
As looting takes its toll in Bangui, the international community is left to ponder on ways to school politicians in CAR that coups would never solve the plethora of problems facing the country since independence in 1960. Not to be left out, the killing of 13 South Africa, SA, soldiers, injuring of 27 and one yet to accounted for was even more humiliating – a slap in the face to Africans. If African countries must take the challenge to handle their own crises without seeking a hand of help elsewhere, the pulling of trigger on SA forces deplored with “good will” to help CAR solve its internal wrangling is a big blow to such initiative.
The Seleka coalition may have had every reason to topple Bozize, however, turning the assault onto SA forces has indicated that the rebels are only wolves in sheep clothing. More than 1000 rebels overpowered the barely 200 SA forces, after a fierce gun battle that left 13 deaths. This casualty is the highest ever suffered by SA forces in a battle since the end of Apartheid rule in 1994.
Seleka’s commanders might argue that the SA forces were warned in advance to quit on pretext that their presence in CAR was to back and keep Bizize in power. However, according to South African President, Jacob Zuma, the troops had been sent to Bangui to reinforce the feeble government forces.
Fetching for foes, than friends
The Seleka coalition and other opposition parties leaders may continue to celebrate their victory over Bozize, but this might be only a short-live merriment. With the coup condemned by the international community and African Union, AU excluding CAR from the pan-African organisation, Djotodia sooner or later would find himself in the same limbo like Bozize. Despite being blessed with rare minerals such as gold, diamonds and Uranium, CAR cannot pull itself from abject poverty and underdevelopment without friends or allies from outside. Trying to make enemies starting with SA and the alliance of Central African regional forces, FOMAC, Seleka leaders would have themselves to blame for breaking the January peace accord.
Coup after coup, CAR’s politicians as well as impatient rebel leaders are yet to understand that in today’s politics, only democracy and rule by the power of the people can bring in change and progress even where natural resources are scarce.
Pope appeals for peace
To sympathize with Central Africans, Pope Francis today launched an appeal of an end to violence and conflict in the country. Speaking in Italia, the Holy Father disclosed during his first public audiences that he was aware of the mayhem in CAR. He offered his prayers for all those who suffering, especially the relatives of victims, the wounded and those rendered homeless and hopeless – forced to flee.
“I call for an immediate halt to the violence and looting, and a political solution to the crisis to be found as soon as possible that would restore peace and harmony to that dear country for too long marked by conflict of division,” said the pope.
With power cut, lack of potable water, roads blocked and mass looting going on in Bangui, and security and humanitarian state precarious CAR’s situation is moving from bad to worse. As usual the real victims are always children, women and the weak or disable.