Central African Republic, CAR, branded a country of coups; political infighting and parasite on outsiders must have gained independence prematurely and urgently needs international succour to find its feet.
After the coup d’état on 24 March, which pulled the curtains to the end of Bozize’s rule, the country has proven that it cannot longer stand as an independence country. If there is no smoke without fire, then the long anticipated coup orchestrated by the Seleka rebel group could be considered the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Although CAR, a landlocked country in Central Africa, has shown its susceptibility and threat to its neighbouring states and the whole world many times, if the international community really cares for the victims of all this series of coups since independence in 1961, it must now be regarded more as a failed state – banana republic.
Whatever the country has become today, Central African politicians must shoulder the blames. France, the former colonial master, must also take responsibility for all the mayhems and coups that have tainted the records of this state. Although the French are often looked upon to bring peace in times of turmoil, they actually are the ones in fact stirring the pot.
In any case, if the French are incompetent to provide security to civilians and also to sweet-talk the fighting parties to reach amicable agreement for the country, they must admit this to the United Nations as well as to the African Union, AU. It is backbiting for the French government to deploy troops to Bangui to take care only of French citizens while over 40, 000 of Central Africans are forced to flee to neighbouring countries for refuge.
Since gaining independence on 13 August 1960, Central Africans are yet to have a president, which they freely and fairly voted to rule them as a leader, except for Ange-Félix Patassé. From David Dacko to Jean-Bedel Bokassa back to Dacko to Andre Kolinga, it has been coup after coup. Even though Ange-Félix Patassé came to power through the ballot, it wasn’t long before he was out by the power of the barrel. Francois Bozize seized power in March 2003, and surprisingly in March 2013 the alliance of armed opposition fractions, Seleka chased him out of Bangui. Drama after drama, CAR has become the laughing stock of the Central African sub region.
Can Seleka be trusted?
Bozize is out, and from Cameroon where he is on temporary asylum has blamed Chad for helping the Seleka rebels to overthrow him. Without a long face, Bozize couldn’t say Chad also helped him to hijack power and has been there for a decade thanks to Chad. Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Bozize only has himself to blame, however, he must be hushed now because he was also a big failure to Central Africans, France and the neighbouring countries including Cameroon.
Before the Seleka rebels took over Bangui, they promised to bring change and like any other rebel group, what they have brought is humiliation, looting and total chaos and harassment. Whether, Michel Djotodia who self-proclaimed himself president, finally brings in something new or not, nobody surely can trust Seleka. If Chad Special Forces, according to Bozize’s allegation backed up the rebels, then Seleka would also be working on the orders of Chad. Thus, the vicious cycle of rebels come rebels go continues.
South Africa, following the accord reached from the one-day summit in Ndjamena has accepted to pull out its forces, leaving the way opening for more looting. With Chad having the yam and the knife, it was apparently going to urge the withdrawal of South Africa, now seen more as invaders than friendly forces for peace keeping. The international community has refused to recognise the Seleka government; Bozize cannot be reinstated, what is left of CAR?
According to a UN report, conflict is expensive and affects everyone. Within a country, the cost of war continues long after the fighting ends. Central Africans would surely confirm this with everyday sufferings and uncertainties. Conflicts can also be felt outside the countries directly involved as neighbouring countries and even the rest of the world suffer immediate and long-consequences. Refugees, infectious diseases, economic costs, drugs, HIV/AIDS and international terrorism are just part of these consequences. With about 40,000 refugees from CAR overflowing the borders of neighbouring countries, providing assistance to these refugees can strain the economies and health care systems of these countries.
Finally, the UN report underlines that conflict destroys homes, tools, and fields, exposing survivors to a myriad of threats and depriving them of their means of survival. Michel Djotodia might stay on or hand over to another rebel leader, but the greater concern for the international community must be that to consider and treat CAR as a failed state, so as to draft strategies that could help the defenceless, especially children and women who are often left out whether there is change or not at all.