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CAR Armed Groups Agree To Respect Political Liberties In December Polls

Nine signatories to the February 9, 2019, Political Accord for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic, popularly known by its French abbreviation, APPR-RCA, have given firm directives to their combatants to respect the political liberties and civil rights of citizens in view of the impending December 27, 2020, national elections.

A just published communiqué by the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue reveals that the nine signatories have affirmed their willingness to contribute towards the instauration of democracy in the Central African Republic by guaranteeing the security of candidates, the electoral campaign and the voting proper.

Besides respecting the physical integrity of candidates, the principles of free expression, the independence and transparency of the elections were also explicitly mentioned in the communiqué.

The declarations were signed by Maxime Mokom and Patrick Edouard Ngaissona representing the Anti-Balaka, the Democratic Front of the Central African Peoples, the Popular Front for the Rebirth of Central African Republic, the Central African Patriotic Movement, the RJ Belanga, the RJ Sayo, the Seleka Renovee and the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic.

The impending legislative and presidential elections in the Central African Republic are considered as a test of the resistance of the APPR-RCA and the ‚ÄúReaffirmation of the engagement for peace by the principal armed groups will be welcomed with relief by the Central Africans‚ÄĚ, Augustin Koulas, the Mission Head of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in the Central African Republic, said.

‚ÄúThe leaders have not taken lightly the significance of these declarations as they know their credibility is at stake, ‚ÄĚ Koula added.

This initiative was signed within the context of the efforts at dialogue and mediation deployed by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in the Central African Republic since 2014 by supporting the strategy for consolidation of peace, national reconciliation and the putting in place of the APPR.

The action by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue is financed by the European Union.

The signatories to the declaration:

  • Solemnly reaffirm their willingness to contribute towards the return of peace in the Central African Republic;
  • Reiterate their determination to put in place the Political Accord for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic in conformity with the engagements taken in Khartoum, Addis Ababa and Bangui;
  • Confirm their attachment to the respect of the March 30, 2016 Constitution of the Republic.

In this regard, the signatories engage to respect and cause to be respected:

  • The freedom of movement and physical integrity of candidates, civil servants, volunteers and observers of the electoral process;
  • The security of electors, electoral meetings, polling stations and the ballots;
  • The rights of freedom of expression and political belonging of candidates, militants and the assembly of citizens of the Central African Republic;
  • The independence, equity and transparency of the electoral process and its organs in coordination with the committees previewed by the APPR.

The signatories finally agreed that those who contravene the declarations would be punished in conformity with the legal dispositions in force.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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