Armed ViolenceElection SecurityNews

CAR Armed Groups Want Dialogue Before Elections

Armed groups in Central African Republic which signed the February 9, 2019, Political Accord for Peace and Reconciliation in the country,  popularly known by its French abbreviation, APPR-RCA,  have called  for a meeting of all parties involved in the agreement.

The meeting should involve the government and leaders of the armed groups as well as opposition political parties and civil society before the holding of the general elections on December 27, 2020, they said.

In a memorandum just made public but which was signed on October 20, 2020, the armed groups leaders, Mahamat Al Kathim of the Mouvement Patriotique pour la Centrafrique (MPC), Ali Darassa, leader of the Unite pour la Paix en Centrafrique (UPC) and Abbas Sidiki of the Retour, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R) said the dialogue was necessary to avoid re-plunging the country into pre- and post-election violence when the nation was still experiencing violence.

The memorandum comes on the eve of a visit to the country from Tuesday, October 27, 2020 to October 30, 2020 of Ambassador Smail Chergui, the African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security.

Others with the AU envoy are  Ambassador Gilberto da Piedade Verissimo, President of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCCAS), and Ambassador Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Assistant Secretary-General for Peace Operations of the United Nations Organisation.

“We seize this opportunity to draw the national and international public attention to the irresponsible behaviour of the government which has not only been blocking the putting in place of the APPR-RCA, but creates the fear of a pre- or post-election crises, which risks re-plunging the country into chaos from which it has not yet freed itself,” the warlords declared.

“We, the undersigned leaders of armed groups, signatories of the APPR-RCA, call on the international community, and particularly MINUSCA (the United Nations Multidimensional Intergrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic) to come out of the partiality characterised by its blind support to the irresponsible government which exhibits a comportment which incites to a reversal in the situation.

”We recall to the international community that the crisis our country is going through is the consequence of misunderstanding between the regime in place and the opposition, ” the leaders stated.

They reiterated their commitment to the APPR-RCA but denounced alleged  flagrant and shameful irregularities in the preparations for the elections, saying the arrangements would not ensure credible and transparent elections.

They also condemned the delays in implementing the APPR-RCA, the lack of neutrality and impartiality of certain officials of MINUSCA who had “unfortunately turned themselves into legal advisers and lobbyists of the president”.

They insisted on “dialogue with the armed groups which are signatories of the APPR-RCA in accordance with Article 34 of the APPR-RCA during the visit of the AU, ECCAS and UN officials”.

The memorandum was sent to the heads of state of the Economic Community of Central African States, the African Union, the European Union, the French ambassador, the American ambassador and MINUSCA.

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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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