Central African Republic has been a very unstable country since its independence from France in 1960. Its instability was further heightened in 2013 when Muslim rebels from the Seleka umbrella group seized power despite its being a majority Christian country. In a retaliatory bid, a band of mostly Christian militias called anti-balaka rose up to challenge the Seleka. The Seleka finally relinquished power to an interim government with Catherine Samba-Panza as the interim President after serious international pressure in 2014. Months of intense violence followed ending in a partitioning of the Central African Republic despite the presence of UN peacekeepers and a French mission.
Diamond, gold, oil and uranium rich and still with one of the worlds poorest populations, Central African Republic is undergoing an internationally monitored transition inclusive of a constitutional referendum as well as presidential and parliamentary elections.
The voting for the constitutional referendum meant to strengthen the Central African Republic took place on 13th December 2015 under the vigilance of UN peacekeeping mission MINUSCA and although the period was mostly peaceful, a few violent acts marred the overall process.
The first round of the elections for the President of Central African Republic was held finally on the 30th of December after months of delay but was deemed inconclusive because the two leading candidates (ex Prime Ministers Anicet Georges Dologuele and Faustin Archange Touadera) still failed to net an outright majority win. Whilst observers praised the mainly peaceful nature of the election sounding hopeful that it signals an end to the current violence in the country, the candidates who finished third and fourth (Andre Kolingba and Martin Ziguele) are disputing the result.
After the court ruling on the allegations of the two candidates, a run-off election is scheduled to hold on the 31st of January, 2016. We hope it will be another peaceful exercise and reduce the tangible tension in the region. Meanwhile the UN peacekeepers and France are still on hand to maintain peace at least until there is a safe transition to democracy.